Amended plans to build nine homes in Ickleford have been submitted to North Herts Council.

Proposals for the site, next to Arnold's Farm in Upper Green near the Recreation Ground, have been in progress for eight years, having first been submitted in 2015.

The original application sought outline permission for 18 homes, and was later withdrawn by the applicant following issues with the planned access road and a lack of footpaths.

A second proposal was put forward in 2017 for pre-application advice from North Herts Council, with the number of homes reduced to 17.

The applicant was advised that development may be considered acceptable if the site was removed from the Green Belt - as happened when the North Herts Local Plan 2011-31 was approved - but that issues could remain with the quantity of homes proposed and the layout of the site.

The latest application was then made in August 2022, and included plans for ten homes, with amendments since reducing that to nine.

It is understood that the amendments were made due to the initial plans not meeting biodiversity net gain requirements, and potentially being unable to meet the required Section 106 contribution toward local infrastructure.

The proposed development site is described as being "redundant agricultural land", and used to be part of the Grade II-listed Arnold's Farm before it was sold off from the farmhouse in the early 1970s. A small section of it is within the Ickleford Conservation Area.

The plans submitted in 2022 include detached and semi-detached properties, made up of a mixture of four two-bedroom, four three-bedroom and two four-bedroom properties, with one property since removed. Space for 31 cars to park is included.

The Design and Access statement submitted as part of the application states: "The landowners, Lime Tree Developments Ltd, are a small family-owned development company who have owned this site for many years and now wish to develop the site to provide additional family homes for the village of Ickleford."


However, the plans are opposed by Ickleford Parish Council, which has written to North Herts Council to "strongly object" to them.

Parish councillors argue that the development is too large for the site, that the entrance onto Chambers Lane would be "dangerous", and that it would "directly and adversely affect the bordering buildings and green spaces".

A report written for North Herts Council in 2016 as they prepared their Local Plan also raised concerns about proposals to build on the site, which was then known as Site 329. Particular worries mentioned related to impact upon the "immediate setting", including the Grade II-listed Arnold's Farm and the Plume of Feathers pub.

The report stated: "The development of site 329 would have unacceptable impacts upon adjacent heritage assets, significantly changing the setting of assets, impacting upon listed buildings and the setting of the conservation area. This proposal site is therefore not consistent with national policy."

The North Herts Local Plan 2011-31, which identified locations for 11,600 new homes to be built, did not include the site, though it did remove it from the Green Belt.