TRIUMPHANT residents were celebrating on Monday night (29) after acrimonious plans to build 160 homes on Green Belt land in Croxley Green were rejected.

Proposals earmarked for Killingdown Farm, in Little Green Lane – announced last autumn as part of a wider scheme to meet national government housing targets – attracted more than 1,300 objections during a local consultation.

The Gazette reported last week how residents expressed concern about the local infrastructure becoming stretched to breaking point, with education, roads, public transport and medical services being among the worst hit.

A recently published summary of responses found that 1,361 residents opposed the plans – the equivalent of 91 per cent – with 136 in favour.

Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) has carried out three major public consultations since 2006 under the banner of a local development framework plan.

Last year, 30 homes were initially proposed on the Killingdown Farm site, but this was increased to 160 after a request from the landowner.

But at a meeting of TRDC's executive committee on Monday night, it was agreed that, in light of widespread opposition, the previous, smaller option would go ahead.

Chairman of the Croxley Green Residents Association, Barry Grant, acknowledged the result was a victory, but insisted the fight was not yet over.

He said: "Common sense has prevailed and the figures speak for themselves – not only was there a huge majority against the development, but there were very good planning reasons not to proceed with the option of 160 homes.

"The farm is on the edge of our community and if you allow large-scale building there, where does it stop?"

"Unfortunately, a large percentage of the district is Green Belt and new homes have to go somewhere.

"However, I don't think the landowner will give up easily and an enquiry takes takes place, we will carry on fighting."

Under draft plans produced by the East of England Regional Assembly, Three Rivers must plan to accommodate 4,000 of 71,300 homes in Hertfordshire between 2011 and 2031.

Councillor Ann Shaw, leader of TRDC, said: "None of us enjoy setting down and finding sites for development – we have had no choice, we are being dictated to by government."

The committee said it does not plan to re-consider previously rejected sites but will hold another consultation within a year on other potential sites.

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