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Land off Sandpit Lane

Land off Sandpit Lane - St Albans - Hertfordshire

We have submitted proposals for 348 new homes off Sandpit Lane, St Albans, as part of wider proposals for the redevelopment of Oaklands College

  • Overview

    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 later in 2017.

  • About the site

    The development site

    Oaklands Site 1

    The proposed development site from Sandpit Lane

    The proposed residential development site covers an area of approximately 13 hectares and is currently in agricultural use.

    The site is located on the eastern edge of St Albans immediately to the south of Sandpit Lane. It is undeveloped greenfield land within the Metropolitan Green Belt, though it is in close proximity to the St Albans settlement boundary to the north and west.

    Existing housing is located opposite the site to the north and also to the west, beyond the playing fields of Verulam School which run alongside the western boundary of the site. Agricultural land belonging to Oaklands College is situated to the east of the site and the grounds of the College campus are located to the south.

    Sandpit Lane provides direct access to St Albans city centre, approximately 2.6km (1.6 miles) away, while local amenities within 1km of the site include shopping facilities, schools and childcare centres, churches, pubs, a library, a community hall, children’s playgrounds, playing fields, woodland and open space. A doctor’s surgery is located just over 1km from the centre of the site.

    The proposed development site slopes upwards from Sandpit Lane and its ecological value is mainly limited to boundary hedgerows, trees and field margins, as well as small woodland copses at the east and south of the site. 

  • What's proposed

    Our proposals

    Taylor Wimpey has consulted closely with Oaklands College, and officers and councillors from St Albans City & District Council to develop a masterplan for the proposed Sandpit Lane development.

    This masterplan was then shaped through public consultation to form the basis of our planning application, and we have made further amendments to the scheme in response to comments made in the refusal of this application in December 2014.

    Key elements of our proposed development are as follows:

    • 348 new homes
    • Overall density of 26.4 dwellings per hectare
    • 35% affordable housing in line with local policy
    • 2, 3, 4 and 5-bedroom houses plus some 1 and 2-bedroom apartments
    • A central village green, an equipped children’s playground and public open space
    • Vehicle access from Sandpit Lane, plus a second emergency access which provides footpath and cycle access
    • Pedestrian and cycle access to Sandpit Lane, Oaklands College and Hatfield Road (south of the site)
    • Homes constructed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 

    Layout Plan

    Our revised layout plan for the proposed Oaklands College residential development.

  • Community

    Local contributions

    Should the Sandpit Lane planning application be approved, Taylor Wimpey will provide a number of contributions towards the local community as part of the proposed development. Details of these contributions will be agreed with the relevant authorities at a later stage.

  • Updates

    Development timeline

    2017 - Decision expected from the Secretary of State

    November 2016 - Inspector's report due to be submitted to the Secretary of State

    May 2016 - Planning enquiry scheduled

    June 2015 – Appeal submitted to Planning Inspectorate

    December 2014 – Planning application refused by St Albans City and District Council

    September 2013 – Planning application submitted

    May 2013 – Second public consultation held

    February / March 2013 – First public consultation held