Proposals to build a new football stadium and other facilities at Bushey Hall Golf Club (BHGC) were rejected by Hertsmere Borough Council planning officers last night (Thursday, June 17).
Earlier this year, documents unveiled plans for a huge complex at the BHGC site, including a new Watford FC 33,000 capacity stadium along with a 6,000 seater arena and other facilities.
The planning committee meeting, chaired by Councillor Linda Silver, voted to uphold the Tree Protection Order (TPO) for Bushey Hall Golf Club.
The decision means that the greenbelt status of BHGC will remain until at least 2034. BHGC owners, Veladail Leisure, along with Watford FC, had put the site forward for acceptance in the borough’s new Local Plan.
A spokesperson for Hertsmere Borough Council said: “Ross Whear, our Head of Planning, in an answer to a query, advised the planning committee that the land at Bushey Hall Golf Club which has been proposed by the landowner as a new employment site did not meet the definition of ‘employment’, as set out in our existing plan.
“The land was submitted by the landowner in response to our call for employment sites for inclusion in our new Local Plan. The submission showed a multi-phased, mixed-use development, including provision of a new sports stadium.
“In our existing plan, employment is defined as uses which support economic development, in the form of offices, industrial, storage and distribution and other employment activities. Our new Local Plan will guide development and influence how the borough changes through the pandemic and over the next 15 years.”
Lib Dem Councillor Paul Richards said: “This is a victory for the people of Bushey. Our community has been saved from a disastrous scheme which we have fought against from the very start. I would like to thank planning officers for their hard work and good judgment in assessing this bid. But this outcome is due in great part to the spirit and determination of Bushey residents, who opposed the stadium with such tenacity and resolve.”
Over 6,000 residents signed a petition titled ‘Say NO, to Watford FC building its new stadium on green belt land in Bushey’ when speculation about the site began last year.
Conservative Councillor Harry Mortimer said: “Bushey Conservatives would like to thank the six thousand plus people who signed our petition, which helped our Councillors voice the importance that this didn’t progress any further, this is great news for us and the members of our community.”