Plans for nine supported living dwellings on the edge of a village have been refused by councillors.

Dimensions, which provides support for people with learning disabilities and autism, had applied to build the development of bungalows, flats and staff facilities, in Bricket Wood, which would sit around a central communal garden.

But on Monday (January 6) members of St Albans District Council’s planning committee refused to approve the plans for the Station Road site.

At the meeting, councillors were told that there was a shortage of supported housing in the area and that the development would significantly improve the lives of residents and their families.

But councillors highlighted concerns about the level of detail in the application, particularly relating to the tenure of the properties.

Committee vice chairman Cllr Rob Prowse, who chaired the meeting, said he believed the committee would like to be able to approve the application.

But he said he believed the committee needed further information from the applicants on exactly the intended use, if they were to be able to grant the application.

To be approved, all developments in the green belt need to be deemed to meet “special circumstances”.

Without this additional information, some councillors suggested they could not determine whether the development demonstrated special circumstances.

Chris Woodhead, director of housing and business development at Dimensions, said, "Our application, with supporting evidence from the county council, shows that this small development of affordable rented social housing will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people stuck in long stay hospitals to get out.

"Dimensions believes passionately that people with autism and learning disabilities deserve the same chance as anyone else to lead an ordinary life and so we are deeply disappointed at the committee’s rejection of our proposal. We are reviewing our options but are prepared to appeal if necessary."