Redrow’s plan to build 310 homes on green belt land near the M1 has been deemed unacceptable by Hertsmere councillors.
Hertsmere Borough Council received 2,713 letters, emails and comments objecting to the draft plans for new homes on Harts Farm, Bushey.
Redrow has taken the plan to a government appeal after the council failed to rule on the application before an agreed deadline, and the applicant claims there are grounds to build on the green belt as a result of “very special circumstances” surrounding the proposal.
But at a planning meeting on Thursday, February 23, Hertsmere Borough Council’s planning committee heard the scheme would cause gridlock on nearby Little Bushey Lane, could be susceptible to flooding, and would spoil the area for “residents who care so very dearly”.
Councillor David Carter attended the meeting as a community advocate. He said: “The 2,713 objections to this have been made by local residents who all feel very strongly that this development represents inappropriate development of our green belt.
“Building these homes would result in a serious loss of an area of natural beauty for which many residents bought homes in Bushey.”
He added traffic on Little Bushey Lane is “already manic” at school drop-off and pickup times and Cllr Seamus, warned the plan would bring the areas to a “standstill”.
Hertfordshire Highways did not object to the final proposal but said the developer should provide officers with more information about the designs before work takes place.
Cllr Christian Gray, raised concerns about the risk of flooding on the site and in surrounding streets. He said: “I couldn’t believe how quickly we started to sink into the ground.” A report by Hertsmere Borough Council officers confirms no development is set to take place in a flood zone.
The applicant did not attend the meeting on February 23.
Cllr Quilty said: “This is the first time in 23 years of being a councillor I have sat through a planning application where the developer has not turned up. I would like to register that fact. It doesn’t bear any relevance whatsoever in terms of the application, but it shows contempt for us and the whole system.”
The committee unanimously agreed that had the application been put to councillors before an appeal, they would not have granted planning permission.
Daren Nathan, who attended the meeting on behalf of residents – said: “It was good to hear the council and committee. The report by council officers was thorough and robust, which clearly showed how this development would have taken away from the green belt and caused harm – environmentally but also to residents old and new – to the area.
“What is this application really? It is for development in the green belt, in an unsustainable location, which will have a negative impact on the environment driving up an increase in traffic on an already congested road at peak times.
“The applicant knew its application is doomed to failure so is using the back door to avoid you and is going to appeal for non-determination. The applicant knows the application should be refused so it is taking the opportunity to refuse it away from you and taking away our opportunity for our voices to be properly heard and to raise our objections. Don’t let us down.”
In documents to accompany the application, Redrow claims there are “very special circumstances” to build in the Hertsmere green belt as result of a need for market housing, a need for affordable housing with plans to allocate 40 per cent of the proposed homes as affordable, the proposal for a community hub, and proposals for a “significant level of public open space and recreation space”.
Redrow also has plans to set aside land for a primary school, provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and provide “highly efficient” homes which use heat pumps and – in some cases – solar panels.
A Redrow summary reads: “The vision for the site is for the delivery of a high-quality development of up to 310 new open market and affordable homes, a primary school, community facilities, a mobility hub and attractive open space with drainage features,”
“A place that is set within a biodiverse landscape setting, sustainably located within a short distance of a range of local services, schools and excellent public transport links.”
The applicant lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate on January 17.
Image source: Redrow
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