Land off Sandpit Lane
In September 2013 we submitted a planning application with Oaklands College to provide new and refurbished college buildings along with enabling residential development of 348 new homes, car parking, associated access and landscaping, including demolition of existing buildings, on the College's Smallford Campus in St Albans. Our application (Ref: 5/2013/2589) was prepared following a period of public consultation earlier in 2013.
This application was refused by St Albans City and District Council in December 2014 for three reasons:
1. Inappropriate development in the Green Belt, harm to landscape character and local views and loss of Grade 3a agricultural land.
2. Conflict with trees around the perimeter of the residential site.
3. Absence of a completed and signed Section 106 agreement to secure infrastructure improvements and affordable housing.
We took the decision to appeal the Council's decision and lodged a formal appeal with the Planning Inspectorate so that it could be determined by an independent inspector at a public inquiry. Part of the preparation of the appeal was to explore whether opportunities existed to reduce the issues between us and the Council so that the public inquiry could focus on the key issue of impact on the Green Belt and the appropriateness of the proposed development.
Alongside our appeal we are continuing to consult with the local authority in order to try to address some of the concerns raised in the refusal of the application.
In this context, and in the interests of reducing time and public resource, we have been in discussions with officers at St Albans City and District Council and their independent advisors regarding some minor revisions to the residential proposals and additional survey work intended to respond to their concerns in relation to conflict with trees as expressed in the 2nd reason for refusal.
The Council is satisfied that these revisions would not materially alter the application scheme, and that subject to public consultation, their consideration as part of the appeal would not prejudice the interests of third parties. However, and for clarification, the Council is not prepared at this stage to set aside the 2nd reason for refusal. We have therefore requested that the Inspector takes this information into consideration when determining the appeal.
You can review further information about our revised proposals by clicking on the links below. Our revised development layout plan is shown in the 'What's proposed' section of this website.
1) Schedule of Consultation Material
2) Environmental Statement Addendum Report
3) Other drawings
A full explanation of the revisions made to the residential proposals to remove conflict with trees is included within the consultation material. In summary though, the changes made to the layout involve minor adjustments to the alignment and location of houses and garages along the southern and western boundaries. There has been no change to the total number of dwellings proposed or to the housing mix nor has there been any change to the road layout, ground levels or open space provision.
The consultation period for our revised proposals ended on Monday 15th June 2015. While the Council is aware of this exercise it is one that we, the applicants, organised and are responsible for. All responses we received were collated and sent to the Council and to The Planning Inspectorate as part of the appeal. The planning enquiry has now taken place and the Inspector's report is due to be submitted to the Secretary of State in November 2016. We currently expect a decision in 2017.