Plan for seven high-rise tower blocks in place of Icon building denied

PUBLISHED: 12:24 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:38 09 March 2020

Plans to demolish the Icon building in Stevenage and build seven high-rise flat blocked have been rejected by Stevenage Borough Council's planning committee. Picture; Google

Plans to demolish the Icon building in Stevenage and build seven high-rise flat blocked have been rejected by Stevenage Borough Council's planning committee. Picture; Google

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Planning permission to build seven high-rise flat blocks in the place of the Icon building in Stevenage has been denied by Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee.

View of the proposed development from Chequers Bridge, looking south over the railway line.View of the proposed development from Chequers Bridge, looking south over the railway line.

Housebuilder Hill Residential Limited's proposals would have brought 574 new homes to the site, however the application was met with a number of concerns when it was submitted in the summer last year.

The committee moved to reject the application on the grounds that "its height, design and appearance would result in an incongruous form of development which would be harmful to the visual amenities of the area".

It also stated that the project would result in "an over development of the site which would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area".

The plans would have brought 20 studio, 237 one-bed, 277 two-bed and 40 three-bed flats - in blocks up to 18 storeys high - in place of the office building on Lytton Way which was build in 1989.

Site layout showing location of apartment blocks. Site layout showing location of apartment blocks.

Ward councillor for Old Town, Jim Brown, addressed the committee at Tuesday's meeting.

He cited a number of concerns with the proposals, and suggested better use of the site would be as a place of employment for Stevenage residents, subsequently having a positive impact on the climate.

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He said: "There are thousands of people living within a kilometre of this site.

The Icon site in Stevenage, where there are plans to build seven high-rise flat blocks.The Icon site in Stevenage, where there are plans to build seven high-rise flat blocks.

"How many would welcome being able to walk to work rather than spend hours each day driving or on a train?

"Less commuting would be good for our environment and good for our community life and families.

"Unfortunately, the reality is that this development will be priced beyond the means of most local people.

"Data from Nomis shows that average full-time incomes at the other end of the Kings Cross railway line are up to £20,000 per year higher than in Stevenage jobs."

View of play space and central garden looking toward the proposed apartments.View of play space and central garden looking toward the proposed apartments.

He also cited issues with design and appearance, the effect on listed buildings and conservation areas and highway safety.

The planning application received 74 objections and three statements in favour during its public consultation period.

Stevenage Borough Council has recently approved two major planning applications, bringing 618 new homes to the east of Stevenage, and 800 to land known as Forster Country, between Weston Road and North Road.


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