Rejected - plan for town centre flats

PUBLISHED: 12:40 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:28 06 May 2010

The cleared area of Hitchin Market where stalls have been removed

The cleared area of Hitchin Market where stalls have been removed

UNPOPULAR plans for flats and houses in an historic town centre have been rejected. North Hertfordshire District Council s Hitchin committee has turned down proposals for 132 flats and 16 houses in Brooker s Yard and Suzuki and Peter Fish premises off Pay

UNPOPULAR plans for flats and houses in an historic town centre have been rejected.

North Hertfordshire District Council's Hitchin committee has turned down proposals for 132 flats and 16 houses in Brooker's Yard and Suzuki and Peter Fish premises off Paynes Park.

The plans were rejected amid concerns over the density of the development and the height of the buildings near Tilehouse Street.

There were also fears that the development did not meet the planning brief for Paynes Park which states it should be a mix of retail and residential buildings.

Now campaigners are cautiously celebrating the decision.

Ellie Clarke, secretary of Hitchin Forum, said: "We are very pleased the Hitchin councillors responded to local concerns and translated these concerns into good planning reasons for refusal."

However, Mrs Clarke added: "I think it's quite likely they'll go to appeal but we will be there to support the council's point of view.

"This development is just totally wrong for this location. We want a high class high quality development here and this just isn't it."

Also at the meeting, the committee sent plans for toilet closures in Hitchin back to the main NHDC cabinet.

NHDC wants to close loos in Portmill Lane and Bancroft Gardens and to revamp those in the Arcade, but many are unhappy about the closures.

Mrs Clarke said: "I think the council really have to go back to square one on this.

"I think they're in danger of ploughing headlong into this and getting something very wrong.

"What they need to do is consult with local people about the principle of provision. They need to be talking to us about how many and where."

The issue of the toilets will now be on the agenda for the NHDC cabinet on Tuesday, July 25.

Another item discussed at the Hitchin committee meeting was NHDC's action plan for the town's market.

Councillors on the committee approved the plan, which includes tasks such as introducing a monthly craft and local produce market on Sundays and investigating the introduction of portable credit and debit card machines.

As part of the plan, empty stalls were last month removed from the market to allow more space for mobile stalls and trading vehicles.


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