St Albans City FC co-owner, John McGowan, 'ready to take a step forward' to build on former Radlett airfield

St Albans & Harpenden Review: John McGowan. John McGowan.

The co-owner of St Albans City Football Club said he would be ready to submit a planning application for a stadium and 6,000 new homes on Radlett Airfield within two weeks.

John McGowan said a major land developer, who did not want to be named, had stepped forward with up to £17 million for the scheme.

Hertfordshire County Council deferred its sale of the land to Helioslough, which was hoping to build a strategic rail freight terminal on the site, on Monday.

A St Albans county councillor has warned the Saints’ scheme, along with another proposed by prospective parliamentary candidate Kerry Pollard, may "open the door" for the rail terminal.

Liberal Democrat Sandy Walkington said: "Everyone would prefer, if the site is going to be developed, for housing to be built there rather than a freight terminal.

"But the one major argument against this strategic, national piece of infrastructure is that the site is on Green Belt."

Mr McGowan said the football club would be ready to put in outline planning permission within the next two weeks, for 6,000 homes and a new stadium.

He said: "We are happy to make an application to the local authority as an alternative scheme as we believe this could be the best option to knock the current developers off any thought of building a new rail site."

The club has been struggling with its aging infrastructure in Clarence Park, and earlier this week described the situation as "unviable".

Mr McGowan said: "I spent the entire day on Tuesday with a major land developer who has stated they will support me with a joint bid to match Helioslough's offer.

"We understand the offer is 10 times the county valuation of £1.7 million, i.e £17 million, subject to outline planning.

"I’m ready to take a step forward, I can make an application in two weeks for outline planning permission.

"I need the green light from people. I need positive people saying they can get us into meetings and help us push this through committees."

The development would fulfil a sizable chunk of St Albans District Council’s obligation to build 12,000 new homes by 2031.

Dreda Gordon, Labour councillor for The Colneys, said: "St Albans has a target of 11,000 homes to build and the council is looking at Green Belt sites. There is a huge housing shortage and we have to provide these homes.

"St Albans City Football Club is in desperate need of a new site, and they have looked long and hard throughout the district.

"This is a Green Belt site, which needs to be taken into consideration, but if this is a solution to that problem then I would support it."

Councillor Walkington added: "Everybody knows that at some stage housing needs to be build, young people need somewhere to live.

"The football club does need a new home, Clarence Park is very run down. It’s too small and it’s not in the right place.

"It’s in a listed park in a residential area, so it’s very difficult to see how it could be improved. I admire the ambition that the owners are bringing to the club."

Comments (10)

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2:55pm Wed 11 Dec 13

_srcn_ says...

I would take housing over a rail freight terminal any day as there is such a shortage, but will this actually be affordable housing for the people that need it most? Or will it be more "luxury apartments" for the well-off just to fill a housing quota... And do we really value the Green Belt, or will principles give way for money eventually as they always do? Tough one.
I would take housing over a rail freight terminal any day as there is such a shortage, but will this actually be affordable housing for the people that need it most? Or will it be more "luxury apartments" for the well-off just to fill a housing quota... And do we really value the Green Belt, or will principles give way for money eventually as they always do? Tough one. _srcn_

4:42pm Wed 11 Dec 13

mikex says...

As an alternative to the Rail Freight development housing is ok, but only if it is planned correctly- including amenities such as schools,shops,doctor
's surgery, village hall etc and it must include walking and cycling routes to local towns. A new station wouldn't go amiss either..

A new garden village for the area, properly done, would take some of the housing pressure off existing settlements but a car-dominated drmitory would be almost as bad as the Rail Freight plans.
As an alternative to the Rail Freight development housing is ok, but only if it is planned correctly- including amenities such as schools,shops,doctor 's surgery, village hall etc and it must include walking and cycling routes to local towns. A new station wouldn't go amiss either.. A new garden village for the area, properly done, would take some of the housing pressure off existing settlements but a car-dominated drmitory would be almost as bad as the Rail Freight plans. mikex

8:27pm Wed 11 Dec 13

gertcha says...

There used to be a station at Napsbury
There used to be a station at Napsbury gertcha

8:32pm Wed 11 Dec 13

gertcha says...

A new station would provide transport links to any new devolpment, London Colney and relieve pressure off the City station

The site is big enough to keep a considerable area of green spaces that can be used and would be more sighly than the current overgrown area

Road links can come from M25, A414, it's a very flat area so cycle routes could be linked with current ones

As a life-long St Albans resident and supporter of the football club we need to build houses for local people as well as private ones and I look forward to the football club being the centre of the community as all football clubs should be
A new station would provide transport links to any new devolpment, London Colney and relieve pressure off the City station The site is big enough to keep a considerable area of green spaces that can be used and would be more sighly than the current overgrown area Road links can come from M25, A414, it's a very flat area so cycle routes could be linked with current ones As a life-long St Albans resident and supporter of the football club we need to build houses for local people as well as private ones and I look forward to the football club being the centre of the community as all football clubs should be gertcha

8:57am Thu 12 Dec 13

lovffc says...

Affordable housing and I mean affordable not just 10 houses on a private est and then charge massive rent.
Affordable housing and I mean affordable not just 10 houses on a private est and then charge massive rent. lovffc

10:37am Thu 12 Dec 13

cummingam says...

6000 houses, average of 2 cars per house, plus deliveries etc must equate to at least 15,000 vehicle movements per day (more on match days!)

Compare this with 3,200 lorries movements per day for the rail feight option (plus staff coming and going etc).

For road congestion I am not sure the housing plan would be better than the rail feight.
6000 houses, average of 2 cars per house, plus deliveries etc must equate to at least 15,000 vehicle movements per day (more on match days!) Compare this with 3,200 lorries movements per day for the rail feight option (plus staff coming and going etc). For road congestion I am not sure the housing plan would be better than the rail feight. cummingam

5:08pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Snorbans dave says...

Cummingam has got this right - 6000 houses, affordable or not would be a traffic disaster 6000 houses is twice the size of London Colney, 3 times the size of Park Street or a quarter of the size of St Albans!!!

As for the poll question - a wonderful example of the 'when did you stop beating your wife' style.

Strife's legal opinion clearly indicated that HCC do not need to sell. The District's independent study said that this should not be considered for release from the Green Belt - Housing as an alternative to Railfreight is nothing but a red herring in a Trojan horse!
Cummingam has got this right - 6000 houses, affordable or not would be a traffic disaster 6000 houses is twice the size of London Colney, 3 times the size of Park Street or a quarter of the size of St Albans!!! As for the poll question - a wonderful example of the 'when did you stop beating your wife' style. Strife's legal opinion clearly indicated that HCC do not need to sell. The District's independent study said that this should not be considered for release from the Green Belt - Housing as an alternative to Railfreight is nothing but a red herring in a Trojan horse! Snorbans dave

10:18pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Gary_B says...

When I heard that there were potential plans for homes or a new stadium instead of the Rail Freight Terminal, I thought that might not be so bad - a stadium might mean a few traffic problems on match days, or a few hundred houses might do the same during the rush hour. When I heard that it was a stadium PLUS 6000 houses, I was completely gobsmacked. I initially thought the 6000 was a misprint and it should have been 600. How can anyone possibly believe that the local roads can cope? The main objection to the Rail Freight Terminal for most people is the chaos it will cause on local roads. An alternative development of this size will cause exactly the same problems. Has nobody involved in proposing all of this actually taken a look at the massive queues on the A414 and surrounding roads every rush hour? The roads to the M1 through Bricket Wood would become a rat run for motorists and wreck that area too. This would become worse if the proposed development for 167 houses on the HSBC site goes ahead.
When I heard that there were potential plans for homes or a new stadium instead of the Rail Freight Terminal, I thought that might not be so bad - a stadium might mean a few traffic problems on match days, or a few hundred houses might do the same during the rush hour. When I heard that it was a stadium PLUS 6000 houses, I was completely gobsmacked. I initially thought the 6000 was a misprint and it should have been 600. How can anyone possibly believe that the local roads can cope? The main objection to the Rail Freight Terminal for most people is the chaos it will cause on local roads. An alternative development of this size will cause exactly the same problems. Has nobody involved in proposing all of this actually taken a look at the massive queues on the A414 and surrounding roads every rush hour? The roads to the M1 through Bricket Wood would become a rat run for motorists and wreck that area too. This would become worse if the proposed development for 167 houses on the HSBC site goes ahead. Gary_B

8:54am Tue 17 Dec 13

gertcha says...

An average of 2 cars per house? I can only assume cummingam is one of the new breed of St Albanian, it certainly wasn't like this in the 70s when we had plenty of house building and expansion

The idea is to ensure the infrustructre is there so people won't need to move the 12000 cars every morning between 7am and 9am, so that's schools, a station, shops etc, cycle paths so people don't need to drive

Wouldn't worry too much about matchday traffic, only 280 hearty souls braved the rain for last nights win v Bashley
An average of 2 cars per house? I can only assume cummingam is one of the new breed of St Albanian, it certainly wasn't like this in the 70s when we had plenty of house building and expansion The idea is to ensure the infrustructre is there so people won't need to move the 12000 cars every morning between 7am and 9am, so that's schools, a station, shops etc, cycle paths so people don't need to drive Wouldn't worry too much about matchday traffic, only 280 hearty souls braved the rain for last nights win v Bashley gertcha

10:19am Tue 17 Dec 13

_srcn_ says...

Might visit the football club more if I didn't have to pay 12 quid for a ticket. I am guessing a new stadium means that price will go up, too ;) However I agree with Gertcha that infrastructure needs to be adequate for any new housing plans, so that maybe it could actually help ease some of the heavy rush hour traffic on the roads.
Might visit the football club more if I didn't have to pay 12 quid for a ticket. I am guessing a new stadium means that price will go up, too ;) However I agree with Gertcha that infrastructure needs to be adequate for any new housing plans, so that maybe it could actually help ease some of the heavy rush hour traffic on the roads. _srcn_

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