New plans for Kwik Fit site proposed
- Credit: Maya Derrick
A new proposal has been put forward to repurpose an area of a busy residential street in Hitchin for more housing.
The application for 59-61 Walsworth Road would see the existing Kwik Fit building - which dates back to the early 20th century - demolished to make way for 10 new flats; four two-bedroom and six one bedroom.
The ground floor would be utilised as commercial space, with vehicular access, drainage, car parking, cycle and bin storage to the rear of the property. Landscaping, boundary treatments and associated works will be implemented following demolition of the existing commercial buildings.
Acting as agents on behalf of Able Comm Limited, BHP Design submitted the new proposal for a smaller-scale development at the end of September, replacing a pre-existing application submitted earlier this year.
The original application proposed 18 new dwellings - nine one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments - and was met with landslide of objections.
So far, objections to the development in its current state primarily revolve around losing a key piece of Hitchin's history, with suggestions put forward to preserve the building and its external features if a plan for residential dwellings must go through.
Previous concerns regarding the repurposing of 59-61 Walsworth Road included health, traffic and aesthetic grounds, with residents in the immediate area stating that plans for the Kiwk Fit site fall "far short of what Hitchin needs."
Cllr Ian Albert, who represents the Bearton ward, explained that although the new plans are "undoubtedly an improvement on the original," there are important issues still to be answered by the developers.
He told the Comet: "I have spoken to the developers agents, who are based in Birmingham, to suggest they set up a Zoom call for local residents to talk through the new plans and so residents can raise any concerns or questions directly.
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"I am waiting to hear back whether they are happy to do this. I really hope they will agree to a meeting."
He added that residents have raised a number of valid questions to propose to the developers, including if social housing is to be included in the build, environmental commitments - such as heat pumps and solar panels - garden space for residents, and if any of the existing building can be preserved.
The deadline for any notions of support or objections is Thursday, November 4. To register your comment, visit North Herts Council's planning portal, quoting reference 21/02796/FP.