Four-storey apartment block could be built in town centre after revised application submitted

artist impression tower block

An artists' impression of the proposed four-storey apartment buildings in Garrison Court, Hitchin. - Credit: DLA Town Planning

Hitchin residents have been sharing their thoughts on a revised planning application that would see two multi-storey flat blocks built in the centre of town.

The four-storey tower blocks, which would be connected and contain eight apartments, would replace the existing garages at the rear of Garrison Court.

DLA Town Planning, which submitted the planning application, say the building will be constructed with light buff or grey facing brick work, with stepped banding at each level. Each floor will also boast Juliette balconies.

DLA also say parking for the site would be available to the north of the proposed apartment blocks, and that the building would include nine parking spaces, one for each apartment and an additional visitor space.

Previously, a similar application for Garrison Court from DLA Town Planning was rejected last August - and fresh objections have already been mounting on NHDC's planning portal website.

DLA says it has made amendments to the plans, including the lowering of the tower blocks, changes to materials and design and repositioning of windows for added privacy.

artist impression flat block

More artist impressions of Garrison Court. - Credit: DLA Town Planning


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One woman, who lives in Hollow Lane, said: "The development would overcrowd the area and add to the existing issues with parking which is an ongoing problem anyway!

"The view of St Mary's Church, a Grade I-listed building, from Windmill Hill should not be overshadowed like this. Looking at the plans - and with apologies to the architects - the design of the buildings look very unattractive."

Another resident, from Highbury Road, added: "I once again object to the plans for Garrison Court. The proposed building is completely out of keeping with the other buildings in the area and this development is still too high and will obstruct the view from Windmill Hill, which is of significant local importance.

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"Further dwellings will undoubtedly bring vehicles to an area that already suffers from limited on-street parking."

A spokesman for DLA commented: "Following the previous refusal meetings held with senior officers, significant changes have been made to the scheme.

"The intention remains that the proposals will bring vibrancy and significant visual improvements to the site. The architectural approach to Garrison Gardens is to introduce a housing scheme that responds sympathetically to its surroundings, offers a positive alternative to what is there and creates a positive social connection with the existing community.

"The existing site contains unsightly derelict garage blocks, containing areas of rubble, general dumping, and opportunities for crime. Two distinctive non-symmetrical blocks are proposed with a separation between. The angled architecture limits the visual mass of the buildings and the  space created between the blocks acts not only a as a gateway into the development, but to the communal gardens and visual connection and Windmill Hill beyond.

"The facade will be constructed with stepped window reveals, allowing each window to be set back, creating privacy for both new and existing residents.

"The proposals would revitalise the area, retaining all existing landscaping features and green areas for residents, whilst also improving the overall appearance and creating attractive spaces for improved community cohesion.

"We undertook a public consultation prior to preparing this application, and changes and additional information was provided to address the issues raised. 

"The proposals pass the relevant BRE sunlight and daylight requirements to ensure both existing and future residents retain sufficient levels of light and a detailed report is submitted to show this.  Noise to local residents during construction will be controlled as part of the construction management plan.

"There will be no loss of existing parking as the application site contains private parking only. Furthermore the new dwellings will all have their own new parking appropriate to  the sites town centre location and access to local car parks.

"We have produced a new series of detailed drawings and reports, including CGI’s to illustrate the scheme and would welcome residents to review this new information and the changes to the scheme."

The proposals and comments can be viewed in full at NHDC's online planning portal, by searching reference: 20/03045/FP.

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