New secondary school plans for Green Belt land in Baldwins Lane, Croxley Green

Watford Observer: New school plans for Green Belt land in Croxley New school plans for Green Belt land in Croxley

Plans to build a new secondary school on Green Belt land in Croxley Green could make the surrounding area "prey" to future development.

Hertfordshire County Council is pursuing its plans to build a secondary school in a Baldwins Lane horse field.

The council plans to buy the land and there is currently an inspectors report being put together to determine the suitability of the site.

Chairman of the Croxley Green Residents Association, Barry Grant, said there are concerns over the location of the proposed site, particularly as it falls within the Green Belt.

Mr Grant said: "If this goes ahead, it will change the balance and make other Green Belt sites around the area prey to development.

"The Green Belt area forms a function, such as preventing accommodations joining together, which will disappear if you get rid of its status."

The county council’s cabinet member of education, Chris Hayward, said the land north-east of Baldwins Lane will best meet the council’s need for a possible new school.

Councillor Hayward added: "We need to plan ahead so we can meet the rising demand for secondary school places in south west Hertfordshire, otherwise we risk a serious shortfall of places in the future."

Councillor Hayward said that in order "to be as prepared as possible" the council plans to buy the land.

He added: "We are working with the landowners to ensure they get a fair price for their land and hope we can reach an agreement."

The site was originally opposed by Three Rivers politicians when it was put forward by county last year.

However, despite suggesting that building a farm in Maple Cross would be more appropriate, the district council’s executive meeting voted to support the Croxley Green site, with seven votes for and one abstention.

Mr Grant said he understands the need for extra school places, but that there must be a more "suitable" location.

He added: "For the people of Croxley, just because a new secondary school might be built, doesn’t guarantee we will get more school places."

Councillor Hayward commented: "We have looked in detail at other sites, but this one will best meet our needs for a possible new school, especially given its proximity to Watford.

Watford Observer:

"This purchase will ensure that a reserve site would be available in the event that it is required in the future for a school. If a decision is made to build on this site, it will go through the full planning application process, which will include public consultation with local residents.

"Ensuring all Hertfordshire students have access to a good education is extremely important and we must continue to invest in our school infrastructure."

Comments (5)

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4:55pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Should have kept Durrants and William Penn schools, or used the Merchant Taylors land, but instead they ripped them all up for housing, and now what, there are not enough schools for the children who live in that housing. Who could have guessed that would happen?

If they had kept those schools open or mothballed then they wouldn't have an excuse to destroy green belt land in Croxley.

I am for keeping the Green Belt free from developers, even if those developers are the council.
Should have kept Durrants and William Penn schools, or used the Merchant Taylors land, but instead they ripped them all up for housing, and now what, there are not enough schools for the children who live in that housing. Who could have guessed that would happen? If they had kept those schools open or mothballed then they wouldn't have an excuse to destroy green belt land in Croxley. I am for keeping the Green Belt free from developers, even if those developers are the council. Phil Cox (UKIP)

5:13pm Thu 5 Dec 13

abbotshornet says...

I believe there is an even greater need for a secondary school in Abbots Langley. All secondary aged children in Abbots Langley currently need to be transported to schools miles away. No wonder all our local roads are gridlocked during term time!
There is an existing school that was put into mothballs by Herts County Council for no reason that I can understand, they said that it was not needed, there is obviously a need now. And the local population has grown a lot since Langleybury was shut as well.
Now after shutting far too many secondary schools and selling off the sites for big profits they want to build on greenbelt land!
I believe there is an even greater need for a secondary school in Abbots Langley. All secondary aged children in Abbots Langley currently need to be transported to schools miles away. No wonder all our local roads are gridlocked during term time! There is an existing school that was put into mothballs by Herts County Council for no reason that I can understand, they said that it was not needed, there is obviously a need now. And the local population has grown a lot since Langleybury was shut as well. Now after shutting far too many secondary schools and selling off the sites for big profits they want to build on greenbelt land! abbotshornet

7:41pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Green Gal says...

I am pleased that the council have taken on board the public opinion……not!
I might point out there was a public consultation a couple of years ago which funnily enough, Three Rivers District Council made rather difficult to access and forgot to, in fact, make it very ‘Public'!
The majority of Croxley Green Residents who were aware of the consultation, were greatly opposed to the allocation and building of a large secondary school on this small piece of greenbelt land at the bottom of Baldwins Lane. The initial consultation showed minimal opposition to the other 2 sites, both in the Mill End/Maple Cross area and despite this, Three Rivers District Council (who now ‘claim’ to be in opposition to this site going forward too) continued to include the site in their Local Plan which was then put forward to Herts County Council who have now, despite HUGE public opposition, begun taking steps to compulsory purchase the land. Worryingly, during an HCC meeting on the 20th September, it was advised that:
If, following the acquisition, the site was unexpectedly not taken forward to provide additional 6-8 forms of entry secondary school capacity; the County Council could seek to recover the initial capital outlay by re-selling the site.
So I guess this means that if the Council don’t build a school, they will sell it on for other developmental use meaning this greenbelt land, which is the buffer preventing Watford merging with Croxley Green, will be gone forever!!!
So thank you to all those that have so far been involved in trying to save this land. Please continue the fight, as I will. Please don’t be put off by the council’s underhand tactics of trying to keep information from us. Keep checking the internet for further news- by typing in ‘land north east of Baldwins Lane’ you get to see what HCC are up to which is not made public on the Three Rivers website.
I am pleased that the council have taken on board the public opinion……not! I might point out there was a public consultation a couple of years ago which funnily enough, Three Rivers District Council made rather difficult to access and forgot to, in fact, make it very ‘Public'! The majority of Croxley Green Residents who were aware of the consultation, were greatly opposed to the allocation and building of a large secondary school on this small piece of greenbelt land at the bottom of Baldwins Lane. The initial consultation showed minimal opposition to the other 2 sites, both in the Mill End/Maple Cross area and despite this, Three Rivers District Council (who now ‘claim’ to be in opposition to this site going forward too) continued to include the site in their Local Plan which was then put forward to Herts County Council who have now, despite HUGE public opposition, begun taking steps to compulsory purchase the land. Worryingly, during an HCC meeting on the 20th September, it was advised that: If, following the acquisition, the site was unexpectedly not taken forward to provide additional 6-8 forms of entry secondary school capacity; the County Council could seek to recover the initial capital outlay by re-selling the site. So I guess this means that if the Council don’t build a school, they will sell it on for other developmental use meaning this greenbelt land, which is the buffer preventing Watford merging with Croxley Green, will be gone forever!!! So thank you to all those that have so far been involved in trying to save this land. Please continue the fight, as I will. Please don’t be put off by the council’s underhand tactics of trying to keep information from us. Keep checking the internet for further news- by typing in ‘land north east of Baldwins Lane’ you get to see what HCC are up to which is not made public on the Three Rivers website. Green Gal

10:42pm Thu 5 Dec 13

matte111 says...

They would be better of using the site at Langleybury, or the proposed Maple Cross site. Putting a new school right in the middle of 2 secondary schools (Watford Boys + Rickmansworth) is a stupid decision. Leave the greenbelt alone. You are ruining it for the people who moved to Croxley because it is surrounded by Greenbelt.
They would be better of using the site at Langleybury, or the proposed Maple Cross site. Putting a new school right in the middle of 2 secondary schools (Watford Boys + Rickmansworth) is a stupid decision. Leave the greenbelt alone. You are ruining it for the people who moved to Croxley because it is surrounded by Greenbelt. matte111

8:15am Fri 6 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Croxley is indeed being spoiled and will become an overflow suburb of Watford if we are not careful. Thet would be a shame as Croxley and Watford are very different places.

There seems to be a vicious circle. Schools are closed, built upon and then there'sa cry to despoil green belt land for new schools. Is this some sort of sneaky way around building on green belt?

The main question has to be why schools are developed into housing in the first place, and more importantly, whether anyone connected to the council benefits in any way. Otherwise, why do it as it seems pretty stupid when the school populations are only going up and once you have lost that land where a school used to be, you can't get it back?
Croxley is indeed being spoiled and will become an overflow suburb of Watford if we are not careful. Thet would be a shame as Croxley and Watford are very different places. There seems to be a vicious circle. Schools are closed, built upon and then there'sa cry to despoil green belt land for new schools. Is this some sort of sneaky way around building on green belt? The main question has to be why schools are developed into housing in the first place, and more importantly, whether anyone connected to the council benefits in any way. Otherwise, why do it as it seems pretty stupid when the school populations are only going up and once you have lost that land where a school used to be, you can't get it back? Phil Cox (UKIP)

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