Homeowners fear Green Belt will be turned into land for housing and offices

PUBLISHED: 18:23 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:24 06 February 2018

Beth Grant, Bryn Williams and Charlotte Vickerstaff in front of the stables and parking area which have been erected without proper planning permission on green belt land. Picture: Danny Loo

Beth Grant, Bryn Williams and Charlotte Vickerstaff in front of the stables and parking area which have been erected without proper planning permission on green belt land. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

Villagers are uniting to protect pristine Green Belt land from being turned into sites for housing and offices.

Beth Grant, Bryn Williams and Charlotte Vickerstaff in front of the stables and parking area which have been erected without proper planning permission on green belt land. Picture: Danny LooBeth Grant, Bryn Williams and Charlotte Vickerstaff in front of the stables and parking area which have been erected without proper planning permission on green belt land. Picture: Danny Loo

Wheathampstead and Kimpton homeowners are urging councillors to reject plans to build stables and hard standing on protected areas near their villages.

On land formerly part of Answell Farm on Down Green Lane, Wheathampstead, a new landowner has built a permanent stable and put down hard standing and asphalt.

Down Green Lane resident Beth Grant said: “It’s angering. We are surrounded by fields and woodland and the worry is when they put down concrete, they will put down housing. I would like them to pick it back up and just leave it as green space.”

St Albans council’s head of planning Tracy Harvey said: “We are investigating various issues regarding a field at Down Green Lane that is used to graze and ride horses.

“Permission was granted by Herts Highways for hard-standing to be laid at the field’s entrance. A complaint of additional hard-standing is part of the ongoing investigation.”

There is also a push for greater protections for Green Belt land at Kimpton Bottom.

An application has gone to North Herts District Council to build three stables and a tack room for outdoor recreation at nearby Cottage Farm.

Charlotte Vickerstaff said: “I would like the parish and district councils to take action and protect our Green Belt.

“But they can only push back against the application in order to preserve the openness of the Green Belt, so they can’t do anything about it.”

Kimpton Parish Council voted to oppose the development, and the application is currently awaiting a decision from the district council.

Helen Hunter of DLA Town Planning, which put in the planning application, said: “The applicant has taken account of the concerns of local people and has revised the proposal down from five stables to three.

“There is ample land for grazing three horses, and the building has been reduced in length, width, and height, and the existing dilapidated stables on site would be removed.

“The stables would be a modest building that would be for an appropriate use in the Green Belt for outdoor sport and recreation and for no other purpose.”

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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