97 homes in the space of 9

ANOTHER major planning application submitted to the council has already encountered opposition. The application made on behalf of Stephen Howard Homes would see nine houses on Grove Road, Hitchin, demolished and replaced by 97 dwellings and 109 garage and

ANOTHER major planning application submitted to the council has already encountered opposition.

The application made on behalf of Stephen Howard Homes would see nine houses on Grove Road, Hitchin, demolished and replaced by 97 dwellings and 109 garage and car parking spaces.

The site is next to the River Purwell and resident Chris Parker, 64, has raised his concerns about the impact the project could have on local wildlife.

He said: "It has been identified that this site is a natural habitat for voles, lizards, bats and possibly grass snakes and slow worms.


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"Any work associated with piling or excavating on site will undoubtedly disturb these creatures and it is likely they will be driven away from the area."

A spokesman for Stephen Howard Homes said: "I am pleased to confirm that our scheme has the full support of English Nature."

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n an appeal has been lodged by Stephen Howard Holdings Ltd against the council's decision to refuse planning permission to build on the site of the former Brookers Yard off Paynes Park in Hitchin.

The company had initially applied to build 148 residential units and 175 parking and cycle storage places in May 2005.

The appeal was launched last Friday after the council had refused the original application because the proposal "would not be in harmony with the scale of the area and thus would not maintain or enhance the character and appearance of the Hitchin conservation area".

The council also said the application did not "adequately promote ground floor uses to make the layout more attractive to people and thereby increase footfall".

Asked about how long the appeal could take, a council spokesperson said: "The guidelines for appeals are 20 weeks to the hearing and another 10 weeks for the decision so the Brookers result could take 30 weeks.

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