Major concerns over plans to build 105 homes in Walkern

The plot for the proposed development of 105 homes in Walkern.

The plot for the proposed development of 105 homes in Walkern. - Credit: Archant

A planning application to build 105 homes in a village has been met with fierce opposition from people concerned it will ruin the landscape, cause traffic congestion and put a strain on existing infrastructure.

Welbeck Strategic Land has submitted an outline planning application to East Herts Council for a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes on land to the west of Walkern High Street.

So far, 150 objections have been lodged with the council, with people concerned it will spoil the landscape, cause increased traffic on the already-congested High Street, and leave Walkern Primary School and Walkern Surgery struggling to cope.

Nigel Scholes has lived in Walkern for 30 years and said: “The proposed development is so huge for a village the size of Walkern and existing developments have already put a large strain on infrastructure.”

Walkern Parish Council has objected to the plans, citing inappropriate location, unacceptable impact on traffic, inadequate infrastructure and an unsustainable scale of development.

Councillor Tom Deffley said: “The East Herts District Plan for 2011-2033 requires Walkern to see a 10-per-cent increase in the current number of homes over the next 15 years. This is already provided for on the site south of Froghall Lane. If approved, this would represent growth of 35 per cent in just a few years.”

With Stevenage just two miles from Walkern, Zayd Al-Jawad – Stevenage Borough Council’s assistant director for planning and regulation – said the development could have a detrimental impact on the landscape of the Beane Valley as viewed from Stevenage.

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He added: “There are also substantive concerns as to the impact on existing and future infrastructure, such as schools. Secondary school capacity in north and east Stevenage is already a concern and is currently without a solution.

“There are also concerns about the impact on GP surgeries.”

Alice Brighton, associate director at Welbeck Strategic Land, said: “We are aware people have made comments about the proposal and are liaising with East Herts Council and Herts County Council to respond.

“We hope this proposal will provide much-needed new homes, along with high-quality open space for residents to enjoy.”

To view the application, visit see and search for 3/17/2897/OUT under planning applications.