Warning Over School Playing Field Application
SEVERAL major problems would arise from a new planning application to build homes on a school playing field according to a concerned resident. The application from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is to develop land to the north of Winch
SEVERAL major problems would arise from a new planning application to build homes on a school playing field according to a concerned resident.
The application from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is to develop land to the north of Winches Farm in Hatfield Road, St Albans, and the adjoining Beaumont School.
It would create an entrance into the school from Hatfield Road, lay new sports pitches and an all-weather pitch, build new classrooms and a sports hall for Beaumont and include a residential development of up to a maximum of 75 homes on the school's existing playing field.
The first application was rejected by St Albans councillors on Green Belt grounds and overdevelopment of the site.
But while the new scheme has reduced the number of houses and revised the design and layout, it has not tackled what nearby resident Chris Adkins sees as the major problems with the scheme.
Mr Adkins, who lives in Glenbower Court, is particularly concerned about the proposal to put traffic lights at the new entrance to the school in Hatfield Road which, he calculates, will generate at least 400 additional peak hour traffic movements if it happens.
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He maintains that the lights with their pedestrian phase will hold up through traffic for 28 per cent of the time and will make it even more difficult for vehicles from roads without traffic controls leading into Hatfield Road to merge with the traffic already on there.
He went on: "That road can't cope at the moment and there are traffic queues solidly back to Alban Way at peak periods."
Mr Adkins is also concerned about the planned community use of the all-weather, floodlit pitches at evenings and weekends. He explained: "If you are within half a mile of Clarence Park, Verulam School and St Albans Boys School, there is an awful racket from the tannoy going on.
He also fears the impact of the two proposed pedestrian entrances to the school at the back of the old playing fields which he believes would change a quiet cul de sac into a through route for pupils wanting to get to the shops.
Mr Adkins accepts that the scheme is an enabling development to enable the school to get new facilities and the proposed house-building site is on an isolated pocket surrounded by housing.
But he feels that a reduction of three houses does not answer concerns about over-development and would like to see the numbers go down as far as 50.
He is urging his neighbours and anyone who is concerned about the scheme to make their opinions known to the St Albans council planning department quoting the reference 5/2009/2471.