Blot on the landscape

PUBLISHED: 11:50 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010

The blot on the landscape

The blot on the landscape

THE best-known skyline in Hitchin could be changed forever by a housing development. It has been suggested that a developer is about to apply for planning permission to build seven town houses on top of Windmill Hill. Two scaffold towers have been erected

THE best-known skyline in Hitchin could be changed forever by a housing development.

It has been suggested that a developer is about to apply for planning permission to build seven town houses on top of Windmill Hill. Two scaffold towers have been erected on the site.

Norman Hyde, who lives on the hill, said a development of that size would "devastate" the landmark.

Retired architect and planner Mr Hyde also expressed concern that the development could only be reached by a narrow lane and that there was inadequate sewerage available.

Currently there is planning permission to extend an existing house on the hill, Woodside, and to build another house near it.

A spokesman for the developers' contractors said that the scaffolding was to show the ridge height of this new house, but that the firm who erected it have put it in the wrong place and mistakenly erected two towers instead of one.

He denied that they were thinking about constructing seven houses but admitted they have been talking to the council about further development on the hill.

The spokesman could not confirm, however, how many houses could end up being built there.

He said: "At the moment we don't know. At the moment it's got permission for one house and we're taking further advice from the council."

According to the spokesman, any other development would be instead of the house which currently has planning permission.

He said: "That house wouldn't be there and any development would be moved onto the far side of the house in a less prominent position from the road."

A spokesman for North Herts District Council confirmed that a planning officer had spoken to developers about the site.

She said: "Planning officers are in discussion with developers on possible alternative developments for the site following the grant of permission for extensions to Woodside and a further dwelling in the grounds of Woodside in 2004."

Ellie Clarke, secretary of watchdog group Hitchin Forum, said of the potential development: "We have to wait and see what comes and if there are good grounds to object people will object.

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