Developer appointed for new Baldock neighbourhoods
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Developers have been appointed for plans to bring more than 3,000 new homes to Baldock, as part of North Herts District Council's Local Plan.
Urban&Civic has been awarded the contract by Hertfordshire County Council, making it the council's development partner for the proposed new neighbourhoods to the north and east of the town.
Planned work - which would see the town double in size.- would take place on county council-owned land and would bring 3,300 new homes, subject to planning permission and the outcomes of NHDC's Local Plan examination.
The developments will be a mixture of large and small homes, with both houses and flats, and will include 'affordable housing.'
The new homes will be accompanied by new local facilities such including a country park and schools, as well as new roads and bus stops. There are also plans for care facilities within the new neighbourhoods, to support the county’s aging population.
Stephen Boulton, cabinet member for planning at HCC, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to build high-quality new homes in the north of Hertfordshire.
"We shall need to build over 100,000 homes in Hertfordshire over the next 15 years if we are going to keep up with the increases in local jobs and our population, and it is important that we do that in a planned way, which creates sustainable communities, respects our environment and complements our existing historic towns.
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"We’re looking forward to working with Urban&Civic to deliver the new homes that people – particularly younger people – desperately need.”
Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban&Civic added: “We are thrilled to have been selected by Herts County Council as preferred development partner at Baldock.
"An urban extension of regional significance including a new country park, wrapping around a fine historic town with strong rail connections is absolutely what Urban&Civic is set up to deliver.
"We look forward to working with the county and all local stakeholders and residents to bring forward a fully sustainable landscape encompassing a range of homes, facilities and high quality commercial space all linked by a network of footpaths and cycleways which properly integrate with and support the Baldock of today.”
Baldock was initially earmarked for 3,386 new homes within NHDC's Local Plan. The site labelled BA1 would be the largest single housing development throughout the Local Plan, located at Blackhorse Farm, in the north of Baldock - currently Green Belt land.
The latest round of Local Plan hearings - which took place virtually in November 2020 following a delay caused by the COVID lockdown - were called after inspector Simon Berkeley had “issues and reservations” around the projected housing need and use of Green Belt land for a number of developments.
As a result, he implemented further modifications, including a decrease in the number of homes earmarked for each area in North Herts in order to be consistent with the latest National Planning Policy Framework.
During the first Local Plan hearings back in February 2018, concerns were raised by residents on how Baldock would cope with the additional traffic - particularly at the already busy traffic lights off Whitehorse Street.
The inspector gave the council a number of modifications to implement at the time, including reflecting new evidence produced during the examination to address the concerns raised.
Urban&Civic and the county council are set to refresh the current vision for the development and work with NHDC to submit new planning applications for the land in readiness for adoption of the new Local Plan, which is currently being examined once again by Mr Berkeley.
Earlier this year, the Baldock, Bygrave and Clothall Neighbourhood Plan was voted in favour of adoption, and will be come into force when it is formally adopted by NHDC. The aim of the Baldock, Bygrave and Clothall Neighbourhood Plan is to fill any gaps in North Herts District Council’s Local Plan, in order to get the best outcome for the area.