Royston convenience store plan thrown out

A CONTROVERSIAL convenience store plan which attracted flack from residents, councillors and business owners has been thrown out by North Herts District Council.

The proposal would have seen the town’s former cattle market, which is currently a car park on Market Hill, transformed into a store operated by a major retailer with four flats on top of the shop.

However officers at the district council took issue with Manhattan Corporation’s design and also thought it would impact on the safety of those using the square.

A statement on the planning application read: “The massing, form, fenestration and materials of the proposed development, rather than embellishing their respective elevations, serve to create architecturally fussy elevations to the detriment of the building’s design which would be harmful to the character and appearance of Royston Conservation Area and the setting of nearby listed buildings.

“Therefore, it is not considered that the scheme would make a positive contribution to the character and local distinctiveness of the historic environment.”

More than 500 signatures were collected opposing the proposal in a campaign spearheaded by Market Hill resident Guy Snell, who believed the convenience store would have proved detrimental to the high street.

“We are delighted NHDC has refused Manhattan’s proposal,” he said.

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“We are not against development of the old cattle market, but this is a prominent site within our conservation area and Royston deserves a much higher quality scheme than we have seen to date.

“In any future proposal we would like to see a reduction in size, particularly height and a design that attracts people to the town centre.”

Manhattan Corporation had confirmed it has been speaking to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Waitrose about operating the 3,750 sq ft store.

Royston Town Council unanimously voted against the scheme at a meeting held last month.