St Albans District Council Local Plan
St Albans District Council has begun work again on a new Local Plan for the area. The Regulation 18 public consultation which ran from 12th July until 25th September is now closed.
Redbourn Parish Council's position on the Draft Local Plan
At Full Council on 21st September, councillors met to discuss St Albans District Council's Draft Local Plan and the in depth report Troy Planning have produced about it's impact on Redbourn Parish.
Click on the link below to read the Redbourn Parish Council's Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 representations (letter and full report) submitted to St Albans District Council on 25th September
Frequently Asked Questions - St Albans District Council Draft Local Plan
At Redbourn Parish Council we recognise that not everybody speaks council jargon which can make reading some documents hard going.
We have been approached by many residents with questions about the contents of the Draft Local Plan that St Albans District Council has prepared as they are keen to learn the impact this will have on Redbourn Parish.
It is important that people respond to the consultation and give their views to St Albans District Council. Therefore we have prepared some 'Frequently Asked Questions' to help people navigate the information and process.
1. WHAT IS A LOCAL PLAN?
A Local Plan identifies the number of new homes and jobs required to meet local needs over a 15-year period, setting out what can be built and where to accommodate growth.
They also contain policies to support the local economy, protect and enhance the natural environment, heritage and culture and decide where investment is needed for infrastructure like roads, schools, and health services.
2. WHY DOES ST ALBANS DISTRICT COUNCIL NEED TO PRODUCE A NEW LOCAL PLAN NOW?
St Albans has one of the oldest Local Plans in the country, dating back to 1994 and therefore it needs to be replaced with a more up to date one. A Local Plan was submitted for independent examination in 2019 but withdrawn on the recommendation of the planning inspectorate in 2020 amid concerns over its "legal compliance and soundness".
Chris White, leader of the council, has said that it is a large and complex task preparing a Draft Local Plan but necessary to allow the council to control what homes and businesses are built and where and in so doing avoid government intervention in the process as the current plan is so old.
3. WHAT DEVELOPMENTS ARE BEING PROPOSED IN REDBOURN PARISH?
4. HOW HAVE ST ALBANS DISTRICT COUNCIL ARRIVED AT THE NUMBERS OF HOMES REQUIRED TO BE BUILT?
The council is working on a figure of building 888 homes per year to meet housing need. However, these are old projections based on 2014 census calculations and it is thought the latest figures required (yet to be released by government) are likely to be significantly less than this.
5. IF THE NUMBERS OF HOUSES REQUIRED BY GOVERNMENT MIGHT BE LESS DOES THIS MEAN SITES IN REDBOURN PARISH MIGHT BE TAKEN OUT OF THE LOCAL PLAN SO WE DON'T NEED TO RESPOND TO THE CONSULTATION?
Now St Albans District Council have begun the process of devising a new Draft Local Plan work will not stop regardless of the figures required.
It is important at this stage that you have your say as to what you think about development in this area as consideration has to be given to responses as part of the process.
6. ISN'T THE LAND PROTECTED BECAUSE IT IS ON THE GREEN BELT AND DOESN'T IT ALSO LIE WITHIN THE CHILTERNS AND BEECHWOODS SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION?
All the proposed development in Redbourn Parish is on Green Belt land. Currently restrictions on development in the Green Belt are still in place but could be lifted at some point in the future if new alternative natural places called SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) are provided instead.
One such place near Sandridge is being put forward for this purpose. All SANGS would have to be approved by Natural England and developers would have to make contributions to the maintenance.
St Albans District Council requested an independent review of the Green Belt by a company called ARUP. In their final report (June 23) they did not recommend Hemel Gardens Communities site go forward for development because the Green Belt here provides a gap or buffer between Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead preventing a merging of the 2 areas called coalescence in planning terms.
St Albans District Council have continued with the Hemel Gardens Communities sites because they think they can deliver the housing numbers and infrastructure they require. Green Belt should not be built on, however the council consider that the housing need is an 'exceptional circumstance' and therefore has decided these sites can go forward because they deliver the numbers.
7. WILL WE GET NEW SCHOOLS, HEALTH CENTRES, NEW INFRASTRUCTURE ETC BUILT BECAUSE OF THIS NEW HOUSING?
Hemel Gardens Communities
The Draft Local Plan describes Hemel Gardens Communities as a major urban extension of Hemel Hempstead with 1250 of the homes delivered by 2041 and the final 250 of 3100 homes being built post 2041. 3100 homes will be built either side of the road extending out from Hemel into Redbourn Parish on Green Belt land.
There will be a country park and managed woodland, countryside access and improvements to the Nickey Line. Local shops to compliment those on offer at Woodhall Farm and opportunities for community food growing.
Electricity will be provided via existing pylons, water via the Grand Union Canal.
Plans include a new 3 form entry primary school plus Early Years provision, an 8 form entry secondary school and at least two 60 plus and two 70 plus extra care homes and health centre.
An extension of Maylands Business Park is planned to create more jobs, skill sharing and support for new businesses and start-ups.
15-20 Gypsy and Travellers pitches are proposed to meet the need as required.
593 homes in the fields behind St Marys Church extending from Gaddesden Lane at the bottom to Lybury Lane at the top up to the M1 in Green Belt land.
Plans include a nursing home a new primary school or expansion of Redbourn Primary School including Early Years provision. Access and improvements to Flamsteadbury Play Area.
South of Harpenden Lane
68 homes on Ver Meadows, the land behind Ver Road and Crown Street up to the Nickey Line in Green Belt land.
Improvements to walking and cycling including direct access to the Nickey Line and recreational space which preserves and enhances the River Ver.
Approximately half of the site is on the flood plain which cannot be built on.
Land Rear of 53 Snatchup
7 homes likely to be flats are planned on the site of the current garages which will have to include parking and access is via a narrow track off Snatchup.
8. WHAT ABOUT NOISE AND AIR POLLUTION?
Design and layout of homes, strategic planting and buffer zones will be used to mitigate against noise and pollution from the motorway and oil depot and pipelines at nearby Buncefield.
9. WHAT ABOUT TRAFFIC AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
Due to a limited bus service and rural setting the most used form of transport for residents in Redbourn Parish is the car.
The Nickey Line provides cycle and walking access to Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead but the Harpenden stretch is accessed via the busy 4 way roundabout on the Redbourn bypass and crossing via an island to link up with the Hemel part of the Nickey Line.
There is a footpath between Redbourn and St Albans but it is poorly maintained and not very accessibly via bike unless cycling on the A5183 road itself which has also been cause for concern after recent fatal road traffic accidents.
A better maintained pedestrian and cycle path exists between Harpenden and St Albans which Redbourn residents could access via the Nickey Line or again by cycling directly on the A5183 this time from Redbourn to Harpenden.
Proximity of Redbourn to the M1 means busy traffic on the by-pass. Any accident or closure of the M1 results long tailbacks and increased traffic through Redbourn which make it difficult to leave the village.
Access to the West Redbourn site would be via Gaddesden Lane and Lybury Lane - both rural country lanes and the Draft Local Plan specifies plans for South of Harpenden Lane must ensure pedestrians and cyclists are not required to directly access the site via the by-pass. The access to the Land Rear of 53 Snatchup is via a very narrow track.
No new train station is planned as part of the development so new residents would need to use Harpenden or Hemel rail stations.
An integrated Mobility Hub will be created at Hemel Garden Communities to allow for transport other than by private car.
Improved bus services have been suggested but as this is currently provided by private companies' sufficient demand will need to be demonstrated in order to make routes financially viable and attractive to investors.
10. WHEN WILL ALL THESE NEW HOMES BE BUILT?
Provided the Local Plan is approved by independent examiners and made (St Albans is hoping by 2025) building work will take place in stages over the next 30 years.
11. BUT WHAT ABOUT REDBOURN NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN? WHAT WEIGHT DOES THAT HOLD?
Redbourn's Neighbourhood Plan is a blueprint for design in Redbourn Parish as well as protecting our green spaces. In the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan, it is the statutory framework planning applications are currently considered within. However, it is up to the District Council where strategic housing is built which would arise out of a new Local Plan once approved.
12. WHY IS SO MUCH OF THE DEVELOPMENT PLANNED IN REDBOURN PARISH?
Just under 1/3 of the housing figures for the new Draft Local Plan will come from housing in Redbourn Parish. The sites have been chosen on their individual merits rather than looking at the district as a whole. It is also easier/more cost effective to provide infrastructure for bigger developments rather than multiple smaller individual ones.
13. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PROPOSAL FOR HOUSING FROM THE ROTHAMSTEAD RESEARCH AND LAWES AGRICULTURA TRUST (NE REDBOURN)? WHY HAS THAT NOT BEEN INCLUDED IN THE LOCAL PLAN?
This proposal is for 1000 homes and a community wildlife zone to be built in the fields behind the Fire Station and Library adjacent to Harpenden Lane and Dunstable Road. St Albans District Council requested an independent review of the greenbelt by a company called ARUP.
In their final report (June 23) it was not recommended that the Rothamsted site go forward for development because the greenbelt here provides a gap or buffer between Redbourn and Harpenden preventing a merging of the 2 called coalescence in planning terms.
The ARUP report also rejected the Hemel Garden Communities because of coalescence too but St Albans District Council have continued with this site because they think the Hemel site can deliver the housing numbers and infrastructure they require.