Plans for 120 homes near Therfield Heath revealed in Royston
PUBLISHED: 11:53 22 February 2018
A leaflet detailing proposals to build 120 houses off Briary Lane in Royston has landed on the doorsteps of residents of Sun Hill, Echo Hill and surrounding roads – two weeks after the conclusion of a public inquiry into whether eight homes could be built on common land nearby.
The speculative proposal by Gladman is to build the homes – up to 40 per cent would be affordable – on land south of Echo Hill and to the east of Briary Lane, where it will also be accessed from.
Concerns have been raised by residents in the area about roads, drainage and the proximity to the site to the Therfield Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest.
In the Gladman leaflet it states: “The proposed site is a suitable and sustainable location for new development. We believe that new homes will enhance the village and support its exisiting services and facilities.
“Access to the proposed site will be off Briary Lane. After initial discussion with your local highways authority, we believe this to be the safest and most appropriate way to access the site.
“Our surface water strategy is to ensure that no more water runs off the site post development than currently is the case. This will be achieved through creating basins on site to hold surface water run-off, before controlling the release of this water through infiltration.”
Gladman also says the development has the potential to deliver new public open space and footpaths, a fully-equipped play space, and improve surfacing to Briary Lane.
Echo Hill’s David Hatton said: “After reading the proposal, I – like others I have spoken to – am concerned that the site, at its north-west corner, is not best situated with respect to its proposed linkage to the nearby Royston town road system via Briary Lane.
“For example, access to town from the development via the top of Briary Lane/Sun Hill would be restricted by the ‘bottleneck’ created by the single-lane track, running north-south, that currently divides the public common at the end of Sun Hill and the adjacent heath.
“Even if the track could somehow be widened to a two lane-carriageway, Briary Lane proper is often choked by parked vehicles and has limited capacity for extra traffic.
“The only obvious solution would be development of yet further land for a link road to the south-west of the Royston Hospital site to give a longer alternative route into town via the A10 – thus creating further problems, especially for the Royse Grove area and the A10 itself.
“From a conservation perspective, I know that the hedgerow all along the western edge of the development is well used by up to six of the 10 UK farmland bird species listed as birds of conservation concern by Redlist Revival.
“These species include the Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Grey Partridge. Currently it’s nice to see these special species so close to the edge of town, but all are likely to be negatively impacted by any development.”
Don Shewan, who lives in Echo Hill and was on the panel of objectors at the Therfield Heath inquiry, said: “it’s speculative, but my neighbours are right to be concerned.
“At the heath inquiry we were talking about the disruption and impact on parking to do with the building of eight homes, and this is for 120.
“It’s impossible – emergency services have trouble getting up Briary Lane as it is.
“If this does go to planning and people want to start an opposition group, they will need a lot of time and means. The heath inquiry took up two weeks in which we were off work, so you can imagine the cost.
“Gladman is trying it on. I can’t believe that a sensible planning department would allow this as it is.”
Town councillor Rod Kennedy said: “Gladman have a lot of speculative planning applications in the area and I can’t blame them for making a living.
“People will have their concerns, but it’s not the time to say why you oppose the development as it’s a speculative application and not a planning application. Go away Gladman!”
The Crow contacted Gladman, but a spokeswoman declined to comment.