Tesco's plans for London Road

First published in Your Say St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

Representatives of Tesco’s development arm, Spen Hill, this week took me on a personal tour of the old Eversheds site on London Road, where they’re planning to build a large development of homes.

They’re keen to keep me involved of course, as the best laid plans of developers, no matter how big the supermarket behind them, can always come unstuck once councillors start picking at them in committee (Look what happened when Tesco tried to build a supermarket on the site.) But it works both ways: the more we find out about the plans before they’re finalised, the more chance there is to influence them for the better.

And the plans have already improved. The developers have taken on board several of the negative comments made by people who saw the early version. In particular: * The total number of homes is down from 114 to 88.

* Instead of less than one parking space per home, there is now one per home, with half a dozen visitor spaces.

* Gone is the line of modern maisonettes proposed for Inkerman Road. Instead there will be a terrace of three-bed cottages, echoing the existing housing.

Work to renovate properties in Alma Road and Inkerman Road has already begun. Hoardings are going up this week to cover up the blighted properties in London Road, which will become flats with retail or restaurant units on the ground floor. All that work, round the edges of the main site, will probably take about nine further months.

Spen Hill are aiming to put in final planning applications for the main development plus the terrace on Inkerman Road, in early November. All the committee hearings, negotiations and legal work will probably take until the summer. Then, if the Council gives the go-ahead, the building work itself would take about 15 months.

I’ve encouraged Spen Hill to put the new plans on display, so everyone can take a look. The new scale model will soon be available for viewing at the Council. If you have a particular question, do get in touch with me, or you can contact the developers through their project website - www.thelondonroadproject.co.uk

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