St Michael's Hurst affordable homes 'too close to roundabout'
The builder behind Bishop's Stortford's new St Michael's Hurst estate is under fire for its positioning of affordable homes.
Countryside Properties is currently constructing a range of two- to five-bed properties in what it calls an “exclusive new development”.
For the past four decades, the site bordering Farnham Road and Hazel End Road, close to the junction of Rye Street and Michael’s Road, has been known as ASR (Area of Special Restraint) 5.
ASRs 1 to 4 are now known as Stortford Fields and that new estate – which is being developed by a consortium of four housebuilders: Bovis Homes, Persimmon, Keir and Taylor Wimpey – will comprise 2,200 new homes inside the A120 bypass. The two estates will share primary and secondary school provision, although sites have yet to be confirmed.
Countryside was granted outline planning permission in June 2016 for 329 homes – a quarter of them for affordable purposes. East Herts District Council has now been asked to approve “reserved matters” for phase B of the scheme for 128 properties, including 33 affordable, plus details of access, landscaping and parking.
When Bishop’s Stortford Town Council was asked to comment officially, Cllr Philip Demonti, chairman of its planning and development committee, spoke out about the decision to build the social housing close to a new roundabout and junction under construction near the Mountbatten Indian restaurant.
He said: “Because they’re affordable houses, they have pushed them to the maximum up against that roundabout, on the top of the bank.”
He was concerned about the impact on the new residents of what he described as bijou buildings with very small gardens.
“They’re people with young families and not sufficiently well off to afford anything better. The developer should have more concern.
“When that [roundabout] is busy, there’s going to be a lot of congestion and fumes, and that’s going to be very unhealthy for young children. I really do feel that needs to be taken into consideration and should be mentioned.”