Plans approved for former Hitchin sorting office

Artist impression of the Hermitage Road block

Artist impression of the Hermitage Road block - Credit: Archant

A former Royal Mail sorting office is to make way for a hotel, shops and flats, after councillors unanimously approved the plans.

Members of North Herts District Council’s planning control committee met last night (Thursday) and approved the application from Hitchin-based Whitebarn Developments, who submitted the plans for the vacant Hitchin site, situated between Portmill Lane and Hermitage Road.

Director of Whitebarn Developments, Mark Shadbolt, said: “We are delighted that the planning committee resolved to grant permission last night for the redevelopment of the site. Along with my partners Paul Shadbolt and Clive Batchelor we will be working with the professional team and aim to start on site next year.”

Under the plans all remaining buildings at the site will be demolished and redeveloped to include residential, retail and commercial units, and a hotel, while the River Hiz walkway would be widened.

The existing three-storey building on Hermitage Road will be would be demolished and replaced with a four-storey building comprising of ground floor retail units and 24 one and two bedroom apartments across three floors.

To the rear of this block, and looking out on to Portmill Lane, a 60-bedroom hotel with a restaurant is proposed.

A new loading bay will be built along Portmill Lane, with two entrances to the hotel.

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There is no provision for on-site parking except for the allocation of one disabled space.

A block of residential units, some four and three-storey, along Portmill Lane is also proposed, adjacent to a widened walkway.

The block would accommodate 13 two bedroom apartments with 25 parking spaces. The apartment block is proposed to include a ground floor retail unit, which would either be a shop or restaurant/café.

Along Hermitage Road, commercial units would be created at ground level for use by shops, cafés or restaurants, with 11 flats spread over three floors above.

The developer will be subject to a number of conditions, which will include the developer to pay nearly £80,000 towards local amenities and services under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The sorting office closed in August last year when the service moved to Stevenage, and has not been in use since.

For more reaction to the decision see next week’s Comet.

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