Council officers are backing plans to build 37 new homes on the site of a former builders’ market in St Albans – although they are not adhering to parking or affordable housing policy.
Councilors are due to vote on the proposals later this month, which would see the demolition of the existing industrial yard, adjacent to Cape Road, to create space for 25 flats and 12 townhouses, but neighbors say it is an overdevelopment of the plot.
The plans were submitted to St Albans District Council in August by developers Cresswick St Albans, who said the plans would complement the existing area and revitalize the industrial site.
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Ashley Ward Councilors Councilor Iqbal Zia (Liberal Democrat) and Councilor Anthony Rowlands (Liberal Democrat) called the application to ensure it would be discussed by the council’s Planning Oversight Committee.
Their reasons for calling include insufficient parking, public interest in the development and the fact that the apartments are unsuitable for a predominantly residential area.
This concern is echoed by 48 objections received from neighbors to the plans, with reasons ranging from a loss of daylight to neighboring properties to concerns about overdevelopment of the site and whether new units are too small.
Among the new units would be four one-bedroom apartments and 21 two-bedroom apartments, with three three-bedroom and nine four-bedroom townhouses.
In their planning statement, the developers said: ‘The Cresswick proposal gives St Albans a golden opportunity to use the potential of a vacant industrial site and help reduce pressure on the beautiful green belt of the city. region to achieve its housing objective.
“Cresswick’s proposal matches the local authority’s ambition to create a greener and cleaner St Albans. Not only will the new tree planting and green spaces boost biodiversity, but their proposal will provide an energy efficient future for the site.”
Across the units, there would be five affordable homes under the program, including three available at affordable rent and two condominium units. This is less than the 35% usually requested by the council, but developers and an independent appraisal have found that this could render the project unviable.
In response to parking concerns, the developers said 41 off-street spaces and 10 on-street spaces will be available for the development. Although this is below council policy, officers accepted that it is in a sustainable location and did not raise any objections to the figure.
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Officers are recommending the scheme be approved, noting that the site has been identified for housing and the council cannot currently provide a five-year housing supply.
A report prepared ahead of this month’s meeting said: ‘The proposed development would provide 37 homes in a sustainable location and is acceptable in principle. Development is acceptable in terms of impact on local character and appearance and can be adequately landscaped.
“The proposal would have an acceptable impact on the amenities of future occupants and existing occupants. Adequate parking is provided and the Highway Authority has no objection to the impact on road safety.
Councilors will have a final say on the proposals at a meeting of the district council’s development management committee on February 28.
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