PLANS to demolish a bus depot and develop the site for housing have moved a step closer.

London-based firm Origin Housing wants to demolish the former depot in Fishponds Road, Hitchin, and build a housing development there.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) approved an application to do so last August, but a condition of planning permission was for the developers to commission an archaeological study of the site.

That took place last month, and a report by Oxford Archaeology was this month handed to NHDC.

If approved by the council, then the housing firm will be free to proceed with the development.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “The planning application to develop land at Hitchin Bus Depot was granted subject to conditions. These included a condition that an archaeological study of the site be carried out. This study was requested by the county archaeologist and required an assessment and research of the site in terms of any archaeological significance, including a historic building assessment.

“That study has been completed and the council is currently in the process of analysing the report in close consultation with Herts County Council’s archaeological unit. The outcome of the report will determine whether or not that condition can be discharged.”

Plans for the site include constructing a four-storey block of flats to provide 10 one-bedroom flats, four two-bedroom flats and 15 three-bedroom houses.

The derelict depot, which still contains fittings and equipment, would be pulled down.

The 23-page report says that the depot, which ceased to be operational in 2009, is following other similar sites in the area.

“It is likely that buildings such as this are being lost from the modern townscape through demolition as the demand on land for residential development is high,” it says.

“Although lacking in significant architectural features, it is important to make a record of such buildings which represent a period of development and growth in the town and its infrastructure and communications links.

“Hopefully this survey has added to the record of Hitchin’s transport history in the mid 20th century.”