MP Oliver Heald blasts 'premature' Ivy Farm development plans
ROYSTON S MP Oliver Heald has blasted premature plans for 135 dwellings on farmland on the outskirts of the town. Mr Heald was speaking after he attended a meeting of local residents who live near the proposed development at Ivy Farm, off Baldock Road.
ROYSTON'S MP Oliver Heald has blasted "premature" plans for 135 dwellings on farmland on the outskirts of the town.
Mr Heald was speaking after he attended a meeting of local residents who live near the proposed development at Ivy Farm, off Baldock Road.
More than 30 people were at the meeting at the Heath sports club, and afterwards Mr Heald said he was opposed to the scheme.
He said: "Not only is an application to develop here premature, but if something were to be built here it would need to be of exceptional quality and design with a low density and significant landscaping such as trees and gardens.
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"This is one of the most sensitive sites in Royston, being so close to Therfield Heath and in an area which has a particular character. It is also a site which is outside the Local Plan for Development," he said.
The North East herts MP added: "The current plan for 135 dwellings is completely out of order. The most that has previously ever been suggested for this site is 69 properties.
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"All those who live near Therfield Heath will want to oppose this and the developers should think again."
Royston's mayor, Cllr Rod Kennedy, who lives in Heathfield, adjacent to the proposed development, organised the meeting, and said residents are opposed to the plan for a number of reasons.
He will be speaking as a resident - not a councillor - at the town council's planning committee meeting next Monday, where the application will be discussed.
Cllr Kennedy said: "We do accept that at some in the future the site may be developed but when it is it should be in manner and density appropriate to the location.
"The site is special in that it is opposite the Heath and in an area where low density housing predominates, the currently proposed number of dwellings is in our view far too high.
"In essence we expect North Herts District Council to apply the policies that are 'saved' from district plan two, especially policy nine on Royston's development limits, which put the Ivy Farm site outside the development limit," he concluded.
Plans to replace trees currently separating Therfield Heath from Baldock Road with a hedge could also affect the development.
The Therfield conservators plan to restore the heath to an "open chalk" landscape by removing the trees and planting a hedge.
Cllr Kennedy added: "This will of course mean that the Ivy Farm site will have lost much of its screening viewed from the heath and any development will therefore have a greater impact."
The possible development of Ivy Farm was revealed exclusively by The Crow last year, and an outline planning application was submitted to the district council in December.