Hitchin residents forced to ask to paint their homes

HUNDREDS of residents will have to ask for permission to paint or make changes to the outside of their homes, after a notice was served on them by a council.

Houses were added to the Hitchin Conservation Area and Stockens Green Conservation Area in Knebworth, this week.

There are 179 addresses affected in Hitchin, with parts of Walsworth Road, Trevor Road, Benslow Lane, The Avenue, Chiltern Road, Highbury Road, Wymondley Road and The Chilterns being added to the town’s conservation area.

In Knebworth, 51 houses in Stockens Green and Gipsy Lane will have to adhere to the new rules.

It means that residents will have to apply to North Herts District Council if they want to do certain things to their houses, including painting the front or a fence, removing or building a fence, building a porch and altering a roof.

Houses outside of a conservation area would not need planning permission for any of those things.

Ian Fullstone, NHDC’s head of development and building control, said: “Hitchin is a historic town and Stockens Green is a particularly distinctive early 20th century development.

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“We want to do everything we can to preserve their special character and appearance. We believe that the areas identified deserve extra protection, so that they can be enjoyed both by people now and by future generations to come.”

Letters were delivered to residents on Tuesday, outlining all of the changes.

NHDC said that if residents wanted to submit a planning application, which is free, it would be judged on its merit.

The scheme has had the support of town centre groups, including Hitchin Forum, The Hitchin Society and Hitchin Historical Society.

• Are you a resident in one of the areas affected? Let the Comet know what you think – email laura.burge@thecomet.net or call the newsdesk on 01438 866206.