Royston councillors slam ‘cunning’ land developer Gladman at annual town meeting

The site of the proposed Gladman development next to Briary Lane. Picture: David Hatton

The site of the proposed Gladman development next to Briary Lane. Picture: David Hatton - Credit: Archant

Royston Town Council urged residents not to respond to the speculative development consultation for 120 homes near Therfield Heath by land agent Gladman, branding the move as “cunning”.

Gladman put brochures of the 120-home proposal on land off Royston’s Briary Lane through doors last month ago and asked for residents to submit their views.

When asked if they support the proposal, councillors taking part in a Q&A session with the audience at the end of the yearly review meeting – which was attended by county, district and town councillors – stressed this was a speculative application, and that no formal planning application had been made.

The town council was criticised for a lack of action on the matter, to which the response was that it would not be for them to make a decision on.

Councillor Lindsay Davidson, chairman of the town council’s planning committee, said: “We do not have any power in this committee the district council who have the power not us, we will look at it from a planning point of view and can make recommendations if there is an application.

“But we have not had any formal application because what they want to do is get residents’ feedback first and see if it is viable for them – it’s a cunning little plan.

“We are saying to people to not talk to them. Residents have been coming to us individually asking what to do and we have said don’t talk to them. They use feedback against the residents so we are saying don’t fall for it – when you get that letter tell them you’d only respond to a planning application.”

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Councillors said they did not know about the development beforehand, despite a claim that they were sent a document by Gladman in 2015.

District councillor Tony Hunter said he couldn’t give an opinion now as it’s not how the NHDC planning committe process works.

Fellow district councillor Fiona Hill – who represents Heath Ward, which covers the location of the proposal – said that neither she nor Sarah Dingley had received the proposal leaflet despite both representing the ward, but other members had.

Town councillor Rod Kennedy said: “Gladman have got a fight on their hands. There is no planning application, so it’s up to them to find out if this is worth them throwing their money at or going somewhere else.”

The Crow contacted Gladman, who declined to comment.