Consultation opens on draft strategic local plan

Note from the District Council

A public consultation on the draft Strategic Local Plan (SLP) for St Albans District has opened and will run for six weeks.

Once formally agreed and adopted, the final plan will form a blueprint for development in the District over the next two decades.

A consultation in October and November 2014 addressed the context of the draft plan.

Residents, community groups, developers and other interested parties are now invited to make representations on whether the SLP meets the legal requirements and is “sound”.

After considering the evidence provided by those responding to the consultation, St Albans City and District Council may make amendments to the SLP.

The SLP sets out overall development policies for the District until 2031 and identifies land for housing, social facilities, commerce and infrastructure.

It can be viewed online at www.stalbans.gov.uk/slp  where information is available on how to make a representation.

The SLP can also be viewed at the Council’s offices in St Peters Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE. Information packs are available at libraries and Town and Parish Council offices.

Lib Dems propose neighbourhood plan for St Albans city despite Labour and Tory opposition

Local Liberal Democrats have called for resources to be made available to ensure that residents in the city have a say in how the development plan for the area is put together.

Lib Dem Leader Chris White said: ‘There is a growing feeling that the current plan process is currently only concentrating on the green belt – important though that it is.

‘There are growing anxieties about the lack of new infrastructure given the increasing number of units being given planning approval, especially in areas around the city station.’

​Gerard McHale​ added: ‘It is important for people’s voices to be heard and so it is disappointing the Conservatives refused to provide any resources for this This will mean it will be more likely that the developing local plan will fail to take into account the wishes of people who live here.’

Chris has particular criticism for Labour councillors: ‘Yet again Labour spoke out loudly against allowing city centre residents a say, claiming bizarrely it would be “unfair”. It is amazing how often Labour will try and do down the city – last year they told people to abandon St Peter’s Street and shop elsewhere if they didn’t​ like the parking charges.’

Council refused permission to appeal on rail freight court dismissal

St Albans City and District Council has been refused leave to appeal the dismissal of its court challenge against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The Council had challenged the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for a strategic rail freight interchange at Park Street near St Albans. The High Court dismissed the Council’s challenge on 13 March.

On 13 April, the Council applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the dismissal.

The Council has now received notice, dated 29 June 2015, that permission has been refused.  In his decision, Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Sullivan says that he considers the grounds of appeal put forward by the Council do not have a real prospect of success.

The Council now has seven days to decide whether to request that Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Sullivan’s decision is reconsidered at an oral hearing before the Court of Appeal.  We will take advice from our legal advisors before making this decision.

Lib Dems welcome news that Buongiorno Italia has been reprieved 

Lib Dems Chris White and Sandy Walkington have this morning expressed jubilation that the application to turn part of Buongiorno Italia into a residential unit has been turned down.

Chris, who is county councillor for the area, and who called the matter into committee, said: ‘I am glad that common sense prevailed. We cannot afford to lose facilities of this quality.’

Sandy added: ‘Hundreds of people were galvanised to support this brilliant shop. It shows that people power can work, I am glad so relieved that the majority of councillors on the Committee listened to their concerns.’

Court backs Conservatives over Helioslough application

“With the news that St Albans Council has lost its court case against Eric Pickles’s decision to approve the Park Street lorry terminal, it really has been Friday 13th for local residents,” said Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat candidate for St Albans. “All the judge could do was determine whether the Conservative Secretary of State had exercised his powers lawfully and sadly it seems that Mr Pickles did.

“With one stroke of the pen, Mr Pickles stabbed St Albans in the front, sides and back.

“Although the immediate impact if the scheme now goes ahead will be on the residents of Park Street, south St Albans and the villages, the ripples will go far wider,” Sandy said. “The setting of the city and Abbey will be irrevocably damaged. Increased traffic congestion will affect the far wider highway network and impact on the attractiveness of our community to other businesses and organisations. And there will be massive disruption to rail commuters.

“I will be working with county councillor colleagues to press the Conservative leadership of Hertfordshire County Council not to be Eric Pickles’s puppet and not sell its part of the land unless it is forced to do so by compulsory purchase. And we will also need to see what mitigation might be possible.

“It is truly depressing news. I am so desperately sorry that after all the hard work of residents, STRiFE, the council and politicians of all parties it should have come to this,” Sandy concluded.

 

Downsizing threat to Buongiorno Italia

You will no doubt have read with dismay the danger to award-winning Buongiorno Italia.

We totally support the campaign to save it and would ask you to register your objections by going to the district council’s website before 11 February:

http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/planningapplications

The application reference number is 5/2014/3158.

More information can be found on:

https://www.facebook.com/buongiornodeli

Naturally we are fearful that this will not be the last occasion when an important part of the life of the city is threatened – we certainly know of some non-retail businesses which have been forced to leave the city centre.

Please let us know your views by completing the survey overleaf. Alternatively you can fill it in on line at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S79X98V

St Claire’s update

Note from district council

A meeting was held with St Peter’s Ward Councillors , David Bogle and myself. It was agreed to send out the following agreed headlines to the Residents’ Association, St Claire’s Action Group and those residents who have contacted us with questions or comments.

  1. A meeting will be held next week between the Council and Hightown to discuss whether a lower density proposal with Council support through a grant is possible.
  2. If agreement is not reached between Council and Hightown on a lower density proposal, and if the Council decides not to support the original proposal then Hightown would look at alternative options for the building.
  3. In terms of further engagement with residents, Ward Councillors will continue to liaise with all residents in order to represent all views and be a point of contact for queries. The Council will assist with questions and keep the Residents Association and Action Group updated. Depending on how the above progresses this could include a further event an example of which might be an exhibition at which questionnaires could be made available.