Berkhamsted residents opposed to removal of land from Green Belt

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Berkhamsted residents could face a battle to protect Green Belt land on the outskirts of the town, with a developer eyeing up the land.

The developer, a local agent, has earmarked the pocket of land next to Bank Mill, adjacent to the railway line and between Berkhamsted and Potten End, as a future development site.

The site is currently classed as Green Belt, meaning that it is protected from ‘inappropriate development’. But the developer has launched a bid to remove the land’s Green Belt classification, sparking concerns from some local residents.

Susan Johnson is the chairman of the townscape committee of Berkhamsted Citizens Association.

She told the Gazette: “This kind of thing is happening all over the place.

“Generally we oppose removal of land from the Green Belt and anything that threatens the edges of Berkhamsted.

“The Green Belt is to stop the joining up of settlements, and anything that goes against that we oppose.

“This land is what makes our area so attractive but also stops us joining up with other areas - it’s what gives our area its identity.

“Stuff like this, it all nibbles away the edges of the town, and we don’t want that here. We value our green spaces.”

The good news for residents though is that the developer’s bid will be put out to consultation with residents and various local organisations in the autumn.

Councillor Barbara Newton, a member of Berkhamsted Town Council’s planning committee, said: “Naturally as councillors we represent the residents. And if they have a cause for concern then that is something for us to look at.

“This will be a matter of consultation, so residents need to keep an eye on it.”

A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council said: “There is no planning application for this site. Rather this was one of a number of sites around the town that were submitted to the council through its ‘Call for Sites’ process.

“This particular site was put forward by a local agent - Emma Adams and Partners - on behalf of Mr Eames, who we understand is the landowner.

“The ‘Call for Sites’ process was carried out to enable the council to get a better picture of what sites developers and landowners would like to put forward for consideration as housing sites, or for other uses, through the forthcoming Local Plan process.

“We will be consulting on the first stage of this new Local Plan this autumn, and this will be the opportunity for local residents to let us have their views on this site and lots of others that have been similarly put forward for consideration on the edges of towns and villages within the Borough.”