Revised proposal fails to convince objectors as Letchworth development looms

PUBLISHED: 18:45 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:45 30 June 2020

Croft Lane, in Letchworth, as a large HGV attempts to pass. Picture: Kevin Hinton

Croft Lane, in Letchworth, as a large HGV attempts to pass. Picture: Kevin Hinton

Archant

Residents opposed to a residential development in Letchworth have not been persuaded by an amendment which has been made to the application.

The planning application on the site of the former Norton School playing fields. Picture: NHDCThe planning application on the site of the former Norton School playing fields. Picture: NHDC

The proposal, to build 42 properties on the site of the former Norton School playing fields, closes for consulation on July 8, and major concerns have been raised since the application was submitted to the district council last year.

The bone of contention has been the proposed access road, on Croft Lane, which residents have claimed will disturb the historic character of the lane and be unsafe for pedestrians.

The new amendment has, however, proposed to move the Croft Lane access road further away from number 18 – which is a Grade-II listed farmhouse – and added a two-metre pedestrian footpath on its eastern side.

A small widening of the north side of Croft Lane has also been added to enable large waste vehicles to pass – though Stevenage-based planners Vincent and Gorbing have said they have sought to “minimise widening” where possible.

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Resident and member of The Norton Action Group, Kevin Hinton, has been unpersuaded by the amendments and has reiterated his strong objection.

Kevin said: “Croft Lane is the only lane remaining in the conservation area. It is 3.8m wide at its narrowest even though Hertfordshire Highways require a 5.5m wide road with footpaths to serve 100 houses.

“Many schoolchildren, mothers with pushchairs, dog walkers and joggers use this lane to access St Nicholas School and the Greenway. Pedestrians have no escape route from approaching traffic, yet HCC claim the lane is suitable if road signs can warn vehicles there are no footpaths – how does a sign provide escape route and shelter from danger?”

Another resident, Richard Gianfrancesco – who moved to Croft Lane 12 months ago – added: “The pavement-less lane is a haven for children learning to cycle and old people having a daily walk – as well as an important school walking route to Norton School.

“The new road and the huge increase in traffic will displace pedestrians and cyclists who have been using this lane for hundreds of years. Very little has changed in the lane since then, both in its nature and how it is used.”

A formal reconsultation will now take place with HCC Highways and district council conservation officers.

To view the application, go to north-herts.gov.uk and search the reference number 19/00520/OP.


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