Campaign group urges people to oppose high-rise development at Hemel Hempstead railway station
There will be a public meeting at Boxmoor School today to discuss the plans
A campaign group is calling on people to oppose the plans to make Hemel Hempstead railway station a high-rise development.
Four & No More says that a high-rise development will ruin the skyline and views of a much-loved and historic part of Boxmoor.
Dacorum Borough Council says it has not received a planning application for the site.
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But artwork released earlier this year by Network Rail in its ‘Invitation to Developers’ shows that buildings could be more than 12 storeys high.
The council has assured residents that if it does receive any applications, these would be met with a consultation allowing local people and other groups to comment on the proposals.
A spokesperson for Dacorum Borough Council said that the Hemel Hempstead Station Gateway is currently allocated for “mixed-use development in the Site Allocations DPD (Adopted in 2017) which forms part of the existing Local Plan for Dacorum”.
It said: “The allocation states that development on the site should deliver new homes and an improved transport interchange, alongside a new car park and a range of supporting commercial uses, in order to promote the site as a key gateway for the town.”
“The adopted policy for the site states that ‘the layout, scale, height and density of development must respect the adjoining residential area and semi-rural character of Boxmoor’.
It added: “National planning policy highlights the importance of optimising and uplifting densities of development on sites that are previously developed and well served by public transport, as this ensures the effective use of brownfield land, and offsets the need for Green Belt to meet housing delivery requirements.”
The council says it would examine the pros and cons of any proposal. It explained that it would look at any impact on the adjoining landscape, before making a recommendation on whether to approve or refuse permission.
Four & No More says it is not against the development at the site, which is nearly seven and a half acres around Hemel Hempstead railway station and car park.
The campaigners say that over time, the height and scale of the railway station has increased.
The group has found that the March 2011 Feasibility Study cited two options with 142 or 203 homes between two to four storeys in height.
But the January 2022 Network Rail’s Invitation to Developers now shows nearly 460 homes with artwork showing more than 12 storeys.
Campaigners want to protect the ‘semi-rural feel’ of Boxmoor, which they feel a high-rise building would affect.
The proposed development of the site would improve the appearance and functioning of the station and provide a mix of housing and commercial business.
The group hopes that like at other local stations, such as Tring and Berkhamsted which have retained their low-key low-rise buildings, Hemel Hempstead railway station should be allowed to do the same.
To discuss these issues and more, there is a public meeting held at Boxmoor School on Cowper Road today (July 5).
People can join the discussion and share their thoughts from 7.30pm tomorrow.