Concerns raised about infrastructure strain as plan submitted for 300 homes in Royston

The site developers are hoping to build on.

The site developers are hoping to build on. - Credit: Archant

Traffic concerns, sewage and health provision are just three of the concerns raised about outline plans to build up to 300 houses on land to the west of Royston and north of Baldock Road.

The plans submitted by E W Pepper Limited include ‘serviced land for a primary school, vehicular access, pedestrian and cycle links, public open space, and car parking’.

But Councillor Lindsay Davidson, chairman of Royston Town Council’s planning committee, has expressed concerns about the proposed development.

Referring to sewage capacity, she said: “There are already some problems with it in that area, and another 300 odd homes worth of sewerage being pumped into the existing Victorian sewers in Baldock Road and Mackerel Hall does not fill us with much confidence.

“Tree retention and the much increased traffic flow along Baldock Road are other concerns. Plus, on a more general level, we all know that our local health provision and road systems are already getting over-stretched with the rapidly increasing population in Royston.

“Local councils can only fight a rearguard action to ensure that at the very least all local concerns and issues are taken into account and acted upon by them when they build all these houses.”

The scheme for the 15 hectare site would include a mix of market and affordable housing, as well as 1.7 hectares of land reserved for a potential first school – which the developers would contribute towards but not pay for. There is also 1.36 hectares set aside of public open space and 3.2 hectares of retained woodland and infrastructure planting.

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In the utilities report, Anglian Water proposes to mitigate against the ‘detriment to their existing sewer network’ by building an offline storage tank along Baldock Road. The proposed development would include new pedestrian and cycle connections and an enhancement of the existing public right of way.

The vision for the proposed development, according to the planning documents, is to “create an imaginatively designed and environmentally sensitive new community integrating with Royston, providing a mix of homes and green spaces.”

David Bainbridge, head of planning at Bidwells, the agent acting on behalf of E W Pepper Limited, said: “The reaction we’ve had from the public has been neutral to positive.

“There is a need for housing in the area and the land is accessible – it’s not designated as Green Belt.

“We have held discussions with local authorities and held an exhibition at the end of last year.”

Councillor Tony Hunter, who represents Royston at district and county level, also expressed his concerns about the impact on infrastructure at the Royston Annual Town Meeting last week.