Medi Parc pro­test­ers look­ing for an­swers

Res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion or­gan­ise meet­ing fo­cus­ing on lat­est pro­posal

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Zoe Drewett zoe.drewett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

VIL­LAGERS look­ing for an­swers on the lat­est Medi Parc ap­pli­ca­tion should at­tend a group’s next meet­ing.

The 20-acre once popular un­of­fi­cial na­ture re­serve, next to Hare­field Hos­pi­tal, in Hill End Road, is ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment by care company Red and Yel­low, which hopes to build a ‘vil­lage’ spe­cial­is­ing in car­ing for peo­ple with de­men­tia.

The plan, sub­mit­ted to Hilling­don Coun­cil in Au­gust, is for a 405-home care cen­tre with a health and well­be­ing cen­tre, a com­mu­nity restau­rant, an arts ther­apy stu­dio and an ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre, with around 400 car park spa­ces, 230 cy­cle park spa­ces and land­scap­ing works, cre­at­ing around 500 jobs.

The Medi Parc land is in the green belt and is a site of spe­cial sci­en­tific in­ter­est and Hare­field Ten­ants’ and Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion (HTRA) ar­gues it should not be de­vel­oped and in­tends to fight the plan.

At its next monthly meet­ing, the HTRA has or­gan­ised a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment to at­tend so vil­lagers can ask ques­tions about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

HTRA sec­re­tary Wendy Rice-Mor­ley said peo­ple are wor­ried about the size.

She said: “It will be another vil­lage inside the cur­rent vil­lage, with still only one ac­cess road in and out of Hare­field.”

In 2012, the group led a bat­tle to stop the owner of the land, Comer Homes, build­ing lux­ury flats by try­ing, ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­fully, to des­ig­nate it as a vil­lage green.

Since then, Comer en­tered a deal with Red and Yel­low for the de­men­tia care vil­lage.

De­spite the green belt des­ig­na­tion, any land that has been de­vel­oped in the past can also be con­sid­ered ‘brown­field’, mak­ing it eas­ier to se­cure plan­ning ap­proval since there are fewer re­stric­tions.

Hare­field Hos­pi­tal built tem­po­rary hut wards on the land in the early 1900s, and Red and Yel­low’s plan­ners ar­gue the site is there­fore both brown­field and green belt.

In ad­di­tion, coun­cil pol­icy states the au­thor­ity will support de­vel­op­ment at the Medi Parc site for any med­i­cally-re­lated es­tab­lish­ment.

Peter Dines, plan­ning agent at Red and Yel­low, said in 2013: “The coun­cil’s pol­icy states that re­de­vel­op­ment for health pur­poses in the green belt area is ac­cept­able in prin­ci­ple as long as key con­sid­er­a­tions are met around is­sues like park­ing and land­scap­ing.”

The HTRA meet­ing about the Medi Parc plan will be at Park Lane Vil­lage Cen­tre, at­tached to Hare­field Li­brary, in Park Lane, Hare­field, on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 13 at 7.30pm.

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