Many people who had visited the Shenley exhibition earlier in the day said that the Parish Council meeting was much more informative. The meeting clearly opposed the HGV and the site with its 6,000 homes, displayed within a map taken from developer proposals including an employment hub at the Bell roundabout.
The meeting was put in context by Council Chairman Malcolm MacMillan, who explained that the statutory consultation would not take place until next autumn: a decision was likely to be agreed in 2021, if the site remained as a proposal.
Cllr MacMillan added; “This is not a sprint, as one or two people might have you believe; it is a case of responding to each stage. The current phase is an ‘engagement’ – more a marketing exercise – but the Parish Council will do all it can to mobilise a maximum village response, that is appropriate for each phase. We need to work together to ensure that we leave behind a legacy where future generations can say they did their very best.”
Mary Maynard, St Albans Cabinet member for planning, said that St Albans council would express concerns about the use of green belt without meriting special circumstances. Lack of infrastructure would also be a firm objection as the M25 was not intended for local journeys. Cllr Maynard said that due to pressure from the Parish Council and SADC, a Hertsmere leaflet on the current phase was distributed in the village.
Cllr Dreda Gordon told the meeting that the Parish Council would challenge Hertsmere ‘all the way’ with its false claims about support for the HGV; we are already preparing for the statutory consultation along with the Colney Heath Parish Council. Among her many concerns was the “gridlock we will face on our bypass which will lead to our High Street being at a stand-still; it’s bad enough at present”
Many comments were made by residents about existing infrastructure being unable to cope with existing demands: this was addressed by Cllr Katherine Gardiner who said ‘any development that take places in future must have infrastructure issues addressed at the start and built into an approved scheme, rather than at its conclusion’ She stressed her opposition to HGV.