Hertfordshire villagers voice fears over Harry Potter star Rupert Grint's eco-homes plan

Picture of rupert grint and village sign
Rupert Grint has owned the property since 2009.

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint wants to build his own "green" village in the countryside, despite residents' fears his project could destroy woodland.

Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the film franchise, and his family have asked North Herts Council for permission to build 15 new homes on their Kimpton Grange estate, between Harpenden and Codicote.

According to the government’s Land Registry, Mr Grint, 34, bought the estate in 2009 and is the registered owner.

The planning application submitted to North Herts Council includes a design for six apartments in the existing building, with five sustainable new-builds and four affordable homes.

The developer claims the proposal will enable "sustainable building from construction to day-to-day running".

An artists impression of The Lodge at Kimpton Grange after development. Credit: Clear Architects/North Herts Council

Neighbours in Kimpton fear new buildings in existing woodland and grassland could see habitats in the green belt for bats, frogs, stag beetles and red kites destroyed.

Davina Malcolm of Kimpton Environmentalists, who has lived in the village for 41 years, said: "I have no problem with what they are going to do with The Lodge and the buildings which are already on the site.

"I also have no problem with new homes in the village, and they won’t necessarily destroy views from the village. But the point of the green belt is that nature is allowed to recover and that nature gets its own space."

Ms Malcolm's home backs onto the Kimpton Grange estate, said "hundreds" of frogs migrate between the site and the field opposite her home twice each year.

Davina Malcolm, Kimpton Environmentalists Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS

She said red kites nest in the trees on the hillside but lamented she has seen a decline in the jackdaw population in recent years.

"We need more woodland and more wild spaces," she said.

“If they press ahead with the development, they will need to replace as many trees as possible, but it could take 20 years or more for these trees to grow into mature habitats.”

The council ran an online consultation about the development which ended last week.

Some of the comments revealed how locals are feeling about the project with one resident writing that he had lived in Kimpton for 86 years.

He urged the local authority "not disturb this area of very important natural habitation".

Another said: "There cannot be any possible justification for a development of 15 residential units on a site located in the green belt and in a conservation area.”

However, another resident in support of the project described it as "an exciting new era for the Grange" and "sympathetic to the environment".

The developer has carried out bat and newt surveys.

Surveyors found no great crested newts in the existing waterscape but claimed the plans could benefit amphibians should they arrive in the future.

Pipistrelle bats were found at the site, and a report recommends that bat boxes are integrated into the buildings throughout the project.

North Herts Council aims to rule on the application in January 2023.

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