‘Save Berkhamsted green from developers’

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Plans to register a school’s playing field as a village green have been lodged in an attempt to save the land from developers.

The proposal by Save Your Bekhamsted Residents Association for the Egerton Rothesay School site goes out to public consultation from today.

Secretary Alan O’Neill said: “That piece of land has been accessible for more than 20 years to all the residents there for exercise. The kids kick around footballs in there, people walk their dogs, have picnics and so on.”

But he warned if developers get their way, the field will be turned into part of a new development of 180 houses.

He said: “That number of houses in that area would have a catastrophic and calamitous impact on the quality of life in Berkhamsted in general.

“Shootersway and Durrants Lane get choked up with school traffic already. If you have got 180 houses, you are going to have about 300 extra cars and 250 extra children – and we do not have enough schools for them.”

The development is part of a core strategy by Dacorum Borough Council to provide enough homes for the area’s growing population between 2006 and 2031.

The borough persuaded Herts County Council to have the playing field – which the county council owns and leases to Egerton Rothesay School – removed from the Green Belt in 2003.

If the site, earmarked by builders Taylor Wimpey, is turned into a designated village green, the borough council’s plans could be scuppered.

But James Doe, assistant director of planning, development and regeneration for Dacorum Borough Council, said this could mean more homes being built elsewhere. He added that affordable homes would make up 40 per cent of the Taylor Wimpey site.

Taylor Wimpey say if the development is given permission, the sports field will be improved and extended and more public space will be made available.

Plans suggest the playing field would be moved to a nearby field the company owns.

Mr O’Neill said the current playing field was closed as the firm’s plans took shape. He said at least 30 neighbours want it to be officially reopened, as it is right outside of their homes.

Email Carole Young from Herts County Council at commons&greens@hertscc.gov.uk to have your say on the plans by Save Your Berkhamsted.

For more information, visit www.saveyourberkhamsted.co.uk/village-green/