Furious residents slam council after 1,100-home 'sham' development gets green light in Hemel Hempstead

Angry residents have branded the decision to approve a massive housing development in West Hemel Hempstead as a "sham".

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:02 am
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:06 am

The LA3 scheme for 1,100 new homes was passed by the development management committee on Thursday evening.

But residents and environmental groups joined forces to denounce the major housing project, claiming it would cause a myriad of problems to the surrounding communities.

Chris Mabley, of Bourne End Village Assocation, said: "LA3 has been passed by the development management committee despite fundamental breaches of local and national policy.

The area of land earmarked for the development

"The developers have benefited from support within the council and planning department to enable them to minimise negative impacts on their profits by minimising contributions to mitigate the impact of their plans."

The scheme, which dates back to 2013, has been criticised over its education, healthcare, and traffic provision for the huge influx of new residents.

Mr Mabley claimed: "They are committing to about £10million over the ten-year build out but that is a drop in the ocean compared to the value of 1,200 dwellings and a nursing home. Public confidence in our councillors and planners must have dropped again.

"The section 106 agreements are not even finalised and the traffic plans do not include all roads and junctions affected.

"The enforcement of planning conditions is partial in our area. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that consultation and democracy are a sham."

West Hemel Action Group (WHAG), who have long-campaigned against the scheme, expressed its "bitter" disappointment at the development's approval.

Taking to Facebook, the group said: "WHAG is considering what actions we can take now; but we all need a little time to stand back and draw breath."

A Dacorum Borough Council spokesperson, in response to resident's claims, said: “The scheme proposed, complies with Dacorum Borough Council’s adopted policy for development at West Hemel Hempstead and with national policy generally.

"The development approved by the committee follows 11 months of careful consideration and extensive negotiations with the developers to secure, amongst others, a new two-form entry primary school, funding for the expansion of Parkwood Drive surgery and funding to establish bus services through the site, all of which exceed £10 million in value."

DBC added the scheme would deliver 440 much-needed affordable homes to the area, along with "substantial" areas of open space and community facilities.

"The scheme was subject to a comprehensive transport assessment and Hertfordshire County Council as highway authority is satisfied that the proposals, including works to key junctions away from the site are satisfactory, and that the impact on the highways network and key junctions is acceptable," the spokesperson said.

"A s106 agreement will be concluded as part of the planning permission to be issued by the Council in due course.

"The terms of this agreement were approved by the Committee and the details will be finalised in the coming weeks. The council’s Planning department will proactively manage the conditions relevant to the permission.”

A spokesperson for the developers Taylor Wimpey and Barratt David Wilson, said: “We are pleased to have received the support of the development management committee for our application, which will play a key role in delivering the new homes, open spaces and community facilities to support the Borough’s growing population.”

“This development will create a new community of up to 1,100 homes, along with specialist accommodation for the elderly, a new primary school, community centre, nursery, shops and 16 hectares of public green space.

“We are committed to creating a successful and sustainable new neighbourhood for Hemel Hempstead.”