Plans for the redevelopment of an industrial area in Tamworth Road have been given the go-ahead despite concerns raised by local residents and councillors.
The proposals will see all buildings on the Hertford Mill site demolished and the construction of 49 new homes. Earlier plans for 89 homes were withdrawn in 2019.
A public consultation by the District Council received 107 responses from the public, with 105 objecting to the plans and none in favour.
However, at a meeting of the District Council's Development Control Committee earlier in the month, it was decided to grant planning permission subject to conditions and legal agreements, including financing of £20,000 for a residents' parking scheme and £340,000 for affordable housing.
During a two-hour discussion about the merits of the scheme, councillors expressed concern about the design, limited green space and lack of affordable housing.
Committee member Terence Becket Councillor expressed concerns about parking and flooding, whilst Cllr.Caroline Redfern as highlighted parking and the lack for support for affordable housing.
Long-serving councillor Peter Ruffles expressed unease about the design of the development, a point echoed by Councillor Kaye who said that although the site was not in the conservation area, developments should nonetheless be attractive and should be in keeping with the surrounding area.
Councillor Ben Crystall commented on the loss of the granary and the mill as these were rare local industrial buildings that were of real heritage value. He said that losing such buildings made a community culturally poorer terms and he was disappointed that the building could not be conserved. He was also concerned that the proposed design was too dense.
Councillor Kemp referred to the design and loss of employment space, as well as joining other councillors in voicing concerns about parking and lack of affordable housing.
The case planning officer, service manager and conservation officers addressed councillours concerns, whilst the council's Legal Services Manager Victoria Wilder reminded the committee that any decision to refuse planning permission must be based on formal planning policy and that straying from those policies could leave the Authority open to legal challenges or appeals on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
At the end of the meeting a motion to grant planning permission was supported by nine councillors, based on the planning officer's report that the proposals complied with the District's planning policies.
Following the meeting, Cllr. Ben Crystal tweeted: "So disappointed that @EastHerts planning committee approved the demolition of the old mill and granary at Tamworth Road in Hertford. This overdeveloped site will be a headache for residents and council for years to come. And once lost, our heritage is gone forever."
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