Residents set for protest over plan

ANGRY residents are planning a mass protest tonight (Thursday). They are upset over propsals which will see the development of a site in the middle of a quiet residential area. And plans for the site in Heathfield have been branded as creating a building

ANGRY residents are planning a mass protest tonight (Thursday).

They are upset over propsals which will see the development of a site in the middle of a quiet residential area.

And plans for the site in Heathfield have been branded as creating a building which resembles a "factory" or an "office block".

The proposal is to demolish the exisiting dwelling on a corner site in Heathfield, and replace it with a five-bedroom property.


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But one of the protesters, Cllr Rod Kennedy, who lives in Heathfield, is hoping that North Herts District Council's planning control committee will defer a decision at tonight's meeting.

He said that this would allow the council's planning department and the developer to discuss the scheme.

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But a report to committee members recommends that the plan should be given the go-ahead.

Planning officer Naomi Reynard said in the report that she did not believe that the scheme would "necessarily strike a discordant note" in the area.

She said it maybe argued that such a scheme would reinforce the "sense of distinctiveness" in Heathfield.

She said, too: "In my opinion the area is characterised by dwellings of a varied and diverse nature, both in terms of architectural style and age.

"If there is any sense of place or distinctiveness in the street scene it is perhaps represented by dwellings of their time constructed with little or no deference to established historical architectural precedent."

This is the second proposal for the site which has seen reduction in its "size and mass".

The report stressed that the proposed property would "not be out of character" with the rest of Heathfield.

It added that there was nothing against the priciple of a property of contemporary design on the site.

But 48 residents in Heathfield have signed a protest petition objecting to the plan.

They said that the proposal was "visually intrusive" and "out of character" in the area.

In a protest letter to the district council one resident said: "The proposal is out of keeping with the semi-rural ambience of the area.

"The proposal would harm the character and appearance of the area."

There was the concern, too, that allowing such a scheme could set a precedent.

Earlier this month, members of Royton Town Council's planning committee said they could not support the scheme.

One resident, Graham Benstead, told the committee, that the development would "stick out like a sore thumb".

He said it gave the appearance of a "factory" or an "office block".

And speaking as a resident at the committee meeting, Cllr Kennedy said: "It is an over-dominate building and the design is unacceptable. It is not visually acceptable.

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