Decision time? Twice-deferred application for conservation area homes to go before committee

Croft Lane - Letchworth.Picture: Karyn Haddon

Croft Lane - Letchworth - Credit: Karyn Haddon

A planning application for 42 dwellings on a former school playing field in Letchworth is on the agenda to be decided on this week, after two deferrals by North Herts District Council's planning committee. 

The proposals by Vincent and Gorbing would see homes built on the land between Croft Lane and Cashio Lane - the former Norton School playing fields - with access via the narrow Croft Lane.

A map showing how the new development between Norton Road, Cashio Lane and Croft Lane in Letchworth

A map showing how the new development between Norton Road, Cashio Lane and Croft Lane in Letchworth might look - Credit: Herts County Council

The decision whether to approve or deny the plans was first deferred in April, due to a number of updates and changes to proposed conditions.

It was deferred for a second time in May, as councillors sought further clarification by Hertfordshire County Council over access requirements.

Croft Lane - Letchworth.Picture: Karyn Haddon

Croft Lane is part a conservation area in Norton, Letchworth - Credit: Karyn Haddon

As a result, a representative from HCC's Highways department has been asked to attend NHDC's planning and control committee meeting on Thursday this week - and the authority has confirmed this will be the case. 

Access has been an aspect of the proposals that has prompted questions by residents and councillors.

Croft Lane - Letchworth.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Developers hope to create an access route via Croft Lane for 42 homes on the former Norton School playing field - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Representatives of Norton Action Group, which has been campaigning against the proposals since their inception, believe the width of the lane is being overstated - standing at 3.8m at its narrowest. 

Croft Lane - Letchworth.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Developers hope to create an access route via Croft Lane for 42 homes on the former Norton School playing field - Credit: Karyn Haddon


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Highways requires a road width of 5.5m serving 100 houses or more, with 2m-wide footpath. 

Norton Action Group chair Kevin Hinton said: "It's critical that Highways attend  - if they don't, I imagine there will be another adjournment.

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"They know that the conservation area would not allow Croft Lane to be changed in structure with a footpath and a footpath is essential for safety.

"That's also going to be exacerbated by the proposed crossing that will bring more foot traffic.

"The community is now funding a leading expert on pedestrian safety to review the pathways to the schools. That may go against us, but we suspect it won't. We are prepared to fund a judicial review."

Developers are seeking outline planning permission, which requires councillors to determine whether the site and location is suitable for a scheme of that size, and if access via Croft Lane is appropriate.

More detailed plans would be subject to further planning permission. 

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