Is more Green Belt land to buckle under Herts’ housing strategies?


More of Herts’ Green Belt land could be under threat if MPs’ recommendations for a 5,500 home development on a Redbourn site close to the M1 are acted upon.

The plot to the east of Hemel Hempstead and west of the M1 – close to the Buncefield oil depot – is owned by the Crown Estate.

But politicians Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, South West Herts MP David Gauke and St Albans MP Anne Main have written to Mark Prisk, communities and local government minister, about its potential for development.

Although the land technically falls within St Albans District Council’s boundaries, planners would have a duty to consult with Dacorum Borough Council about any future developments.

James Doe, assistant director for planning, development and regeneration at the borough council, said: “The idea has been around for a number of years now – it is something the land owners still want to progress. Dacorum Borough Council knows this proposal is around but we can’t designate it ourselves.

“We recognise this is a longer term development opportunity and something that we have to work out with St Albans in the future. We will continue to talk with them.”

The site was recently identified by Mr Penning as a potential land trade-off to reduce the need for the controversial LA3 development planned for west Hemel Hempstead.

Mr Doe added: “LA3 has been the subject of a lot of interest. These plots are needed so that we can demonstrate an ongoing supply of land in the coming years. LA3 and other sites are really critical to our land supply at the moment.”

But chair of Redbourn Parish Council’s planning committee Ian Caldwell said the organisation would not support development plans for the area. He said: “We think it’s a non-starter. We would be absolutely against it, because it is building on Green Belt land.

“If it did go ahead, which I think is highly unlikely, it would have a huge effect on Redbourn. The infrastructure of the area couldn’t support that number of houses in any case.”