Green housing developers slam ‘incompetent’ Dacorum Borough Council planners

An artist's impression of Lumiere's preferred look for the Boxmoor Forest project
An artist's impression of Lumiere's preferred look for the Boxmoor Forest project

A developer behind plans for two low emission residential tower blocks has accused Dacorum Borough Council’s planners of ‘incompetence’.

Lumiere Developments says the council has been unable to define exactly what kind of development it wants at the site of 499-501 London Road in Hemel Hempstead – where current plans have been submitted for 345 flats called Boxmoor Forest.
The firm has also said DBC has failed to meet deadlines to let them know how many storeys its new Beacon development should be in an amended application.

One of the alternative designs of the Boxmoor Forest site

One of the alternative designs of the Boxmoor Forest site

Lumiere says both schemes, located in London Road near the station, would help tackle the housing crisis and also improve the town’s environment.

Nik Vyas, head architect, said: “We are trying something world changing here, but we are finding it very difficult.

“The council originally told us they wanted an office site at 499-501 London Road, but they then rejected it. Now we have submitted Boxmoor Forest, which is mixed use, but they want us to go ahead with housing.

“The station gateway area has been subject to a lot of masterplans over the last 20 years, all of which seem to supersede the last one.”

Tanvi Doshi, planning lead for the firm, added: “They have conducted a lot of consultations and have spent money and resources; however they have not be able to define a framework.”

DBC is expected to agree the final version of its latest planning document for the area, the Two Waters masterplan at the council’s cabinet meeting next month.

James Doe, assistant director for planning, development and regeneration at Dacorum Borough Council, responded: “The council has, after consultation with local residents and stakeholders, produced a draft Masterplan for the Two Waters area to guide the extent and shape of new housing development which respects the area’s great qualities including the historic Box Moor and the Grand Union Canal.

“The Masterplan covers, amongst other sites, land where Lumiere developments are proposing new residential schemes at ‘The Beacon’ and 499-501 London Road.

“The draft version considers both sites suitable for residential redevelopment.

“We will take into account and balance a wide range of material planning considerations including national and local planning policies, advice from specialist consultees, comments from local residents, and the situation on the ground. The officer recommendation will be formulated once all comments have been received and reviewed.”