Hundreds object to Gresley Park on Stevenage outskirts

PUBLISHED: 16:58 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:10 14 February 2019

Beane Valley – pictured here looking towards Walkern – is under threat from the Gresley Park plans, with concerns also raised about traffic congestion, which is already a problem in Walkern Road near Box Wood as the picture above demonstrates. Pictures: Stephen Sypula

Beane Valley – pictured here looking towards Walkern – is under threat from the Gresley Park plans, with concerns also raised about traffic congestion, which is already a problem in Walkern Road near Box Wood as the picture above demonstrates. Pictures: Stephen Sypula

Archant

Hundreds have objected to plans to build up to 618 homes, a primary and pre-school, an 80-bed care home and up to 50 assisted living homes on the outskirts of Stevenage.

The proposed location of Gresley Park.The proposed location of Gresley Park.

The developer – Pigeon Land Limited – also wants to create shops, community facilities, a site for travelling showpeople and a spine road on the agricultural land to the east of Stevenage, on Gresley Way – between Fairlands Way and Lanterns Lane.

The site, which contains protected species, lies entirely within the East Herts District Council boundary and the planning application will be determined by them.

More than 330 people have lodged objections with EHDC, with concerns including traffic congestion, insufficient infrastructure and loss of the Beane Valley view.

More than 600 people have joined Facebook group Say NO to Gresley Park and more than 700 people have joined the Gresley Park Interest Group.

The proposed site layout of Gresley Park.The proposed site layout of Gresley Park.

Two petitions have also started – one relating to traffic impact mitigation and the other imploring Stevenage Borough Council to reflect residents’ views in its response to the application.

Stephen Sypula, who launched the Gresley Park Interest Group, said: “Residents campaigned vigorously for over two years against this site being taken out unnecessarily from the Green Belt for housing, as part of the East Herts District Plan review. It’s now very encouraging to see so many Stevenage residents taking a keen interest in the development proposals.”

More than 100 people attended a residents’ meeting in the hall of St Hugh and St John’s Church in Stevenage last week, organised by the Liberal Democrat SBC members.

Manor ward councillor, Robin Parker, said: “Stevenage will be expected to provide the various services required by the residents of Gresley Park and will suffer extra overcrowding on the roads.

The Beane valley, looking towards Walkern. Picture: Stephen Sypula.The Beane valley, looking towards Walkern. Picture: Stephen Sypula.

“Our opposition is for many other reasons as well – notably the loss of the Beane Valley outlook, woodland areas and threats to wildlife.”

In a letter to councillors, SBC’s leader, Sharon Taylor, wrote: “Whereas SBC did not raise any objection to the principle of a well planned residential extension to the east of Stevenage during the preparation of the East Herts District Plan, it is crucial the concerns of residents are taken into account.”

She said council officers will prepare “a comprehensive response” to EHDC which will take into account issues raised by residents.

In response, a Pigeon Land Limited spokesman said: “The planning application has been submitted in accordance with the adopted East of Stevenage Local Plan allocation and will deliver a high quality landscape-led scheme providing up to 618 homes including up to 247 affordable dwellings (40%); a vibrant neighbourhood hub comprising local shops, community uses, a new primary school and pre-school, a care home and assisted living homes; extensive public open space providing opportunities for recreation and biodiversity enhancement; provision for travelling showpeople to meet requirements identified by the Local Plan; a new circular footpath that will enhance the public right of way network; and off-site highway improvements and new foot and cycleway connections, including a new cycleway along Gresley Way.

Walkern Road near Box Wood is already heavily congested with traffic. Picture: Stephen Sypula.Walkern Road near Box Wood is already heavily congested with traffic. Picture: Stephen Sypula.

“As with all planning applications, comments on the scheme will be considered during the application process.”

To comment on the application, by February 28, visit publicaccess.eastherts.gov.uk/online-applications and put reference number 3/19/0118/OUT in the search box.

To sign the petitions, visit tinyurl.com/y553zjb4 and petitions.stevenage.gov.uk/GresleyPark.

• Editor’s note: The links previously posted for the EHDC application are not working when linked to directly but, for completeness, pasting https://publicaccess.eastherts.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage into your web browser should take you to the application.

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