Local News

Offices to flats plan opposed

Wednesday 31 March 2021

Owners of a business park in Hertford have submitted a planning application to convert two office blocks in to 32 flats in Watermark Way.

The pair of two-storey offices were built in the late 1980s with parking for 91 vehicles.

The application seeks to convert the buildings in to 24 one-bedroom flats and 8 two-bedroom flats, with no external alterations proposed.

The plans have been criticised by the town council, local residents' group and Hertfordshire Highways.

Committee strongly objected to this inappropriate conversion of office buildings in this business park being converted into residential units due to:

- Loss of employment space in this successful business park. It was felt that Hertford is losing a significant amount of employment land to residential development whilst adequate provision for new housing has already been made in the District Plan.
- Unsuitable location for residential conversion due to lack of community facilities and communal open space, specifically for families.
- Lack of medical and other community facilities in this ward area.
- The large number of flats already in this ward and lack of evidence that additional private residential accommodation of this type is needed.

Significant amount of commercial traffic exiting and entering this busy park, including heavy goods vehicles leading to concerns regarding safety for families and pedestrians walking in and out of this development.

:: Hertford Town Council Planning Sub Committee

The chair of Kingsmead Residents' Association, Mike Viitmaa was equally critical, saying: "The Foxholes Business Park is one of the better designated employment areas in Hertford - to convert a commercial office space into apartments is an insult to both current and future local residents - the site was developed for commercial employment enterprises - the land/building owner should be made to step up their enterprise marketing initiative instead of taking a lazy approach to maximising returns.

"This site is completely unsuitable for residential use with hard standing areas, little scope for appropriate communal green space or safe areas for children to play."

Hertfordshire Highways have recommended that the plans be refused due to insufficient information, adding: "The proposed development does not adequately provide safe access for pedestrians / cyclists / people with disabilities."

A decision on the proposals is expected later in the Spring.


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