Affordable homes sites identified

And the Royston Town football ground is one of them

SIX sites in Royston have been identified as potential housing developments which could see almost 350 affordable homes built in the town.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) have produced a Local Investment Plan (LIP) which earmarks 22 possible sites for housing across the region, with the Royston Town football ground on Garden Walk listed as one of them.

Other sites on the plan include Lumen Road (75 dwellings), Heath House on Prince Mews (70), another site on Garden Walk (56), The Warren car park at the bus station (55) and the old Priory Cinema (44).

Forty-four homes could be built on the 80-year home of The Crows, meaning the club would have to relocate to an alternative stadium.

Alan Barlow, President of Royston Town FC, said they are looking to move ground soon, but assured they would not be left without a home.

“North Herts have said that our ground would be a good place to put new houses and we have agreed,” he said.

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“We have a site in mind for a new ground – the land adjacent to the Hamleys warehouse on Orchard Road – but we need to make sure this is completely suitable before we sell off Garden Walk.

“Only then will building homes on Garden Walk begin. We can then invest the proceeds in a new facility.”

The government-funded Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) requested that all local authorities in the country provide an LIP that will help inform their decisions on affordable homes sites to be built between 2011 and 2015.

Cllr Bernard Lovewell, NHDC portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: “The Local Investment Plan highlights the kind of housing and regeneration we would like to see in the district.

“It lists possible sites for residential development including affordable housing as well as schemes for regenerating deprived areas. Royston is not included under this category but several sites are named as suitable for housing.

“However, due to the scale of recent Government cuts, we will not be able to support all of the proposals in the plan.”

Mr Barlow said that if The Crows were to move home, it would be to a stadium fit for a higher level.

“We must have a stadium suitable for the highest level of non-league football and continue to be a leading club in the area,” he said. “There would be no point in re-locating to a ground which has the same facilities as Garden Walk, so it must be good enough for the Blue Square Premier.”