Plans for 375 homes on the former gas works in Marshgate Drive have been recommended for refusal by the district council's planning department.
Developer St.William submitted a planning application for 29 houses and 5 apartment blocks in November last year following two pre-submission consultations. The plans also include a gym, 348 parking spaces and 2200sq.m of employment floorspace.
The recently adopted District Plan allocated the brownfield site for around 200 homes.
St.William's plans have met strong resistance from local residents, who fear that the proposals represent overdevelopment of the site and would have a detrimental effect on an already congested road network. Objections from 236 members of the public were received.
Objections were also submitted by the local highways authority, Hertford Town Council, EHDC Conservation & Design and the district council's landscape advisor.
Whilst there are few objections to the principle of residential development, the scale and highways impact of the scheme was thought to be excessive and this is reflected in the planning officer's report: "The submitted scheme seeks 375 residential units and 2,710m² of employment floor space, although the majority of this floorspace would be for a B1(c) use and other employment generating uses, the residential numbers are approaching double the amount of dwellings allocated within the policy, whilst the amount of employment floor space is a shortfall of the amount required."
Commenting on the plans, the county council claims that the development would have a severe capacity impact on the public highway, adversely affecting the free flow of traffic on surrounding roads and at key strategic junctions in Mill Road, Ware Road and the Bluecoats roundabout.
Developer St.William has refuted the highway authority's assessment of the site, claiming: "The impact of the proposed development will be not be severe and therefore, in accordance with the NPPF [National Planmning Policy Framework] and local planning policy, should not be refused on transport grounds."
The planning officer's report recommends refusal of the proposal on a number of grounds, including failure to accord with the District Plan and Masterplan for the area, overdevelopment, poor design, impact on the highway network and inadequate provision of affordable housing.
A decision on the planning application will be made by the Development Control Committee meeting on Wednesday 17th July 2019.
Update 18/7/19: Planning permission for the gas works site was refused at last night's meeting, with the committee rejecting the plans unanimously.
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