PLANS to build a village medical centre and five "luxury" houses at a Bricket Wood naturist colony have been submitted to St Albans District Council.

However, the proposed development on Green Belt land at Five Acres Country Club would not benefit villagers, according to resident Mr David Parry.

He claims the medical centre would be too far away for most residents and was being used as a sweetener in an attempt to push through planning permission for housing.

If the proposal by Cala Homes Ltd got the go-ahead, the site could lose its Green Belt status, he added.

He said: "This has been a naturist site for many years and there is still strong demand for the club."

A similar application for seven dwellings and a medical centre on the site was turned down in 2000 by the Secretary of State.

Mr Parry added: "They looked at the medical centre issue but its position was such that it was not suitable for the vast majority of Bricket Wood residents because it is very much out on a limb, on the edge of the village.

"It would be of most use for elderly residents, who are mostly concentrated at the other end of the village."

Bricket Wood Residents' Association (BWRA) planning leader Anne Mortem said the plans were up for discussion but recalled controversy over the previous application at Five Acres.

She said: "The Secretary of State's decision against it was very strong. He said that although a medical centre would be nice, there was no need for it.

"Last time, the residents' association's stance was that this was turning what was sensitive Green Belt land into a housing estate."

Mr Parry speculated that the applicants had reduced the number of planned houses to five in order to replace five caravans which are currently permanently stationed on the site.

This would mean the council could not oppose the development on the grounds of intensified use of Green Belt land.

He added: "I do not want to see this site lose its Green Belt status as a naturist colony. Replacing caravans with high cost homes is not a particularly attractive proposal."

He suggested affordable housing would be more suitable on the land, as opposed to more expensive "executive homes".

Meanwhile, the BWRA is fiercely opposing plans to build a large hotel complex on adjacent Green Belt land in Bricket Wood.