Hitchin residents speak on plans to bring five-storey apartment block to centre of town

PUBLISHED: 16:52 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:52 27 April 2020

The proposals would see two connected five-storey blocks of flats built in Garrison Court, Hitchin. Picture: Scoot Studio

The proposals would see two connected five-storey blocks of flats built in Garrison Court, Hitchin. Picture: Scoot Studio

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

The proposed view looking toward Windmill Hill in the town. Picture: Scoot StudioThe proposed view looking toward Windmill Hill in the town. Picture: Scoot Studio

The five-storey blocks, which would be connected and contain nine apartments, would replace the existing garages at the rear of Garrison Court, Hitchin.

DLA Town Planning, who submitted the planning application, say the building will be constructed with neutral, light grey brick, with darker accent stepped window reveals for added privacy.

But Cllr Keith Hoskins, who represents the Hitchin Highbury ward, says he has “serious concerns” about the application.

He said: “This application has serious flaws. The first and main reason is size – it’s too tall.

“It would dominate the surrounding residential blocs with a deleterious effect on privacy and quality of life; the monolithic design is redolent of East Berlin in its heady days.

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“There also seems to be little consideration for parking provision either for the new development or for the displacement of existing residents and the access onto Hollow Lane would be inadequate.”

Other objectors from Hollow Lane, Garrison Court and Queen Street argue that there will be a lack of natural light for nearby residents and excessive noise.

In response, a spokesman for DLA Town Planning said: “It’s the overall hope of the proposals that they will bring vibrancy and significant visual improvements to the site. The existing garage blocks are dated and in a poor state of repair.

“The proposals would see to revitalise the area, retaining existing landscaping features and green areas for residents, while also improving the visual appearance of the area and creating attractive spaces for improved community cohesion.

“The proposals pass the relevant BRE sunlight and daylight requirements to ensure both existing and future residents retain sufficient levels of light. Although noise potential is not directly a planning issue, this will be looked at and we will attempt to minimise impacts to residents during construction as part of the construction management plan.

“With respect of the parking around the garages, this area is on private land therefore there would be no loss of existing parking within the site. Furthermore the proposed one parking space per dwellings is considered acceptable considering the sites town centre location and sufficient access to car parks.

“In terms of design, the proposals would retain sufficient separation distances to ensure privacy as well as the use of good quality materials and architectural detail along with its visually recessive form.”

The planning application, can be viewed in full at north-herts.gov.uk/home/planning with the reference 20/00750/FP.


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