Homes plan for Bricket Wood Green Belt will turn area into 'a concrete jungle', say residents (From Watford Observer)
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Homes plan for Bricket Wood Green Belt will turn area into 'a concrete jungle', say residents
Residents in Bricket Wood vow to fight against controversial plans for 167 new homes to be built on Green Belt land, which they say will have a detrimental impact on the area.
Proposals to build houses with garages on the former HSBC Management Training Centre with access via Smug Oak Lane, following the demolition of existing buildings have been submitted.
Proposals put in by St Congar Land Limited to St Albans District Council also include plans to refurbish the New Lodge and Hanstead House to provide eight houses and garages with access via Drop Lane.
However when the Review met with residents living in Smug Oak Lane, who have formed a campaign against the plans, they expressed their concerns over the history of Hanstead House, traffic and safety concerns and the impact on local infrastructure including schools, GPs and shops.
Villagers also said the plans would "erode" the metropolitan Green Belt land, because of other submitted developments including plans for houses on the BRE site and controversial plans for a rail freight on the Green Belt near Park Street.
Debra Davies, who lives in a nearby Smug Oak Lane cottage, said she was shocked.
Mrs Davies said: "Me and my husband Julian moved in here just over a year ago because it is such a beautiful area.
"To hear they plan to build houses has come as a bit of a shock. Because of the gorgeous surroundings, Smug Oak Lane is used by dog walkers, cyclists and joggers.
"The roads are already narrow as it is and with more houses coming that would mean more cars and traffic. Traffic is already grid locked around here in rush hour and the plans would make it very dangerous."
They also discussed traffic concerns and many described Smug Oak Lane as a "rat run between the M1 and M25 corridor" while adding a proposed emergency exit on Drop Lane would be dangerous for dog walkers and cyclists.
Mrs Davies added: "We already have a lack of school places and long waits for doctor’s appointments and additional houses would put pressure on this.
"We are slowly losing the buffer zones that separate us from neighbouring towns and if these plans go through this area would turn into a concrete jungle.
Smug Oak Lane resident Leslie Schofield, who is also fighting against the plans described the development as "inappropriate".
He said: "This is not nimbyism. These plans would create a gated community.
"If these plans were to go ahead, we would want the two communities to be integrated and it be a cohesive community.
"However I fail to see how this would happen."
Mr Schofield added he was concerned protected trees, including original Smug Oak trees would be destroyed because of the developments.
The district council are due to discuss the plans by the end of next month.
To view the submission type 5/2013/2119 in to the St Albans district council planning portal.
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