Homes protesters must fight again

DEVELOPERS are determined to build new homes on a brownfield site in Hitchin – but residents are equally intent on stopping them. A new planning application was submitted last week to construct up to 10 houses on Old Hale Way, just months after their last

DEVELOPERS are determined to build new homes on a brownfield site in Hitchin - but residents are equally intent on stopping them.

A new planning application was submitted last week to construct up to 10 houses on Old Hale Way, just months after their last attempt was thrown out by the district council.

Campaigning by residents, who feared the environmental implications of new homes at the bottom of their gardens, led to the rejection of Michael Shanly Homes' request last November.

The plan was kicked out by the Hitchin committee and failed to win a later appeal, leaving worried residents with their green and tranquil space intact.


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The community is now hoping that last year's success will be repeated in the face of a second, amended planning application by Michael Shanly Homes.

Martin Annetts, of Bearton Green, has been campaigning against attempts at "back garden developments" in Hitchin.

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He thinks the new plans barely differ from the last and said: "In essence the only change is the configuration of the houses and bedrooms.

"But in terms of improvements and the look of the area, it will be very much the same. There will still be the same problems.

"They want to develop a land-locked area of gardens that is leafy, green and quiet and that people have enjoyed for a number of years."

Michael Shanly Homes has put forward two possible development schemes.

The first would demolish two houses to make way for 10 semi-detached homes on the site and land behind it.

The second proposes demolition of just one house and the subsequent construction of seven new homes on the same area.

Both plans include parking, potentially for up to 20 cars.

Mr Annetts feels that the development is inappropriate for the area and said: "Michael Shanly Homes want to parachute in a development that's completely out of context with what's already here.

"This will introduce a lot of noise and disturbance.

"As a resident I understand that building will always go on, but this site isn't appropriate for what Michael Shanly is proposing.

He also sees it as unfair on residents.

"All of a sudden they'll have a housing estate bearing down on their gardens," he said.

"It will be a horrendous change to the people of Old Hale Way. We all chose to live here because of the quiet surroundings."

In response to residents' concerns, Andy Cattermole, planning manager at Michael Shanly Homes, said: "The revised proposals for the site respond positively to the (appeal) inspector's findings.

"The principle of intensifying the use of the site was accepted and it was indicated that the semi-detached houses fronting Old Hale Way would add to the character and appearance of the area. Our new proposals seek to address the areas of concern of the inspector.

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