Joy for residents as appeal for four-storey apartment block dismissed

A CGI of how the new flats in Mount Garrison could look

A CGI of how the new flats in Mount Garrison could look - Credit: DLA Town Planning

Plans for a four-storey apartment block in Hitchin - which were rejected twice by North Herts Council's Planning Control Committee - have been quashed for a third time at appeal. 

Residents campaigned against two applications by DLA Town Planning. The first would have seen two five-storey blocks replace the existing garages at the rear of Garrison Court.

The second application saw plans revised to reduce the size down to four storeys after the initial rejection by the committee in August 2020. It was rejected for a second time in March 2021.

Now, planning inspector Benjamin Clarke has backed the council's decision and dismissed the developer's appeal due to the "effect of the development upon the living conditions of the nearby dwellings at Garrison Court".

The decision report states: "The appeal proposal would, by reason of its height, bulk and siting, result in a significant enclosing effect upon the communal garden that serves the development at Garrison Court."

Resident Grace Williams told the Comet: "We have got a WhatsApp group with neighbours and everyone who is on that is really pleased. 

"It's been going on for quite a while. On a personal level, I have lived in Garrison Court since 2016, and the prospect on something that size being built where the garages are has been daunting and worrying for people living here. 

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"It would have been pretty large relative to the existing blocks. It's on a site that's fronted by existing flats - we would have been looking in each other's windows!"

Councillor Sam Collins has said the proposed building would have impacted Hitchin

Councillor Sam Collins has said the proposed building would have impacted Hitchin, having taken in a aerial view from the top of St Mary's Chuc - Credit: Sam Collins

Hitchin Highbury Councillor Sam Collins said: "This is fantastic news for residents of Hitchin. So many residents got in touch with Keith Hoskins, Paul Clark and myself about this and we vowed to fight it.

"I know it was one of the things Paul really wanted to stop, so it is sad he could not be here for this great news. This proposal was entirely wrong for our town, the building proposed was horribly ugly and would have made lives a misery for residents of Garrison Court.

"I went up to the roof of St. Mary's Church a few weeks ago and it was so clear how much it would disrupt the centre of our town."