St Albans Council has revealed it is looking at the creation of a new Garden Village – on the site earmarked for a controversial Rail Freight depot.

The proposals for the Park Street Garden Village – on the site of the disused Radlett Aerodrome – are contained in the council’s new ‘working’ draft of the Local Plan.

They will be considered for the first time by councillors at Tuesday’s meeting of the  Council’s Planning Policy Committee. (May 22)

The draft Local Plan – which is still an early stage – sets out suggested planning policies and proposals for the future development of the area, until 2036.

Crucially it will have to include plans for “sufficient” housing – which has been set at an additional 14,608 new homes in St Albans.

That’s equivalent to 913 new homes each year.

Over the coming weeks the draft Local Plan will be considered by members of the Planning Policy Committee and by Cabinet, before being finalised by full council.

If agreed, there would then be a period of public consultation before the Local Plan is submitted to Government for approval.

According to this first ‘working’ draft of the new Local Plan, the Park Street Garden Village would include at least 2300 homes.

It would also include a substantial new Country Park, open spaces and a managed woodland, as well as a secondary school, two primary schools, recreational space and community facilities.

For commuters there would be and frequent public transport links to the Abbey Railway line and exploration into direct rail services to Euston.

But the proposed Garden Village is on land that developers Helioslough Ltd have already earmarked for the St Albans Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.

St Albans Council would have to look at the relative merits of the Rail Freight depot and the provision of additional housing as part of the process.

“In relation to the Park Street Garden Village Broad Location, this is a conditional allocation,” says the accompanying report.

“After legal advice, this allocation will be the subject of a fresh re-evaluation following the gathering of evidence on the relative merits and importance of delivering the site either for housing or the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange, for which it was found that there was a national need.

“This re-evaluation will include looking at alternative strategies which would deliver the identified housing elsewhere including options such as identifying a Housing Target for Neighbourhood Plan areas. ”

Although Helioslough Ltd have planning permission for the Strategic Rail Depot Interchange, the site is owned by Hertfordshire County Council, who have indicated they could make the site available for housing.

The Park Street Garden Village is just one of a number of ‘broad locations’ earmarked in the draft Local Plan for greater housing provision across St Albans.

At each location there would be a mix of housing types, including homes for first time buyers, for young families and downsizers, as well as provision for older people and people with special needs.

The council is aiming for 40 per cent of the new homes to be “affordable”.

At a site in East Hemel Hempstead (North) the draft Local Plan has earmarked the provision of at least 1650 homes, alongside schools, open space, managed woodland, countryside access and a new country park to create a permanent green buffer to Redbourn.

East Hemel Hempstead (South) could see 2400 dwellings, according to the draft Local Plan. There would be new neighbourhood centres, with recreation space and community facilities. And as well as local open space there would be a substantial new country park.

North Hemel Hempstead could see in excess of 1500 homes, open spaces, managed woodland and access to the countryside – with a country park providing a buffer to Redbourn.

At a site in East St Albans the council has earmarked space for at least 1250 new homes.

Here the plans would also include a new neighbourhood centre and recreation spaces, as well as upgrades to the transport network. The Mansion House building would remain and be repaired. And there would be a hydrotherapy pool.

In North St Albans a site has been earmarked for at least 1100 homes – including at least 10 houses that would be for local teachers to rent. There would be open spaces, recreation space, managed woodland and an upgraded transport network.

In North East Harpenden an area has been allocated for at least 760 new homes.

In North West Harpenden a site for at least 580 dwellings has been found, with transport upgrades planned, as well as improvements to walking and cycling facilities to promote car-free access to Harpenden town centre.

Land has been allocated for at least 440 homes at a location in West of London Colney. It includes recreation space and public open space, as well as transport network improvements.

Finally the draft Local Plan earmarks space for at least 365 homes to the West of Chiswell Green. The area would include recreation and public open and transport network upgrades.

In addition to the identified ‘broad location’ sites – which could account for more than 12,000 new homes – the draft Local Plan stresses the importance of small sites dotted around the borough as a source of housing supply.

In addition the ‘working’ draft Local Plan also highlights an area in East Hemel Hempstead (Central) as an Enviro Tech focused employment location, which could create 10,000 jobs over time.

According to the report, the draft Local Plan has been designed with the aim of building a thriving community, which is a great place to live and work and has a vibrant economy.

It says the Local Plan should have sufficient homes, workplaces and affordable housing, as well as appropriate retail, leisure and infrastructure. It also says it should enhance the natural, built and historic environment.

After consideration of the draft Local Plan on Tuesday, the Planning Policy Committee will consider a further draft of the Local Plan in June.

Their recommendations will then be made to the Council’s Cabinet – after which the draft Local Plan will be considered by a meeting of Full Council.