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Fears rise over plans for school and housing development in Croxley Green

 Published on: 28th November 2013   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

The findings of a planning inspector will determine chances for a new secondary school and housing development in Croxley Green, villagers have been told. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) is pressing ahead with plans for a six to eight form entry secondary school in the district with Green Belt land north east of Baldwins Lane – currently a horse field – favoured for development. Residents were told at the Croxley Green Local Area Forum on November 26 that the plan was still in progression, with HCC chiefs waiting on a Planning Inspectorate ruling on the site’s suitability. Croxley Green South district councillor Phil Brading said that the idea was against the feelings and recommendations of Three Rivers District Council (TRDC). He said: “This horse field site is one that the HCC cabinet has moved to acquire in order to make provision for a new secondary school. HCC wants to do this, it is not what the district council or Croxley Green villagers want.” Town planners Vincent and Gorbing conducted a feasibility report on the site in September 2011, concluding that it is “suitable and deliverable” for a secondary school. This recommendation came despite serious concerns that the site is not big enough to include the school and necessary playing fields, with the suggestion that former Durrants School playing fields could be used remotely. The report read: “The topography of the site would severely constrain the potential of providing the full requirement of playing fields on the site; terracing of the site would be expensive and the visual impact would be unacceptable; playing fields would need to be restricted to the flatter parts of the site adjacent to the school buildings and any deficit made up through detached provision (Durrants).” As well as a new secondary school, there are fears that sections of the site will be sold for housing. Currently a large majority of the land is owned by London Underground Limited, a subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), with the body intent on maximising the worth of the valuable land. HCC intends to prevent this from occurring by pushing through a compulsory purchase of the entire site from TfL and partial owner Rousebarn Investments Company Limited, though there are fears that the county council may seek to sell surplus land on the site for the same purpose down the line. Currently the county council is in the “early stages” of negotiations with both TfL and Rousebarn Investments Company Limited. HCC cabinet member for education, Chris Hayward, told My Croxley News that the plan was to “meet the rising demand for secondary school places in south west Hertfordshire”. He said: “In order to be as prepared as possible, we plan to purchase the land north-east of Baldwins Lane. We are working with the landowners to ensure they get a fair price for their land and hope we can reach an agreement without the need for compulsory purchase orders. We have looked in detail at other sites, but this one will best meet our needs for a possible new school, especially given its proximity to Watford.” Read more in December’s My Croxley News magazine        

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