Housing plans for park are '˜out of order'

Plans to concrete over parkland to make way for a new housing development have been branded '˜out of order'.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 11:43 am
The proposed site for eight new homes off Okeford Drive, Tring
The proposed site for eight new homes off Okeford Drive, Tring

Maple Leaf Real Estate has submitted an application to build eight new homes on part of the recreation area next to Okeford Drive in Tring.

But the controversial plans have been denounced after all 12 of Tring’s town councillors voted against it at a packed council meeting on Monday.

Town councillor, Nick Hollinghurst, said: “I think the plans are out of order. They really are trying it on.”

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The proposed development of land off Okeford Drive, Tring

The parcel of meadow land in question, though privately owned, was given designated public open space status in the early 1970s.

It is used on a daily basis by dog walkers, runners and families, and contains a football pitch, basketball court and children’s playground.

Mr Hollinghurst, who serves Miswell Ward, said: “This is a serious planning anomaly.

“It’s very unusual for it to be privately owned. The remedy lies in the hands of Dacorum Borough Council – they should go for a compulsory purchase order (CPO).”

The proposed development of land off Okeford Drive, Tring

A CPO allows certain bodies which need to buy land or property to do so without the owner’s consent.

The plans for the scheme – which includes five five-bedroomed houses – show that 53 per cent of the land could be built upon, while the other 47 per cent would be handed over to Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) for continued public use.

The application will go before DBC’s development control committee in the near future, but a date is yet to be set.

Residents living directly next to the proposed development were informed by letter, but those in the wider vicinity have been left in the dark.

Some have made it their mission to spread the word to those who use the park on a daily basis.

Nevil Couzens, who lives nearby, said: “When I got the letter I nearly spat out my lunch.

“The park is so well used. I use it every day myself.

“I know the part they want to build on has been left to rack and ruin, but we love it all the more because of it.

“It’s full of birds, bees, bats, butterflies and lizards. The kids love it, and they’re going to take all of that away.

“It has been difficult trying to get this across to people, but we need to make our voices heard.”

The scheme currently has around 40 registered objections – though none of these are displaying on the DBC website – but more than 100 are needed to make a difference.

A spokesman for Maple Leaf Real Estates was unavailable to comment, but an extract from the application’s supporting statement said: “It is considered here that the proposed development of eight units represents an appropriate density and would be appropriate within its setting and would not have an adverse impact on the appearance of the area or on the amenities currently enjoyed by residents of adjacent properties.”

Email your views to [email protected] by Tuesday, June 28.

Search 4/01472/16/MFA on the authority’s planning application’s page here.