28 Aug 2012
Rejected: Tesco's homes plan for London Road
Councillors on the Planning Committee have rejected Tesco's developers' application to build an estate on the Eversheds site on London Road/Alma Road in St Albans.
All but one councillor voted to refuse the application, the main reason being that the proposal did not meet the Council's target of 35% of housing in new developments being 'affordable'. The developers, Spen Hill (wholly owned by Tesco) proposed no affordable housing at all on the actual site, with just eight units in adjoining Inkerman Road and two in London Colney. This added up to just 9% affordable, instead of the 35% target.
Planning officers had recommended refusal on several grounds, including lack of play space for toddlers, an imposing design that would dominate some surrounding properties, and the lack of agreement over compensatory payments for education and other costs associated with the new occupants of the estate.
But affordable housing was the issue that most councillors were concerned about at the meeting.
Spen Hill are expected to appeal against the decision, and said at the meeting that they would do so, and that this would be costly and lengthy. One councillor said such a statement amounted to "blackmail" and the committee should ignore it.