Bishop's Stortford North builders want to add 111 homes to first phase of development
The housebuilders behind the Stortford Fields estate have asked to add 111 homes to the first phase of the development to suit a shifting housing market.
The planning application to East Herts Council makes it clear that the move to add more two- and three-bedroom properties will not alter the overall total of 2,200 homes being built by Taylor Wimpey, Bovis Homes, Kier Living and Persimmon Homes by 2026.
The estate has been planned in two phases – western and eastern – with no agreed totals for either as part of the original planning permission, although detailed drawings for the first, western stage show 857 properties. It is those that are being changed in the submission to EHC.
In a letter to the planning authority, the agent for the Bishop’s Stortford North (BSN) consortium of developers says: “The reason for amending the drawings is to allow for a redistribution between the western and eastern phase.
“Such revision is deemed necessary as a result of significant changes in market conditions and customer expectations since the 2013 submission of the initial application for the site.
“The BSN consortium have principally introduced these changes to increase the amount of two- and three-bed properties that allow for a more saleable mix to be introduced which addresses changing market conditions and also due to the proposed ‘land take’ of the proposed primary school.”
The new campus near Hoggate's Wood has reduced the amount of land available for housebuilding by Bovis, which it is seeking to correct at other locations.
Since the application was approved in 2015, there has been a raft of “non-material” alterations to the blueprint, agreed between the developers and the council.
Once complete, Stortford Fields will include two new primary schools and a secondary campus straddling the A120 bypass, two mixed-use local centres with shops and healthcare facilities, sports and play area facilities and allotments,.
Four new junctions – onto the A120, Hadham Road, Rye Street and Farnham Road – will filter traffic in and out of the new streets, supplemented by footpaths and cycleways.
So far, just one household has responded to the proposed amendment.
James Boodrie and his wife, who live in Robert Wallace Close, off Lindsey Road, said the consultation letter sent by East Herts Council was incomprehensible.
“It seems to be just a very large paragraph littered with semicolons and brackets which, to me, forms a deliberate attempt to confuse recipients and put them off responding with a clear comment, be it for or against – presumably against would simply be an exercise in futility anyway. What no doubt is planned to go ahead will go ahead anyway, as has been the case so far.
“Just sending out this format of a letter can only be viewed by me as a waste of ratepayers' money. If you are going to submit a notification then please at least make it user-friendly and give the recipient a chance.”