Town council opposes housing development proposed for Neighbourhood Plan industrial park

The units at Southdown Road Industrial Estate which could become flats. Picture: Google.

The units at Southdown Road Industrial Estate which could become flats. Picture: Google. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Town Council is facing a potential roadblock to its Neighbourhood Plan.

Town clerk Carl Cheevers has written to planning authority St Albans district council about proposals to build flats on the site of units five, six, seven, eight, and nine at Southdown Industrial Estate on Southdown Road.

The estate has been earmarked as a source of employment in Harpenden’s Neighbourhood Plan, the town council’s blueprint for future housing and business locations in the area.

Mr Cheevers wrote: “Throughout the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, Southdown Industrial Estate has been recognised by local people as an important employment location for the town.

“It is felt this must be protected to help ensure Harpenden retains a small but productive amount of employment floorspace.”

Harpenden Town Council has also expressed concerns about the potential detriment to air quality, contamination, flooding and noise for the proposed flats’ future residents.

The Harpenden Society, a residents group which focuses on matters such as planning, has backed the council in its concerns about the application.

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The Society said: “The potential loss of commercial units on the Southdown Industrial Estate in favour of housing is most annoying bearing in mind this site is designated as a commercial zone in the Neighbourhood Plan. The loss of [arts and crafts store] Artscape would also be detrimental to the local community.

“The town council have expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposal in terms which we support.

“The Harpenden Society is impressed by the manner in which the Neighbourhood Plan has come together and found it to be clearly presented in terms of vision and spatial strategy and the themed areas of employment and retail, environment and sustainable design, housing, social infrastructure and community facilities and transport and movement.”

The Neighbourhood Plan is currently with St Albans council, which is arranging a consultation exercise before it goes for independent examination.

At the time of writing, the applicants for the development, LaSalle Investment Management, have not responded to requests for a comment..