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Watford Community Trust amends proposals for Leavesden park
Proposals to build social housing on a popular park space in Leavesden have been amended but are still being opposed by residents.
Watford Community Housing Trust has applied to build six houses and six flats, following a public consultation where plans to build 20 new homes on the park near Hill Farm Close were met by strong opposition from residents.
The plan includes a new children’s playground, and a preserved green area the size of a five-a-side football pitch, with plans to level and returf the field.
Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst said the amended proposals "did not make any difference" and said it was more important than ever to retain green space due to plans to construct 425 flats and houses, including 148 "affordable homes" less than a mile away at Leavesden Aerodrome.
The Liberal Democrat councillor for Leavesden said: "I am opposed to the new plans, as are residents.
"It is even more important to retain and protect green verges, because of the plans for 425 new homes on the aerodrome site.
"It is used by members of the local community and should be retained for public amenity.
"I will continue to work with residents to help them protect this green space."
Residents living in the area surrounding Hill Farm Close have been strongly opposed to plans and have continued to campaign against any development on the site since learning of initial plans to build 14 flats and six houses.
Lesley Folgate, who lives in Hill Farm Close, has been leading the campaign with her husband, Brian, since initial plans were put forward.
Mother-of-three Mrs Folgate said: "I am disgusted that Watford Community Housing Trust have not taken the wishes of the local community into account.
"They are very aware of our objections, and with the proposed housing development of 420 homes being built opposite the green space, the area is becoming overdeveloped, leaving hardly any places for children to play sport."
The space is understood to have been a communal area since the surrounding homes were built in the 1930s.
Gareth Lewis, director of property and new business at the trust, said: “We understand that residents are concerned about the impact of the new homes we are proposing to build, and that many of them are passionate about keeping the grassed area.
"We have listened, and we believe we have found a compromise that addresses their concerns while also helping to meet the area’s pressing need for good quality affordable homes.
“We would be pleased to have the opportunity to work with existing residents to shape the playground and recreation areas that we have preserved in the new scheme.
"We hope residents will continue to be involved in helping us to develop this space.”