Published: Thursday, 7th July 2016
Clark approves proposals for 129 houses at Bricket Wood, originally refused by St Albans City and District Council…
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has approved proposals for a major residential scheme at a previously developed site in metropolitan green belt in Hertfordshire.
The outline application involved a total of 129 houses on land at Bricket Wood and had been refused by St Albans City and District Council.
The appeal site area comprised about 20.35-hectares of land associated with a former HSBC management and training centre and included a complex of buildings and a network of roads and car parks set within a mature parkland setting including three artificial lakes.
The buildings included Hanstead House, a substantial detached former manor house. The site also contains a designated heritage asset, the Yule Mausoleum, a Grade II listed building. Immediately outside the appeal site boundary, to the west and south are two listed buildings and a scheduled ancient monument, the site of a Roman Villa.
As well as the new homes the scheme involved the demolition of many of the existing buildings and the refurbishment and extension of two of them.
Clark’s decision letter accepted that the development was not in line with the development plan in terms of green belt issues but did accord with policy on previously developed land.
He acknowledged that it would result in a change of character of the area but pointed out that the proposed development would amount to a reduction in the built development on the site which would “neither have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt nor represent greater encroachment into the countryside than the development it would replace”.
The letter concluded that the net effect of the development would either be neutral or result in an improvement in both the quantitative and qualitative effect on openness. “Any adverse effects would be outweighed by the benefits of the scheme, including the provision of much needed affordable housing” he argued.