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GREEN LIGHT: Plans to build 160 new homes on Killingdown Farm in Croxley Green approved (VIDEO)

 Published on: 9th February 2022   |   By: Lizzie Ellis   |   Category: Uncategorized

Plans to build 160 new homes on farmland on Little Green Lane in Croxley Green have been approved, following an appeal by developers.

A government planning inspector has overturned the decision made by Three Rivers District Council last May to refuse the development at Killingdown Farm.

In a report published yesterday, on the 7th of February, planning inspector Adam Nunn said he recongised the impact the plans will have but said that the ‘adverse’ effects do not ‘outweigh’ the benefits of the scheme.

The decision will come as a disappointment to many Croxley residents, who have campaigned against the development with thousands signing a petition to ‘Save Little Green Lane’.

Dominic Sokalski, Three Rivers District Councillor, told CroxleyNews: “The decision is gutwrenching, it is bitterly disappointing. I would like to thank the residents who organised a fantastic campaign that really galvanised the community, they should be proud of their efforts to protect this picturesque corner of Croxley Green. 

“The next steps are to press on to try and get the rest of Little Green Lane closed and protected, to fight to save the green belt surrounding the fields, and to really hold the developers to account so the construction traffic doesn’t damage The Green.”

Barry Grant, Chairman of Croxley Green Residents Association said: “We are bitterly disappointed because when the Planning Inspector recommended removal of the site from the Green Belt for housing development a few years ago, he required this be done with sensitivity to the Conservation Area and he referenced a TRDC owned part of Grove Crescent as the primary point of access. 

“It would seem that TRDC didn’t press home these factors in pre-application meetings with the developer and that it was ultimately considered that public benefit would be best served by building luxury houses rather than conserving our heritage.”

Elaine Barkshire, a Little Green resident, said: “We have tried our hardest to protect this special corner of Croxley from being permanently lost to urbanisation – not just for ourselves but for everyone who enjoys it and the wildlife that lives here. 

“Future generations have now lost something special and huge disdain for the Croxley community’s voice has been shown by the powers that be. The David and Goliath story we were so hoping for has been crushed.”

Croxley Green Parish Council Chairman, Nigel Cole, said: “The Parish Council is, naturally, disappointed that, despite expert advice from our professional consultants and those from the district council, the Inspector, while acknowledging the harm caused by the planning application, has allowed the developers’ appeal.

“However we do acknowledge that in recognition of the depth of local feeling, the permission is now subject to conditions that will reduce some of the effects on the area. These conditions include: the ancient hedgerow on Little Green Lane will be retained at 5 metres; the footpath on Little Green Lane will be widened to ensure pedestrian safety; various measures will be taken to ensure biodiversity enhancements; electric car chargers, heat pumps and a high level of insulation will be incorporated in the construction and that the privacy of residents in existing properties will be protected from oversight.

“It is a sad fact, though, that despite our efforts this development will encroach on The Green and reduce the rural character of that part of Croxley Green.”

Councillor Margaret Hofman said: ”The decision by the Government is hard to take. Residents and Three Rivers Council made clear representations that the proposal would harm The Green Conservation Area. The Government in fact accepted the development would cause an ”adverse impact” from the use of Little Green Lane, ”inevitably erode the .. rural character” and that it would contravene many planning policies.

“However, in the end the Government felt the wider public benefit of 160 new houses off Little Green Lane outweighed the harm caused.

“I spoke at the Council Planning Committee twice to have this application refused. I am now pushing for the rest of Little Green Lane to be closed off and protected to preserve its rural nature for future generations.”

The land at Killingdown Farm covers approximately  7.5 hectares and the plans will see existing farm buildings demolished. The timescale of the development plans is not yet known.

Andy Hill, Hill Group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have been granted consent to develop 160 high-quality new homes in Croxley Green, helping to address the acute shortage of homes in the area. We are committed to building an outstanding community of well-designed, energy-efficient new homes, incorporating sustainable technology such as air-source heat pumps, which help to reduce carbon emissions significantly. Our plans also include biodiversity enhancements such as extensive new planting and habitat creation, resulting in a 10 per cent gain in biodiversity across the development. We aim to start construction in the summer.”

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