Residents driven crazy by Letchworth Golf Club plans

Terry Home and Pam Burn hold the peition with residents, Bob Burn, Mike Dandy, Linda Steeples, Veron

Terry Home and Pam Burn hold the peition with residents, Bob Burn, Mike Dandy, Linda Steeples, Veronique Russell, Margit Gentles, Jan Trollope, Bill Gentles and Paul Dalrymple - Credit: Archant

RESIDENTS have hit out over the number of heavy goods vehicles proposed to pass by their homes, fearing major disruption and safety concerns for a year.

In plans submitted by Letchworth Golf Club, people living in Aubreys in Letchworth GC, and Willian Road and Queenswood Drive in Hitchin, would have 130 HGVs – 65 in and 65 out – Monday to Friday and 70 HGVs on a Saturday – 35 in and 35 out – of Letchworth Golf Club on Letchworth Lane.

The club has applied for planning permission from Hertfordshire County Council to develop the existing practice area as a six-hole academy course using soil brought in from a site being developed elsewhere.

The application is also for a temporary construction entrance from Willian Road and temporary construction exit from Letchworth Lane at Letchworth Golf Club.

But residents living nearby have voiced their concerns over the proposed route into and out of the site.

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Going into the site, the HGVs would travel from the A1(M) along Letchworth Gate and left onto the A505, towards Hitchin, turning left onto Queenswood Drive and left onto Willian Road.

Leaving the site, lorries would go through the temporary exit created into Letchworth Lane opposite a bus stop. Lorries will turn right into Letchworth Lane and turn right onto Willian Road.

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Pam Burn, who lives with her husband in Aubreys, said: “The junction of Letchworth Lane and Willian Road is well-known to all local residents and drivers using this route as a very dangerous point.

“Traffic on Willian Road travels far too fast and it is hard to both see and judge the speed of traffic from either direction while sitting at the Letchworth Lane junction.”

Mrs Burn, who has lived in Aubreys for the past 30 years, said she and her husband had both witnessed many accidents – some fatal or very serious – at either the Letchworth Lane junction or down Willian Road.

“The speed limit of 30mph into Willian is largely ignored by drivers coming up from Hitchin,” she said.

“Walking my young grandchildren down to feed the ducks at Willian pond I feel more unsafe on the path beside Willian Road than anywhere else locally.”

Mrs Burn also said people living in the Letchworth Lane area will be “imprisoned” as they will not be able to easily exit onto Willian Road or the A505 if plans are given the go ahead.

Other issues causing concerns for residents are the noise levels which will come from having a wheel washer in operation all day to keep the road free of soil, and the dust and pollution which will be generated by the 170,000 cubic metres of soil.

The new golf academy course would involve the remodelling of the site from a nine-hole, three par course to a shorter six-hole academy course.

Residents in Queenswood Drive will also be affected if there is congestion on site, with lorries queuing in the residential road.

Cllr Terry Hone, who is backing residents on their views, said: “I think, like me, the residents are keen to see the modernisation of the golf club. They are not against the concept of the development, but the major issue is the egress and the route that is being proposed.”

Site working hours will be from Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 5pm, and 7.30am to 1pm on Saturday.

Niki Hunter, Letchworth Golf Club secretary, said: “At this point we are working with Woodland Environmental Ltd and consulting with all interested parties. We see this as positive step for Letchworth GC and the wider community.”

A decision on the application will be made in July.

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