Local Plan consultation

The Council have now issued the first draft of their Local Plan for comment.

The plan, which if approved will run from 2026 to 2041, sets out the overall framework within which planning decisions will be made, covering issues such as housing, employment transport and environmental issues.

We are looking at, and planning to comment on particular issues that affect our area, such as: 

  • the lack of community facilities and services (eg we have no local GP, dentist of community centre)
  • the poor provision of public transport
  • the high levels of traffic on King Harry Lane and Watford Road, and the congestion at the King Harry roundabout
  • the protection of our green spaces

And to object, in the strongest possble terms to the fact that Bedmond Lane Field has been identified as a possible site for housing.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife trust have already submitted extensive and detailed objections which you can read here .

Your views on any of these issueas, or anything else included in the plan should have to be submitted by 25 September  via an online questionnaire. For details see https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/new-local-plan where the whole plan can be accessed.

Comments about Bedmond Lane Field should be entered in section “Appendix 1– Site Allocations” and should refer to site M3 Bedmond Lane.

Help save our green spaces

As you may have already seen, the green spaces on the estate are coming up for auction.

The first lot is land to the south west of King Harry Lane, covering 15.26 acres including highway, paths, verges and what are described as “parcels of land with development potential subject to planning”.

The land is situated in and around Mayne Avenue, Samian Gate, Flavian Close, Icknield Close, Glevum Close, Hadrian Close, Lindum Place, Augustus Close, Claudian Place, Antonine Gate and Ermine Close.

The second lot is 4.11 acres in and around Windridge Close, Westfields, Deva Close, Dubrae Close, Rowlatt Drive, Mayne Avenue and Corinium Gate.

Maps of the land to be sold are on the auction website.

This is the land which was retained by Davies Homes when they built the estate but which is now to be sold.

We have been in regular touch with our district and county councillors and have urged them to urge Herts County Council (HCC) and St Albans District Council (SADC) to purchase the land and, if this is not possible, to do everything they can to preserve it from development, whoever ends up owning it.

We believe that this could be achieved if Herts County Council designate all the land up for sale as highways land, which they would then control.

All of the land up for sale, verges, green spaces and all, has been maintained for many years by Herts Highways (and SADC under contract to them) as part of the highway realm. As such, it has been protected from development. This must continue. A clear statement from HCC saying that this will continue would reassure residents and remove any possible misunderstandings about the status of the land.

So please contact Cllr Phil Bibby (address details below) HCC Executive Member, Highways and Transport, explaining how important our green spaces are and urging him to make clear that ALL of the land for sale is part of the highway realm and so protected from development.

Cllr Phil Bibby
Members Support Office
County Hall
Pegs Lane
Hertford SG13 8DE

email : phil.bibby@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Volunteers wanted

The VRA is looking for new committee members. Requirements are not too onerous. You should be able to attend 4 or 5 committee meetings a year and help out at the AGM (10th may this year!). An occasional action may come your way out of the meetings. If you’re a civic minded individual (which of course you are) with a small amount of time to spare we’d love to hear from you. Please send us a message via the contact form.

Bedmond Lane Field Development

We have just heard that Banner Homes’s planning application to build stables on Bedmond Lane Field, originally considered at a planning committee meeting in March, will now be considered again at a planning committee meeting, open to the public, on Monday 12 September, starting at 7 pm, at the Civic Centre.

We don’t yet know whether the council planners will recommend approval or rejection of the application. The VRA will continue to argue that the application should be rejected. As soon as we have more information we will let you know, but in the meantime please put this date in your diaries.

Archived news

Annual General Meeting

The 2015 Annual General Meeting will take place at Prae Wood School on Thursday 14 May starting at 7.30pm. This is your opportunity to find out more about what is going on in our community and what the VRA is doing. Drinks will be available from 7.00pm
1. Welcome, Introduction and Apologies for absence

2. Presentation by Transition St Albans www.transitionstalbans.org about their neighbourhood scheme, Transition Streets, and also about their work on energy saving, home grown food and zero waste.

3. To approve Minutes of Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 10 April 2014 and to discuss any matters arising from the Minutes.

4. Chairman`s Report.

5. Treasurer`s Report

6. To approve amended Constitution (a final copy of our updated constitution taking into account the helpful comments that were made by residents at last year’s meeting is available here

7. Election of Officers

8. Any other business and Question and Answer session.

9. Closing remarks.

Banner Homes’ appeal

The Verulam Residents Association is very pleased to hear that Banner Homes’ appeal against St Albans Council’s decision to list Bedmond Lane Field as an asset of community value has been dismissed.

We note with particular interest the Judge’s remark that “it is not fanciful, given the history of the Field, to think that Banner Homes may well conclude that their relations with the local community will be best served by restoring the status quo or by entering into some form of licence arrangement with the Residents’ Association or similar grouping.” Even though we cannot be sure that we have come to the end of the legal process we very much hope that this will provide the basis for a positive way forward.

The Spring Newsletter is now available. Please click here to read it in full

Bedmond Lane Field – appeal against refusal of planning permission

For more information on Banner Homes’ appeal, please click here.

Bedmond Lane ACV appeal

Banner Homes’ further appeal against St Albans District Council’s decision to list Bedmond Lane Field as an asset of community value will take place at Court 7, Field House, 15 Breams Buildings, London EC4A 1DZ on Wednesday 4th March, starting at 2pm and expected to last half a day.

This hearing, which will be chaired by a judge, will not consider any new evidence. The main focus will be on legal arguments about how the Council came to its decision at the first hearing, which took place at the Civic Centre last September.

Barristers will speak on behalf of both Banner Homes and the Council. The VRA has been working closely with the Council as they prepare for the hearing. Members of the committee will attend but, given that the hearing will largely consist of legal arguments, we are not expecting to speak.

All of the evidence we presented at the first hearing, including the statement we made then, has been carried forward to the appeal and we have also submitted a new written statement, responding to the arguments put forward by Banner Homes in their appeal against the Council’s original decision.

The hearing is open to the public. Breams Buildings (which is a street and not a building) runs between Chancery Lane and New Fetter Lane, and is about 10 minutes’ walk from City Thameslink Station.

We have been told that there is limited accommodation for members of the public in the court and a seat cannot be guaranteed. As at the first hearing, there will be no opportunity for members of the public to speak.

It is very unlikely that any decision will be made or announced on the day.

We are sorry for the short notice, but we have only just received the final details about the hearing.

Current consultations being undertaken by SADC

St Albans City and District Council publishes all its current consultations on its website. You can view them here. Current consultations include parking in the district and the future of the bus services.

New Bus Service Consultation

Herts County Council are running a consultation on the county’s Bus Service. Their new proposals would save approximately £1.471m from the current bus budget by withdrawing funding from contracted services that run after 7:30pm and services on Sundays, except for routes which go directly to hospitals which would run until 7.30pm. Click on this link to view the consultation: Bus Service Consultation.

Where to build new homes?

The Draft Strategic Local Plan is now open for consultation. You are invited to view it and make comments between: 10/10/14 11:00 and 23/11/14 17:00. Please make your voice heard , click on this link:
…planning_policy/dslp2014 or read more…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Archived AGM news

Invitation to Annual General Meeting 2013

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The association’s Annual General Meeting for this year will be held at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 7th May 2013 in the hall at Prae Wood School.

1. Tribute to Bob Hooper
2. Apologies for absence
3. Minutes of AGM 28th April 2012
4. Matters arising from those minutes
5. Presentation by Waitrose St. Albans

‘An insight to behind the scenes at Waitrose St. Albans and possible future developments’ presented by Waitrose Partners David Ross, Manager Fresh and Matt Johnson, Department Manager Retail

6. Localism and the VRA

Council Officer Carl Cheevers will explain the new Localism initiative and how we could become involved in managing local features such as St. Stephens Avenue Park

7. Chairman’s Report
8. Constitutional amendment

(1) That paragraph 7 of the Constitution of the Association be amended to provide for the quorum at meetings of the Committee to be reduced from six to four.
(2) That previous meetings of the Committee at which a quorum of members was not present nevertheless be regarded as constitutionally quorate and decisions and resolutions taken and passed at such meetings be accepted and the same hereby are retrospectively validated.

9. Treasurer’s Report
10. Election of Officers
11. Any other business

Do join us for a complimentary drink at 7.00pm.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The association’s Annual General Meeting for this year will be held at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 7th May 2013 in the hall at Prae Wood School. Details of the agenda, including guest speakers, will be circulated nearer the date.

Bob Hooper
We are sad to report the sudden death of Bob Hooper in January. Bob worked so hard as Ward Coordinator for Neighbourhood Watch and as a member of our VRA Committee; we really miss him and the contribution he made to our community.

Your committee
The committee is low in numbers; we now have only six members so if only one is absent we do not have a quorum. We must appoint three officers – Chairman, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer – at the AGM. We need at least four other members, one of whom may fill the role of Membership Secretary. With the advent of Localism (see next paragraph) this is more important than ever. Volunteer by telephoning a current committee member or in person at the AGM.

The committee, especially Jack Wheatley, has been keeping up with the evolution of Localism in the St Albans District Council. It is clear that Residents’ Associations such as ours are going to play a key role as part of the new City Neighbourhoods Committee (CNC) . We anticipate that the Verulam Residents’ Association will be upgraded to a Neighbourhood Forum and we will be a full member of the CNC. This will surely require a proportional increase in time and commitment. The Neighbourhood Forum will be very much more influential than the Residents Association, so members can look forward to a much more exciting role in Local Government than was offered by the VRA in recent years.

Barrie Mort
A small Walnut tree has been planted in Westfields, opposite Pauline Mort’s home. We will erect a plaque with Barrie’s name on, once the tree has become established.

More help wanted
We would still like some volunteers to help distribute our newsletters and optionally to collect subscriptions each spring. You’d only be asked to cover one or two roads. Many hands make light work.

Bus Stops
We are told that the bus shelter scheduled for Mayne Avenue opposite Ermine Close last April, has now been ordered and the council officer is awaiting a build date! The association has meanwhile been storing a bench for the bus stop opposite Augustus Close.

King Harry Lane footpath
The “Chairman’s Petition” to widen the footpath along King Harry Lane was formally received by the council in May 2012 and we received notice that the chairman will be invited to present the case to the Highways Joint Panel. No date has yet been given.

The Strategic Rail Freight Interchange for Radlett Aerodrome just won’t die, will it? Be sure to make your views known at every stage; keep a bookmark (add to favourites) on the Herts Direct petitions page https://consult.hertsdirect.org/petitions/ and remember that every adult in your household can sign.

Mobile Library
Please also remember that we still have a Mobile Library service from HCC; it isn’t publicised on the SADC web site. You’ll find it in the road outside Prae Wood School on alternate Wednesdays between 13:45-16:00. It may be a case of “use it or lose it”?

St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme
The scheme is always seeking new volunteers. You choose the days you want to help and how often.
Duty Officers work from home, typically one day a month, answering our Helpline to match up clients with volunteers. Telephone expenses are paid and training provided. A friendly manner, legible handwriting and a desire to help others are all you need.
Drivers accompany local residents to medical and other appointments. Mileage allowance paid.
Our volunteers also do shopping, collect prescriptions, do odd jobs round the home and visit lonely people on a regular basis.
SAGNS has been helping the local community for 32 years and would appreciate your assistance in order to continue making a difference to the lives of our local residents. Please call 830713, or visit our website, www.sagns.org, for more details and an application form.

Get online this spring
Spring Online is a campaign by Digital Unite, a registered charity which helps people learn about and use computers, the internet and other modern technology. More than 2,000 free digital taster events are held across the UK each year for Spring Online. This year the campaign runs from 22nd to 26th April. The events take place in a wide variety of venues and are run by volunteers: individuals and organisations that are passionate about digital technology and keen to make a difference in their communities. Help a friend or relative to get started at http://digitalunite.com/spring-online and read about events in and around St Albans.

The Marlborough Science Academy
The Academy is looking to recruit volunteers for the Governing Body.
If there are any residents who feel they could give up a few hours of their time per month, usually Thursday evenings during the school year, to support the local academy and would like further information please contact Les Hull on 01727 839887 or, if you prefer, contact the academy directly on 01727 856874.

Fellas Fitness
If you are male, over 50 and looking for regular exercise then go to Greenwood Park every Tuesday morning from 8.30am – 9.30am. Under the guidance of a fully qualified fitness instructor, the fellas undertake a variety of exercises to improve health and well being. Each session is only £3.50, Enquiries to Joe Capon at Herts Sports Partnership on 01707 281004.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at 7.30 pm on Friday 28th April 2012 in the hall at Prae Wood School are stored as a PDF here

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The Association’s Annual General Meeting for this year will be held on Friday 27th April 2012 in the hall at Prae Wood School. The meeting will commence at 7.30 pm and the committee invite members to join them for refreshments from 7.00 pm.


1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the AGM held on Friday 8 April 2011.
3. Matters arising from the minutes
4. Guest Speakers
5. Chairman’s Report
6. Treasurer’s Report
7. Membership Secretary’s Report
8. Neighbourhood Watch Report
9. Election of Officers
10. Any Other Business