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Free bus passes for three months for buyers of new homes at St Michael's Hurst

New households at St Michael’s Hurst will be given two free bus passes for three months as part of planning permission for 150 extra houses and a care home at the Bishop’s Stortford estate.

Planning officers at East Herts Council are recommending that councillors on the development management committee approve Countryside’s application for phase two of the development.

Originally the developer wanted to build 329 homes and a primary school on the land off Rye Street and the junction of Hazel End and Michael’s Road. It was granted outline permission in 2016.

Phases A and B – for 219 properties in all – are under way. Countryside has decided that phases C and D for the 65-acre (26.3-hectare) plot, formerly known as Area of Special Restraint (ASR) 5, should include an extra 150 houses (up from 110 to 260) and a 66-bed care home, which were granted permission separately in September.

Herts County Council is negotiating with the town council to buy neighbouring land formerly used for allotments for use as the site of one of two new primary schools for families at St Michael's Hurst and the Stortford Fields estate of 2,200 homes built on ASRs 1 to 4.

When the committee meets tonight (Wed Dec 5) members must decide if the 45% increase to 479 homes complies with the council’s policies on density and mix – including provision of affordable housing. They must also consider whether the environmental, economic and social impact of the increase is acceptable on the 23.6-acre (9.54ha) plot.

It is proposed that 104 of the 260 properties will be for rent or shared ownership – in compliance with East Herts’ aims and an improvement on Phases A and B, where just 25% were allocated.

The report to the committee says: “As regards the proposed mix of affordable dwelling sizes, it is broadly in line with the requirements of the District Plan, but a reduction in the number of two-beds in favour of an increase in the three- and four-beds would provide a better match with current affordable housing needs in the district.

"The tenure split needs to be agreed with the applicant and the District Plan sets out a ratio of 84% affordable rent to 16% intermediate.”

The town council has objected to the extra homes, saying Rye Street will not be able to cope with the additional traffic.

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