Council to vote on 1,500 home development for Stevenage
Matthew Smith, local democracy reporter
- Credit: Taylor Wimpey/Persimmon Homes
Councillors will make a decision on controversial plans to build a new 1,500 home neighbourhood to the west of Stevenage next week.
The plans, submitted in April, will see hundreds of homes built on the former Green Belt land off the A1(M), as well as a new primary school and sports facilities.
The latest plans are the third proposals to be brought forward for the site, which had previously included a 5,000 dwelling scheme in 2005 and a 3,600 plan in 2013.
Council officers are now recommending that approval is granted to the latest application, after the site was earmarked for development in Stevenage’s 2019 Local Plan.
Developers Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes are seeking full planning permission for the first 390 homes, and the creation of a public open space, cricket and/or football pitch and improved access across the A1(M), with outline permission for the next 1,100 homes.
The first stage will include 117 affordable dwellings, and four self-build plots, with 30 per cent affordable housing promised for the homes built at a later stage.
The first 390 dwellings will include 19 one bedroom and 73 two bedroom flats, along with three one-bedroom, 52 two-bedroom and 155 three-bedroom houses. There will also be 84 four-bedroom houses, and four additional four-bedroom self-build plots.
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The outline application is also seeking permission to build 10,000sqm of employment space, a residential care home, a mixed use local centre and a primary school.
The developers said West Stevenage will be “a new neighbourhood with a great sense of place and its own distinct identity.
“It will be a development that embraces the principles of healthy living, sustainability and water sensitive design with high quality and well designed buildings and public realm.”
However, 146 objections have been submitted to the council with concerns raised about the loss of public rights of way and impact on green space.
Hertfordshire County Council, acting as Lead Local Flood Authority, said they need additional information on the developer’s surface drainage assessment before being able to lift their objection to the plans.
Highways England have also placed a holding objection on the application while the consultants can review the developers’ updated Transport Assessment.
Despite this, according to a report prepared ahead of the meeting, officers are recommending planning permission is granted to the scheme.
The report said that the site is already accepted as being suitable for development, and the plans would be in accordance with the council’s Local Plan.
It continues: “The proposed development would deliver very substantial and numerous benefits including a significant level of housing, affordable housing, self-build plots and aspirational homes.
“The development would also deliver accessible employment land, provision of a well-designed new community, with support for pedestrians and cyclists, new infrastructure such as a school, potential health facilities, shops and other community uses.
“As such, the development is fundamental in the council meeting its overall identified housing and employment needs which are to be delivered over the Local Plan period.”
Councillors will vote on the proposals at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee on December 16.