Anger as minister approves Letchworth Golf Club expansion

Letchworth Golf Club

Letchworth Golf Club - Credit: Archant

RESIDENTS have spoken out against a minister’s decision not to overturn controversial plans for a golf club, which they feel will cause “danger and misery”.

In a decision notice issued last Thursday it was revealed MP Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, had approved the planned expansion of Letchworth Golf Club.

It came despite warnings from residents in Queenswood Drive, Hitchin, where 130 HGV movements will be made on a near-daily basis, that the resulting environmental damage and risk would be “catastrophic”.

The vehicles were initially planned to take another route through Letchworth Lane in Letchworth GC, but this was successfully amended by Letchworth South county councillor Terry Hone.

Those who live in Queenswood Drive feel he has ignored their concerns.

In a letter addressed to Cllr Hone, residents Paul and Emma McKenzie said: “You say the hundreds of residents who will be impacted by this have to ‘put up with it for future development’.

“The thought of looking out of our window and seeing lorries there every day fills us with great distress and we fail to see how you would not be similarly upset. We have read the conditions applied to the application and feel they do little to protect the conditions and safety of the roads involved. We also maintain that the road to Willian is simply not wide enough - being barely more than a country lane - to accommodate a heavy goods vehicle without endangering oncoming traffic.”

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The pair are also sceptical on the HGVs’ ability to deal with adverse weather conditions.

“The road can be highly affected by heavy snow and ice. It would not surprise us if one of these skidded into a car, a tree or a wall outside someone’s house,” they added.

Resident Joyce Donald, also of Queenswood Drive, said: “I think this is an absolute disgrace. It will have a terrible effect on everyone who lives here. Everyone I have spoken to who lives in the area has been unanimous in how strongly they oppose this.”

Cllr Hone said: “Firstly, Queenswood Drive in Hitchin is not on my patch for HCC (nor NHDC). That being said, detailed below is what I, with others, did to help these Hitchin residents.

“It was me that got the consultation scope to include Queenswood Drive and its surrounding roads. It was me that got the consultation period extended so that those residents could have their say.

“Next, it was me that insisted that no truck stacking on Queenswood Drive would be a planning condition.

“Also, with other local residents, I was involved in a door drop of information regarding the planning application including Queenswood Drive. This included my contact details.”

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