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Four sites in Three Rivers stripped of Green Belt status
Three Rivers politicians have voiced their "disgust" after four sites in the district have been stripped of Green Belt status.
Following a visit by a Government inspector, Fairways Farm, off Bucknalls Lane, and fields off Woodside Road, both in Leavesden, no longer have the protective planning status.
The proposed Baldwins Lane school site, currently a horse field, and Killingdown Farm, off Little Green Lane, both in Croxley Green, have also had their Green Belt status revoked.
The inspector’s decision means the sites can now be targeted by developers to build hundreds of homes and two schools.
District council leader, Ann Shaw, said: "The Liberal Democrat administration of Three Rivers District Council has worked hard to produce a plan which meets the Government's requirements.
"We have consulted widely with residents, and not just once but several times, and we are deeply disappointed that the Inspector has insisted that housing should be built on some sites which residents have previously rejected and are in the Green Belt."
Leavesden representative, Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst said he is expecting developers will begin submitting applications to build on these sites imminently.
He added: "Frankly I am disgusted that an Inspector has the power to over-rule local wishes and impose unacceptable housing on Green Belt sites that residents and elected representatives have rejected not just once but on three occasions.
"He seems to have rolled over and agreed with the developers in the face of local opposition. The Leavesden area which has already seen a huge number of new homes."
Results of a local consultation in 2010 into the effect of a possible 160 homes being built in Killingdown Farm revealed that more than 1,300 residents opposed the plan.
The controversial plans to build a school in Baldwins Lane have also received considerable opposition from residents, despite being favoured by Hertfordshire County Council to be used to accommodate the rising demand for secondary school places.
Croxley councillor, Phil Brading, said: "The Inspector's decision to confirm the Baldwins Lane school site and to require nearly 200 new homes on Killingdown Farm in Croxley is contrary to the clearly expressed views of local residents. It is very disappointing that their views have been totally ignored."
The Government inspector’s ruling means 100 homes and a school could be built off Woodside Road and 100 homes could be built off Bucknalls Lane.
The district council’s planning committee cabinet member, Martin Trevett, said: "We are between a rock and hard place. The council has a legal requirement to agree to a plan that is acceptable to the Government Inspector, or the whole district would be at risk from inappropriate development - including these sites as well as others we have managed to protect.
"But it means that local people are not being allowed to make decisions for their own communities. If this is the Government's interpretation of Localism it is a farce."
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