Leaders in St Albans have hit out at plans to build 6,000 homes near London Colney, warning that the area could “grind to a halt”.

Hertsmere Borough Council is currently consulting on its draft Local Plan, which outlines development in the borough between 2022 and 2038.

Hertsmere’s plan requires 12,160 new homes to be built between 2022 and 2038 to meet its housing target.

The draft plan suggests building 2,400 of those homes in the new settlement of Bowman Cross, on the border between Hertsmere and St Albans  – with an additional 3,600 homes also expected on the land before 2050.

Read more: Council confirms proposal for major development of 6,000 homes

At a meeting of St Albans District Council’s local plan advisory group on Tuesday, November 2, council leader Cllr Chris White and opposition group leader Cllr Mary Maynard both expressed worries about the development.

Cllr White (Liberal Democrat, Clarence) also criticised the council, saying he had not received a briefing on the plan since last December, despite the progress being made.

He also raised concerns about the lack of detail about how the road network would be able to cope with an estimated 15,000 extra people.

Cllr White said: ”We have this finger of development, half of Hertsmere’s development, basically stuck between two St Albans villages who have been noting and indeed complaining for some time, with massive reason, that the roads and the entire network is already incredibly stressed.

Watford Observer: Cllr Chris White, leader of St Albans District Council Credit: St Albans District Council

Cllr Chris White. Photo: LDRS

“And yet I haven’t heard anything which says ‘we will construct major new distributor roads’. You haven’t even mentioned the county council’s idea for a mass rapid transit scheme.

“We hear about schools, which is good. We hear about healthcare, which is good. But we don’t hear about the key issue as far as I see it, which is that the whole area is going to grind to a halt.”

Hertsmere’s officer said that this work was still ongoing, but noted that there would be more ‘internalisation’ of trips within the new settlement, because new facilities will be included within the development.

However, this was rubbished by the council leader, who said that residents of a new settlement will be working across Hertfordshire, rather than within Bowmans Cross.

Related: Hertsmere development sites revealed in draft local plan

Cllr Maynard (Conservative, Harpenden East) also raised issues with the amount of education and healthcare provision included, as well as asking what steps would be taken to avoid damage to trees and wildlife in the area.

She said: “The schools in St Albans are notoriously full, the new ones which we will build will just be built for the new building, and will not be able to accommodate any other children, so what are you going to do in terms of providing adequate education for children who live on that site?”

“Associated with that is health. You’re not showing any GP surgery and in fact you have produced literature which says you intend people on that site to use a GP surgery in London Colney.

“The GP surgery in London Colney serves 15,000 people and is at max [capacity], so what are you going to do about health provision on the site?”

Watford Observer: A screenshot from a video from Hertsmere Borough Council of land earmarked for the Bowmans Cross development

A screenshot from a video from Hertsmere Borough Council of land earmarked for the Bowmans Cross development

Mark Silverman, planning policy and transport manager at Hertsmere Borough Council, said four primary schools and one secondary school are included in the plans, with two reserve sites also included, if necessary.

He added that a new health facility is also now on the cards, and is planned for within the overall masterplan of the site.

The council was unable to say how many jobs would be created on the new site at this stage of planning, but over 15,000sq m of commercial space would be included in the development.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, St Albans District Council will now submit an official response to the consultation as part of a requirement for councils to co-operate during the process.

Watford Observer: An approximate outline of where the Bowmans Cross development would be built Credit: Google free for all LDRS partners

An approximate outline of where the Bowmans Cross development would be built Credit: Google

The public consultation runs until December 6, before the council will then make any necessary adjustments before publishing a second plan, expected in spring 2022.

The borough council has said that following submission for public examination late next year, and without any major delays, the new Local Plan could be adopted in 2023.