Residents angry over homes plan
RESIDENTS last night (Wednesday) were set to protest over a controversial housing development scheme. They are angry about plans to develop a site in Green Drift, Royston – and have said the scheme is contrary to planning policy. They spelled-out their ca
RESIDENTS last night (Wednesday) were set to protest over a controversial housing development scheme.
They are angry about plans to develop a site in Green Drift, Royston - and have said the scheme is contrary to planning policy.
They spelled-out their case to members of Royston Town Council's planning committee on Monday evening when it was considering a re-submitted scheme for the site.
The revised plans still include the development of 14 houses on the site, but have seen a number of "cosmetic" changes.
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In an eloquent speech from Elizabeth Hale, who was representing the residents, she said: "We can understand the pressure councils are under to provide homes, but this plan is beyond the minimum requirements for a site of this size."
She claimed: "The residents will be the victims of a debatable planning decision before they start to move in.
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"There is no excuse for so much cramming on the site."
She described the scheme as "designing by numbers".
"It's high density in a low density area," said Mrs Hale.
She continued that under Government planning guidelines there were nine dwellings more than would be accepted for the site.
The residents said it would be more acceptable to cut the number of houses down to 10.
"As it stands at the moment the development would harm the character and the appearance of the area," she said.
She pointed out, too, that during the past 20 years a stretch of Green Drift has seen housing increase from 16 properties to 70 properties.
"We have absorbed more than our fair share," she said.
Councillor Rod Kennedy said the scheme gave the appearance of "thoughtless planning" of the kind that was destroying communities.
He said North Herts District Council should not consider approving the plan when it is against planning policy.
He believed, however, that at some time a scheme for the site would be approved but the current application was not acceptable.
"There are two outcomes in refusing the scheme. The developer will either call for a planning inquiry or amend the application," he said.
Committee chairman Councillor Bill Prime said it did appear that the scheme was being looked at in "black-and-white" rather than on its impact on the area.
He said that a compromise had to be reached over developing the site.
And Councillor Lindsay Davidson claimed that the developers, Croudace Homes, were a "cut-throat lot".
"They will keep going at this and will not give up and will probably get their way," she said.
The planning committee said it could not support the scheme as it was an over-development of the site and out-of-keeping with the area.
Last night, the district council's Royston area committee was due to decide on the planning application.
It was being recommended in a planning report to approve the scheme in spite of almost 50 objections to the project.
The report said: "Although the concerns of residents are understandable they would not amount to sustainable reasons for refusal.
"There are no sustainable planning objections to raise to this proposal."
The report said the scheme had been "sensitively designed" and was a good site for additional housing.