CALA Homes Application

 

The Cala Homes Development – UPDATE 23rd March 2024

As many of you will already be aware, after St Albans and District Council refused the Polo
and Cala applications to develop land north and south of Chiswell Green Lane in autumn
2022, an appeal was launched by the developers, Cala Homes and Headlands Way (Polo)
and a conjoined inquiry was held by the Planning Inspectorate in April 2023.

 

Keep Chiswell Green was granted ‘Rule 6 status’ as an interested party at the inquiry.
Therefore, we were entitled to have access to all supporting documentation submitted by the
other parties to provide us with time to prepare our official responses and arguments against
the proposed developments.

 

After nine gruelling days of listening to evidence and arguments from the appellants (Cala
and Polo), St Albans and City District Council, and providing evidence of our own, the
Inspector, Michael Boniface MSc MRTPI, was charged with making the decision to either
approve or dismiss the appeals by Cala Homes and Headlands Way (Polo).

 

In May 2023, Keep Chiswell Green wrote to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing
and Communities, Michael Gove, asking him to ‘recover’ the appeal decision and gave him
our reasons as to why he should dismiss the appeals. We also asked our subscribers to
email Mr Gove to support our request, and 450 of you obliged! This huge response made
the Chiswell Green appeals ‘controversial’ and gave Mr Gove another reason to recover the
decision.

 

At the beginning of June 2023, we were advised that Mr Gove had indeed decided to
recover the decision himself and consequently, the Planning Inspector, Michael Boniface,
was required to present his report and his recommendation to Mr Gove for him to make his
own decision.

 

After having waited almost a year, on the 22 nd March 2024 Michael Gove, Secretary of State
for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities delivered the devastating decision that the
appeals had both been granted, effectively approving the construction of 391 new dwellings
to the south and 330 to the north of Chiswell Green Lane.

 

Against a backdrop of rhetoric from Mr Gove and his ministerial colleagues in support of
protection for the Green Belt, the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework in
December last year with greater protection for the Green Belt, and a recent history of 15 of
the last 18 appeals to be decided at Inquiry being dismissed, we are stunned that Mr Gove
has gone so categorically against the trend and approved these appeals.

 

The decision appears to hinge on one sole aspect – that St Albans City and District Council
has not delivered the volume of housing that the Government has targeted them to deliver.
This is a political decision – a punishment for St Albans.

 

Critically, this decision now also sets the tone for all the other Green Belt applications in our
District, as well as for Green Belt applications across the whole country; our entire District is
at significant risk until the District has delivered in excess of 15,000 new dwellings (using
2,000 acres of our Green Belt), over 1,000 of which could be built in Chiswell Green in
addition to the 721 approved by this decision.

 

According to St Albans and District Council’s current Draft Local Plan, 98 houses would be
built on Miriam Lane which, if permitted, would act as a gateway to building on the whole
parcel of land to the south of Chiswell Green Lane. This could amount to over 1,000 new
houses just within the Chiswell Green Lane/Noke Lane boundary, including the development
of Butterfly World in addition to the Cala Homes and Polo Field sites.

 

It has been 2 years since we started this campaign and, despite the savage outcome of the
Cala Homes and Polo Field appeals, we feel we have all done the community proud by
standing up against the mass development of our precious Green Belt.

 

However, we are also not quite ready to lie down and take this as a final decision and we are
now considering our next steps. We have six weeks from the date of the decision made by
Mr Gove to decide whether we have grounds to challenge his decision. So, we are seeking
expert advice as to whether we have a legal case to seek a Judicial Review through the High
Court.

 

If you are able to help us toward our upcoming legal fees, please click here to support us:

Donate

Mr Gove’s full report can be found at the following link:
Recovered appeals: land south of Chiswell Green Lane and land north of Chiswell Green Lane, St. Albans (refs: 3313110 and 3312277 – 22 March 2024) (publishing.service.gov.uk) 

 

 

 

 

The Cala Homes Development – UPDATE 30th November 2022

We won this battle!

Monday night’s result was that the Cala application was REFUSED ! 🎉🥳👏😁🎉

 

However, this is just one battle. Cala will appeal. We must not lose the momentum – we must continue to fight now to change the political context within which the appeal will be heard ! More on that soon !

 

Thank you to everyone for all your support !

 

A couple of articles in local papers are listed below.
You can also watch the recording of the meeting from the link below.

 

Article in Herts Mercury

Article in Watford Observer

Meeting Video

 

Together we can Keep Chiswell Green !!

The Cala Homes Development – UPDATE 26th November 2022

EMAIL THE COUNCILLORS!

Click here to email the planning committee

EMAIL PLANNING COMMITTEE

Here are some reasons for councillors not to go with the officer’s recommendation.
Please use these in your emails!

 

1) Failure to consider the impact of the additional traffic

The impact of the additional traffic that will be generated by the proposed new development is a MATERIAL CONSIDERATION in the planning process but has been completely dismissed by Herts County Highways whose view has been accepted by the case officer. Comparatively, this was accepted as a material consideration in the recent (Nov ‘22) decision by East Herts District Council to refuse 350 new homes in Buntingford.

2) Two Form Entry primary school not necessary so not a positive

Providing land for a new 2 Form Entry primary school on Chiswell Green Lane is unnecessary as the local primary schools are currently under-subscribed, the birth rate is steadily declining, and the actual number of households in the 2021 census confirms that past forecasts have over-estimated population growth in Hertfordshire. Chiswell Green doesn’t need a new primary school so providing land for one is not a benefit.  This land will become more housing in time.

3) Overplayed economic benefit

The developer has stated that there could be £10.9m in additional household spending and £920,287 in additional council tax revenue for SADC. These figures are not justifiable and fundamentally flawed.  The suggested economic benefit cannot be given any positive weighting in the planning decision.

4) Money instead of actual biodiversity net gain

Cala is destroying huge amounts of biodiversity and is proposing to pay for biodiversity units to be provided “offsite”. Achieving this offset is likely to be challenging enough so as to be unachievable.   Either way, Chiswell Green is losing a significant amount of biodiversity.

5) Open and play space vs loss of countryside

In addition to the loss of biodiversity, the planning officer attributes positive weight to Cala’s use of 3.34ha to provide open and play space but Chiswell Green will actually lose 14ha of prime green belt. This is a net loss, not a benefit.

6) The domino effect will cause further loss

Development of the Cala site will inevitably lead to the development of the remainder of the plot bordered by Chiswell Green Lane and Noke Lane – up to 1,000 new houses.

7) Brownfield sites should be exhausted before building on Green Belt is permitted

SADC should not allow any new housing on Green Belt until it can demonstrate that all its brownfield sites have been built on first.  It should also only allow building of the types of houses that are needed in St Albans, not allow developers to build what they want to.

To download our official response to this application please click here:
KCG – Formal Response to Cala application 5 2022 0927 – 23June22.pdf

 

Click the link below to view the application on the planning website:
Planning Application 5/2022/0927

 

Watch our Video:

The Cala Homes Development – UPDATE 21st November 2022

Decision date committee meeting is Monday 28th November – Please attend the meeting!

The meeting will be held at the COUNCIL CHAMBER – COUNCIL OFFICES (next to Alban Arena).
The case officer posted his report and recommendation to the portal on Friday. Inexplicably he is recommending that the application be GRANTED!
The case officer’s full report is available here:
Case Officer’s Report

This report will be circulated to the committee of councillors, who will meet on Monday 28th November at the Civic Offices to decide whether to accept the officer’s recommendation or whether to oppose it and refuse the application.

It is therefore absolutely crucial that the maximum number of Chiswell Green residents attend this committee meeting to show councillors the depth of local opposition.

This could literally be our last opportunity to stop this application, so if you don’t want this massive development to go ahead, your attendance is absolutely vital!

Our planning consultant will be making his 3 minute speech on behalf of KCG and the local community, 1 local councillor and 1 parish councillor will speak for 5 minutes each. The developer will also be allowed to speak for 5 minutes.

A good turnout will show the planning committee the strength of feeling in the local community towards this application, and they cannot ignore that. A large turnout is known to have an impact on the decision, so please do attend if you are able to.

We hope to see you there!

Add the CALA Decision Meeting to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

 

The Cala Homes Development – UPDATE 11th November 2022

Decision date committee meeting is Monday 28th November – Please attend the meeting!

The meeting will be held at the COUNCIL CHAMBER – COUNCIL OFFICES (next to Alban Arena).
The case officer has not yet made his recoomendation.

Members of the public are permitted to attend in person (as spectators), so it would be great to have a significant number of residents of Chiswell Green present to demonstrate the strength of opposition to this development.

We had a great turnout for the Polo Fields decision meeting – but it would be fantastic to have a much larger number of residents at this meeting regarding CALA

 

The CALA Homes Development – UPDATE 9th October 2022

National Highways have removed their hold on the application decision.

 

Re-consultation on this application is still open, existing comments will still be taken into consideration – and any new comments must be submitted by 22nd October.

 

The CALA Homes Development – UPDATE 22nd September 2022

Re-consultation on this application is now open, existing comments will still be taken into consideration – and any new comments must be submitted by 22nd October.

New documents have been submitted by the applicant relating to

    • road changes to Chiswell Green Lane, Watford Road and Stanley Avenue
    • ecology
    • drainage

Please do view the documents and submit any new objections before the closing date.
Click the link below to view the application on the planning website:
Planning Application 5/2022/0927

 

The CALA Homes Development – UPDATE 20th September 2022

The Case Officer has now stated that the application will go to “re-consultation” due to new documents submitted by the applicant.
We will let you know more about dates as and when we find out.

 

 

The CALA Homes Development – UPDATE 5th June 2022

National Highways put a hold on the application decision to allow more time for them to assess the impact.
New decision date is 14th December 2022

 

In their response to the application they stated:

 

National Highways has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport as a
strategic highway company under the provisions of the Infrastructure Act 2015 and is
the highway authority, traffic authority and street authority for the Strategic Road
Network (SRN). The SRN is a critical national asset and as such we work to ensure that
it operates and is managed in the public interest, both in respect of current activities
and needs as well as in providing effective stewardship of its long-term operation
and integrity.
This response represents our formal recommendation with regard to planning
application 5/2022/0927 and has been prepared by Jen Searle, Spatial Planner for
National Highways.
National Highways requires more time to review information from Hertfordshire council.
Considering the above, National Highways recommends that planning permission not
be granted for a further period of three months, from the date of this notice, to allow the
applicant time to submit additional supporting information.

 

Click the link below to view the application on the planning website where you can still upload an objection:
Planning Application 5/2022/0927

 


We Can stop our Green Belt from being taken away!