Developers submit plans for 163 new homes opposite Bishop's Stortford fire and ambulance stations
Detailed plans for 163 new homes on a site set aside for a new secondary school in Bishop's Stortford have been submitted.
Developers Taylor Wimpey and Charles Church have submitted their blueprint for a range of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and apartments on land opposite the fire and ambulance station in Patmore Close, off Hadham Road, to East Herts Council.
The scheme was approved in principle in 2016 after Herts County Council brokered a land swap with builders. The education authority reserved the plot for a new secondary in the 1960s and it has been maintained as open land for the past half-century, although it is no longer large enough for a modern school and playing fields.
It was earmarked for housing development after plans for more than 2,500 properties at Stortford North – the Stortford Fields and St Michael's Hurst estates – included a new secondary school straddling the A120 bypass.
A further plot to the west is the subject of a separate, outline planning application for 84 homes. The two schemes will provide joint open space and open up Skelleys Wood to the public for the first time.
The proposals have prompted concerns from neighbours – not least that such an important application is being discussed while the country is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Alan Hare, who lives nearby at Marshbarns, has told East Herts Council that consideration of the scheme should be postponed until the documents can be freely inspected at the authority's Bishop's Stortford offices in The Causeway.
He said that the site's access was ill-defined and warned: "We in Marshbarns would object strenuously to any exit onto Marshbarns, pedestrian or otherwise, as this would totally wreck the amenity value by turning a tranquil cul-de-sac, bordered by peaceful wood, into a seriously disturbing thoroughfare."
He expressed residents' concerns about flooding in the area. "Previous documents have based their assessment of the likelihood of flooding on distance from the river (Stort). But again, now, we put on record the fact that the pond in the corner of the land bordering our property overflows at times of high rainfall.
"We would seek clear, detailed and full assurance from you now that the proposal, were it to be approved, would attend to this drainage problem and remedy it completely."
In a statement to the district council, applicants Taylor Wimpey and Charles Church conclude: "This proposal to create 163 houses and apartments, plus associated infrastructure and public open space, has been designed to make efficient use of land available for development, create a scheme with a sense of place and enhance the character of the suburban area to the west of the town centre. As such, planning permission should be granted without delay."