J’accuse was an open letter to a French newspaper in 1898 accusing the government of malpractice. My j’accuse letter, accuses the six councillors of a complete abdication of their responsibility to the residents of Watford by giving permission to build 1,214 homes across 20,22 and 28 storey towers on St Albans Road.

There is consensus that there is a housing crisis in this country. I totally agree with the necessity to provide large volumes of additional housing on this site and in this borough: however, the decision of the six Liberal Democrat councillors to ignore the negative effects such a scale will have on future residents of these blocks and existing Watford residents is thoroughly reprehensible.

Furthermore it is pathetic to blame government targets for the decision as it is the job of local government to safeguard the welfare of its local community.

Mere rubber stamping of all government diktats without adjustment to harmonise with local conditions renders a local government unnecessary.

It is beyond comprehension to understand how the adverse impacts identified by Watford’s and Herts’ own experts and statutory and public bodies have been dismissed in the officer’s recommendation acceptance.

The proposal to include 9 per cent affordable housing is substantially below the 35 per cent target set in the Watford Local Plan.

The local health profile for the Callowland Ward shows there is higher than average levels of overcrowding. It does not appear that this development will address this local priority.

The proposed school location is near St Albans Road. School-aged children are a health sensitive group to the effects of air pollution. There are four concerns over air quality.

The provision of outdoor play space is insufficient and does not meet government guidelines. Additionally, Sports England details that the “solution” to use Callowland Recreational Ground for the outdoor and PE space for the school is inadequate.

Herts CCG supported the view that this development would have a serious impact on the health services in the area with “several GP practices will be affected by this development, all of which are either at capacity or operating in cramped conditions.”

The contribution required to meet the best practices for GP requirement was £913,311.

The applicant’s response to this was to offer £281,925 on the following grounds: this figure has been disputed by the applicants based upon their lower predicted population yield (and therefore patient registrations) of 2,539 and a reduced floorspace requirement for each GP based upon the average GP to floorspace ratio of the four closest surgeries to the site.

I also consider it neglectful that the ability of the emergency services to deal with emergencies in high rise towers has not been considered.

Alice George

By email