Bishop's Stortford: Herts County Council approves sale of derelict house in Grange Road to benefit Herts and Essex High School sports facilities
A house in Bishop's Stortford left derelict for decades has finally been cleared for sale by Hertfordshire County Council.
The proceeds will be put towards improved sports facilities for Herts and Essex High School and for the community.
The 1930s three-bedroom bay-fronted detached property in Grange Road jointly belongs to the secondary school. Most recently, land to its eastern side has been used as a parking area by kitchen staff but is no longer required following enhancements on the main campus.
Eden Rock Construction, of Saffron Walden, has asked East Herts Council (EHC) for planning permission to demolish the house and replace it with two four-bedroom dwellings.
A statement to the local authority says: "The principal of the Hertfordshire and Essex [High] School has confirmed that the school is in need of the funds to be secured by the sale of the land and it will be used [for] enhanced school facilities at Beldams Lane and the new playing fields at Bowling Lane, which are available for both school and community use.
"The area to the rear of the house was formerly used as a nature area for the use of the school; this has not been maintained for over 10 years and is now heavily overgrown and contains a pond."
In the face of opposition from neighbours, who argue the building plans represent over-development of the site, the scheme has already been revised once, but residents' objections remain and the application is set to be determined by EHC.
Colin Woodward, until recently the Herts county councillor for Bishop's Stortford West, said that the house had been empty for more than 20 years and he had lobbied to get "this long-neglected property into productive use as a home".
"It was its long abandonment by the school that first led me to investigate following local residents' complaints about the state of the garden," he said.
"Sadly, a potential home has been unused for some 20-plus years – and robbed fairly expertly of its piping – when there have been many in need and pressure to build in Stortford that might have been eased by returning unused houses into the stock."
Eden Rock Construction said of its scheme: "The design strategy has been to create contemporary high-quality housing that will enhance and contribute positively to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and neighbouring homes of architectural importance, on an unsightly piece of land home to a vacant building and completely overgrown, unmaintained plot."