Decision time for homes scheme
COUNCILLORS were due last night (Wednesday) to decide whether to approve a controversial development plan for the Ling Dynamic site in Royston. The proposals have caused anger among residents in the area, who have threatened to take their case to the Loca
COUNCILLORS were due last night (Wednesday) to decide whether to approve a controversial development plan for the Ling Dynamic site in Royston.
The proposals have caused anger among residents in the area, who have threatened to take their case to the Local Government Ombudsman should they be given the go-ahead.
They claim the scheme contravenes a number of planning laws.
But a planning report being considered at a meeting of North Herts
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District Council's Royston area committee recommended that the proposals should be approved.
This is the second plan to be submitted for the site, and has seen the scale of the scheme reduced.
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Councillors were considering allowing a development submitted by developers Stephen Howard Homes and McCarthy & Stone, the company that specialises in building retirement homes.
McCarthy & Stone wants to build 63 sheltered residential apartments, and Stephen Howard Homes 49 flats and eight houses.
Part of the project would include a number of affordable homes.
In the report, planning officer Simon Ellis said there had been "considerable discussion" between architects and the district council over the shape of the scheme.
He said negotiations meant that the current plans now "strike the correct balance" for the site.
Mr Ellis said the scheme should be accepted as it "achieves an acceptable outcome for the site".
But he insisted in the report that the developers would have to make a contribution of £262,500 towards the provision of affordable housing units elsewhere in Royston.
The deal would be made under a planning agreement, he said.
"This scheme offers the potential not just to replace buildings that offer little in the way of street-scape value, but to introduce a development that would actually contribute to and enhance the character and appearance of Baldock Road," he said.
He said there was common ground on the principle of redeveloping the Ling Dynamics site.
But nearby residents have protested about the scheme and say there are "serious concerns" over the density of the plan, and the impact it will have on the character and appearance of the area.
There have been objections, too, from Royston Town Council which said the scheme was an over-development for the site and would have a "significant adverse impact" on Therfield Heath.