Former world champion boxer Steve Collins behind 330 homes for key worker bid in St Albans

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Former world champion boxer Steve Collins is behind plans to build 330 homes on his land in St Albans for key workers who “we all applauded at the height of the pandemic”. Mr Collins, who beat Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, hopes to build the houses on land at St Stephens Green Farm.

The developers said there were “no conditions” or pitfalls in the project to build on land owned by Mr Collins, who had a 36-3 professional record in the 1980s and 1990s.

Councilors were due to vote on the proposals at a meeting of St Albans District Council’s Planning Reference Committee on March 28, but the item was removed from the agenda following a recommendation to members of refuse plans.

Read more: St Albans Council opposes planned expansion of passenger numbers at Luton Airport by 2040

The point is expected to be considered at a future meeting, but the claimant’s agent spoke out after the delay in responding to criticism of the proposals, which would be built on greenbelt land, and received more than 350 objections.

Ian Parker, of McPartland Planning Ltd, said house prices in Addison Park would be reduced by a third for key workers, and the reduction would last for all future sales. Mr Parker added that there would be ‘no flipping to make a quick buck. No strings. No traps”.

Mr Parker said Steve Collins, “has generously proposed a unique development which would see the construction of 330 new homes on its own land. They will all be designated as affordable housing – 100%. They will be exclusively for essential local key workers, including nurses, paramedics, paramedics, police, fire and rescue, teachers, caregivers, and military personnel—the very people we all cheered for during the height of the pandemic. this, each property will be reduced by at least a third.

The application is for planning permission with final details reserved for a later stage in the process, but developers have said the project could include 32 one-bedroom, 116 two-bedroom and 182 three-bedroom homes.

The plans received objections from 359 addresses in St Albans, with concerns over the loss of green belt space, increased pressure on local services and that the development would contribute to urban sprawl.

Other objections include concerns about the impact on wildlife and biodiversity, development being out of step with the village, and a lack of engagement with local residents. Nine addresses submitted representations in support of the plans.

In response to concerns about deliverability, Parker believes Addison Park will be oversubscribed with other districts replicating the program, and said the district council has asked developers to remove any mention of key workers from the app. , although it would consider other types of affordable housing.

The district council has not commented on the claims and, before a meeting last month, officers recommended that the scheme be refused by councilors, citing the absence of very special circumstances to remove the land from the green belt and limited access to public transport in the area.

Their report stated: “The potential harm to the green belt from its inadequacy, and any other harm resulting from the proposal, is not clearly outweighed by other considerations; and therefore the very special circumstances required to allow approval of an inappropriate development in the greenbelt do not exist in this case.

In response, Mr Parker said recent green belt approvals in the district show planning reasons exist and there was demand in the area. He said: ‘Our case is that if there are ‘very special circumstances’ to allow new homes primarily for wealthy couples leaving London, then ‘very, very, very special circumstances’ exist to allow a scheme providing low-cost, affordable housing for local nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, caregivers and military. In other words, if parts of the St Albans Greenbelt are to be lost, make sure the houses built there are for local key workers.

The district council declined to respond specifically to the comments and noted that no final decision on development had been made, with councilors having the final say on proposals. The next meeting of the urban planning reference committee is scheduled for May 9.

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