Campaigners are planning a protest against what they describe as a "destruction" of Three Rivers’ greenbelt.

"Angry and frustrated" residents in the Carpenders Park area fear their "village" could double in population if proposals to build new homes move forward.

Three Rivers District Council has allocated several sites in the area for housing as part of its upcoming Local Plan, which added up could see around 1,500 new homes built along with a secondary school and primary school as well.

In particular, there are five sites that campaigners are concerned about.

The sites include land at Oxhey Lane, Watford Heath (119 homes), land north of Oxhey Lane (149 homes) land at Carpenders Park Farm (485 homes and a primary school) land south of Little Oxhey Lane (678 homes and a possible primary school) and a secondary school at Carpenders Park Farm in Oxhey Lane.

A Facebook group called 'STOP TRDC (Three Rivers District Council) Green Belt Destruction' has amassed nearly 1,000 members in a month, but campaigners intend to go further by holding a protest near Merry Hill Wood on August 10.

A public meeting is also being held this Saturday at St Meryl Primary School, which the Observer has been told will be attended by Watford's Conservative MP Dean Russell and Tory Carpenders Park ward councillors, along with South Oxhey Labour councillor Steve Cox.

Watford Observer: Highlighted in red is land in and around Carpenders Park, South Oxhey, and Watford Heath that is under threat from development in Three Rivers District Council's local planHighlighted in red is land in and around Carpenders Park, South Oxhey, and Watford Heath that is under threat from development in Three Rivers District Council's local plan

Speaking on behalf of campaigners, Kirsty Barnes said: "Carpenders Park began its life as a small village in the 1930s and there are currently 4,861 residents in Carpenders Park.

"(The plans) could mean a potential increase of 4,644 people in an area with a limited service GP Practice, an overwhelmed hospital, small primary schools, parking issues, a bus service that runs one vehicle per hour and a mainline station which runs once every 20 minutes."

The chief concerns raised by residents opposing the potential developments include traffic congestion, "unsustainable pressure" on local services, noise and air pollution, loss of green space and its impact on wildlife, and flooding.

Watford Observer: Through the trees is land that could have a secondary school built on. Credit: Kirsty BarnesThrough the trees is land that could have a secondary school built on. Credit: Kirsty Barnes

Mrs Barnes, who is a former parish councillor, said: "Carpenders Park is built upon Hartsbourne Stream, which runs down to the River Colne.

"It has a history of high flooding, when 32 hectares, homes and business were damaged, which is why in the 1990s, the Hartsbourne Alleviation Dam was built. It is reported to hold 9.24 million gallons of water.

"The village is still prone to flooding in areas. Residents and businesses are at high risk."

She added: "The greenbelt fields are the reason many residents moved here. There are many desolate and abandoned buildings in the town of Watford, and across the country.

"It is understood that Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced that councils in England will be granted powers to take over derelict and unused buildings through compulsory purchase orders for regeneration. Why is this not being implemented?"

Concerns about building over the greenbelt is not just an issue in Carpenders Park – it has become a widespread concern across the district of Three Rivers after a list of more than 70 sites, put forward by landowners and developers, was published that the council believes are suitable to help meet Government housing targets of 9,600 over the next 15 years.

Earlier this summer, the Three Rivers Joint Residents Association started a petition calling for the council to revise its local plan process.

Related: 'The housing targets are overstated' - hundreds sign petition to protect greenbelt

Liberal Democrat councillor Matthew Bedford, who is leading the council’s local plan process, said: "The council is as concerned as residents about the level of housing the Government is expecting to be built in Three Rivers, and we are continuing to push back against the Government's calculation for future housing need.

"We know that more recent projections from the Office for National Statistics in 2018 would result in lower numbers for Three Rivers. Unfortunately the Government explicitly decided in December that councils would not be allowed to use more recent projections and must continue to base their plans on the 2014 data, even though it is out-of-date."

He added: "We still have a long way to go with the local plan process. Once we review and analyse the results of the current consultation, the list of sites may be adjusted and there will be a further round of public consultation towards the end of this year before a public inquiry in the second half of next year."

The local plan consultation runs until August 20. Visit

The full details of the protest are: 7pm Tuesday August 10 near Merry Hill Wood, Oxhey Lane, opposite Carpenders Avenue, Carpenders Park.