West of Stevenage housing plans withdrawn

West of Stevenage

West of Stevenage - Credit: Archant

PLANS for a new 3,600 home settlement between two districts have been withdrawn, prompting celebrations from one authority but disappointment from another.

West of Stevenage proposals have been on the table for more than 12 years.

A High Court judge in 2011 overturned Government planning permission given in 2009 for the development, but earlier this year, the inquiry was reopened.

If given the go-ahead, the plans by Taylor Wimpey would have seen new homes and associated facilities built on land between Todd’s Green and Norton Green – situated between Stevenage and Wymondley.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said she was disappointed by the news the application had been withdrawn.

But she told the Comet the authority was looking into ways of building a smaller development in the same area of about 1,500 homes, just in the Stevenage boundary.

“It’s just so disappointing – we’ve been working away at this now for over 12 years,” she said.

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“(It’s happened) at a time when we have such a serious housing crisis in Stevenage. We knew this was coming – we didn’t get the support from central Government or neighbouring authorities.”

She added: “We’re working with them (Taylor Wimpey) to draw together a smaller scheme, just within Stevenage boundaries, so we hope we will still have some new housing, and in particular affordable housing, in the not too distant future.”

North Herts District Council (NHDC) said it was “delighted” by the news.

The authority has always been opposed to development on the land, much of which falls under its boundary.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “We are delighted that this outdated application has finally been withdrawn.

“We were surprised when the inquiry was re-opened after we had been successful in challenging the previous decision in the High Court. I met with the director of planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government and suggested that this application should be withdrawn. I’m pleased that has now happened.

“We will now continue to make progress on developing our local plan to meet future housing requirements in North Hertfordshire.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “As 12 years have elapsed since we made the application, it is no longer deliverable or viable in its current form and is not worth pursuing any further.

“The combined costs of infrastructure required to serve the site, together with the contributions sought through the Section 106 planning obligations are such that the resulting values associated with the scheme are, at best, only nominal and therefore do not produce adequate returns to both land owners and developers.”