Email Planning Inspectorate re Ragged Hall Lane

Please email the Planning Inspectorate




Local landowner, Martin Holderness, has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS)to overturn the decision by SADC to refuse permission for him to build 7 detached houses opposite Cuckman’s Farm on Ragged Hall Lane. Comments need to be received by midnight on Thursday this week (27th July). Please click on the link below to email the Case Officer, Neale Oliver, to express your opposition to this application.

Critically, permission for development on this Green Belt site could set a precedent for the application to build 53 new houses further along Ragged Hall Lane, again in the Green Belt.

St Albans needs starter homes, retirement properties, and affordable 2- and 3-bedroomed family homes – not more large executive houses in the Green Belt, which is what is being proposed.

Further ideas for reasons for refusal of this appeal are below to give you inspiration.
The Planning Inspectorate deadlines are fixed – no leniency – and while we understand that everyone’s time is limited, IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME TO SEND ONE EMAIL TODAY, PLEASE MAKE IT THIS ONE.



We urgently need you to do two things :  

    1. Please click the button below to send an email to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) to object to this appeal
    2. Please forward this message to all your friends and family members and ask them to object too.






Thoughts about reasons for objections to the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate with regard to the application by Martin Holderness for 7 detached houses opposite Cuckman’s Farm, Ragged Hall Lane.

    • The design of the proposed houses is out of keeping with the other properties in the area and will harm the character of the area


    • The houses are large and over-bearing for this site and location. The design is too rigid and imposing compared to the surrounding properties


    • The plot is too small for 7 large houses; this is overdevelopment of the site and would be too imposing amongst neighbouring houses


    • St Albans needs homes as social rented accommodation, and affordable 2- and 3-bedroomed homes. This development will do nothing to meet the actual housing need in St Albans


    • The Government is trying to encourage greater densification of new developments, but this application would only amount to 14 dwellings per hectare


    • House prices in St Albans and the cost of stamp duty has encouraged local residents to extend their own houses so many houses in St Albans are 4, 5 or 6-bedroomed properties. This keeps house prices high through lack of movement and the value added to properties through renovation and extension. The proposed development will only add to this existing problem


    • The applicant claims that St Albans has failed in its housing delivery targets, but it is not St Albans that actually builds the houses. A more accurate assessment would be how many permissions were applied for and how many granted in each of the previous year


    • The Green Belt Review conducted by external consultants, Arup, of the sites put forward under the Call for Sites in preparation for the new Local Plan has now been published, and the Draft Local Plan has been published for Regulation 18 Public Consultation. The application site is not supported for development by the Green Belt Review or the Draft Local Plan


    • The applicant implies that inclusion of the application site in the Call for Sites constitutes some acknowledgement that the site was suitable for development. However, the Planning Policy and Climate Change committee was at great pains to stress that none of the sites included in the Green Belt Review has been assessed for its suitability in terms of transport, sustainability etc, stating that the appropriate time to make these assessments of the individual sites is during the Regulation 18 consultation


    • Herts Highways – which is known for rarely opposing any development application – states that “the site is in a generally unsustainable area” and would therefore “fail to meet the objectives of Policies 1 and 5 of the Herts Local Transport Plan”.


    • The recent publication on the Green Belt Review demonstrates that the St Albans District has an ample supply of land being offered by landowners for development, including sufficient brownfield land to accommodate in the region of 5,000 new dwellings. We do not therefore need to permit an inappropriate speculative development go ahead, particularly one that does nothing to provide the housing that St Albans actually needs


    • The applicant has not made any justifiable arguments to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist to justify the harm that development of the Green Belt would cause


    • Development should be plan-led and St Albans is finally at Regulation 18 Public Consultation stage in the preparation of the District’s Local Plan. Speculative development should not therefore be permitted at this stage of the development of the Plan


    • The Government is making an increasing number of statements indicating that the Planning System will undergo some change from September – only 2 months away. Whilst it is impossible to be sure what these changes will be, it seems likely that these changes will include greater protection for the Green Belt, potentially relieving councils from their duty to meet their local housing target if doing so can only be achieved by building on the Green Belt


    • Local residents do not support this application. The supporters for the application say that it will provide housing for their children who have been priced out of the District, but this fails to acknowledge that 7 new houses will not impact house prices in the area, and that these houses are large, executive houses – not the affordable family homes that are needed


    • The application site now falls into the St Stephen Parish and is not supported for development under the St Stephen Neighbourhood Plan


    • Despite a change in the parish boundaries which now locates the application site in St Stephen Parish, both St Michael and St Stephen Parish oppose the development of this site as it is not supported by either Neighbourhood Plan


    • The application site should benefit from greater protection by being within the Metropolitan Green Belt, but also being in the Watling Chase Community Forest area


    • The application site plays an important role in stopping the encroachment of Chiswell Green village into the Green Belt, and particularly extending the settlement boundaries nearer the Park Wood Ancient Woodland


    • The nearby PROW is well used and users would suffer a loss of visual amenity from the loss of openness of this site. There would be a significant change in the “feel” of the area from the PROW from open countryside to urban location


    • This site was refused for development in the past and circumstances have not changed sufficiently to warrant a change in this decision


    • Assertions by the applicant that this development would qualify as “infill” as supported by the NPPF do not apply in this situation as the application site is outside the village boundary. It is not therefore “infill”


    • Development of the application site would damage future opportunities for the Green Belt land behind the proposed development (to the north) to be returned to farmed agricultural land by blocking the access to the farmland


    • Permitting development of the application site would cause a precedent, under the guise of “consistency of decision making”, for the land currently under application to SADC for 53 new houses on Green Belt land between Ragged Hall Lane and Westfields Farm


    • This development would result in the loss of significant but unquantified amounts of biodiversity which has not been measured through a recognised biodiversity metric


    • The site was deliberately cleared prior to the application, which has the intended effect of under-estimating the biodiversity that was present on the site


    • The application proposes to dispose of the waste water from the development via the mains sewer of the existing drainage system, which would add to the 2,642 hours that raw sewage was pumped into the headwaters of the River Ver in 2021 – a protected chalk stream of international interest. It does not make sense to increase demand for water in the District when it is already under such water stress


    • The site is located on a very narrow, rural lane with a 60mph speed limit


    • The access to the proposed new houses will cause significant disruption to existing residents and road users


    • The section of road in front of the proposed development is well used by cyclists, horses and pedestrians.


    • Increased car movements at this narrow section of the road would present an increased danger to these existing road users


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