“Polo Fields” Application

 

The Polo Fields 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) 

To download our official response to this application please click here:
KCG – Formal Response to Polo Field application 5 2021 3194 – August 2022

 

 

Watch our Video:

 

The “Polo Fields” Development – UPDATE 11th November 2022

Planning Application Refused

Following the meeting on 17th October, the Council Planning Committee unanimously voted to refuse this application.
This is great news, but the applicant may still appeal.
Watch this space….

The officer committee report is available to view here :
Officer Committee Report

The decision notice is available to view here :
Decision Notice

Thank you so much for your support everyone!
We have jumped the first hurdle, but there will be more – the fight continues!

The “Polo Fields” Development – UPDATE 9th October 2022

Decision date committee meeting is Monday 17th October – Please attend the meeting!

The meeting will be held at the COUNCIL CHAMBER – COUNCIL OFFICES (next to Alban Arena).
The case officer has RECOMMENDED REFUSAL of the application but it is up to the councillors on the committee to make a decision.

The case officer’s full report is available to view here :
Case Officer’s Report

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.

 

The “Polo Fields” Development – UPDATE 22nd September 2022

National Highways put a hold on the application decision to allow more time for them to assess the impact.
New decision date is 6th December 2022

 

In their response to the application they stated:

 

“NH are responsible for the monitoring, management, and maintenance of the SRN.
Within the vicinity of the proposed development, the primary junctions of interest to NH
are M25 Junction 21a to the south of the site, and the A414/North Orbital Road/ Watling
Street (‘Park Street’) Roundabout to the northeast of the site.

The proposed distribution of the development is assigned to be the following:

  • 30.3% travelling north to the A414 / N Orbital / Park Street Roundabout equating to
    89 and 73 two-way trips in the AM and PM peaks
  • 31.6% travelling south the M25 Junction equating to 94 and 76 two-way trips in the
    AM and PM peaks

Based on the findings of the trip generation assessment the Applicant needs to consider
the impact on the M25 Junction 21A and Park Street Roundabout in line with the Circular
02/2013, which may require a capacity assessment including a review of the likely
distribution.

At present there is no committed improvement scheme for the M25 Junction 21A, and
National Highways would request the applicant sets out the impact of the proposed
development on the SRN.

Consideration should be given to review the most recent five-year period of personal
injury collision (PIC) at the M25 Junction 21A and Park Street Roundabout, to ensure
there are no underlying highway issues which may be exacerbated by the proposed
development.

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 5/2021/3194

 


We Can stop our Green Belt from being taken away!