Residents oppose plans for 'back-to-back concrete' development in crowded town estate

Mick Fox and residents are against the plans

Mick Fox and residents are against the plans

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A Watford housing association’s controversial planning application to build dozens of new homes on a cramped town estate has been resubmitted - but residents say the "back-to-back concrete" plans still aren’t good enough.

Watford Community Housing Trust withdrew its original application for Boundary Way after councillors slated the design as "East German and Russian" and residents raised more than 100 objections.

However, it has now submitted revised proposals to Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council for consideration.

Changes made to the plans include removing the external walkways to the flats, reducing the number of new homes from 70 to 56 and altering the landscaping proposals.

But residents say the trust hasn’t listened and is still trying to cram too many homes into the packed estate.

Mick Fox, who lives in Boundary Way, said: "We are still objecting to most of it. The estate is already closed in, we want more greenery or we want them to leave the estate alone.

"The trust has listened to some things, but they don’t seem to understand there is a big parking issue - and that has always been our primary concern.

"More property means more people, which means more cars. It’s not rocket science and that equation to me doesn’t seem to work for this estate."

The new application seeks to demolish 24 existing flats together with the shop and its flat and the community facility, and remove garages around the estate.

In its place, the trust plans to build 56 new homes, ranging from one-bed, two-person flats to three-bed, five-person houses.

In addition, they plan to develop a new shop and community facility for the residents and carry out landscaping works to improve the main carriageway and play areas.

Mr Fox said residents approve of having a new community facility, but the rest of the development is not acceptable.

A further 12 objections have been posted on the Watford Borough Council planning website, and one comment in support of the application.

An identical application was submitted to Three Rivers District Council, as the Boundary Way estate straddles the two boroughs, which has raised 64 objections and one neutral comment and one comment in support of the scheme.

In support, one resident said: "I think the whole area looks very grey and run down and therefore welcome any redevelopment, especially the planting of greenery in the area.

"I also do not mind if the garages are removed as I don't see many people using them for cars and alot of them seem to be filled with rubbish. If the garages are removed and replaced with car parks I think that there will be enough parking."

But objectors stated: "Boundary Way is over populated as it is. Garages are ugly but at least single storey so there is some air circulation.

"Parking is already a problem and these plans do not address the problem."

Another asked the council to deny planning permission "for this ridiculous and totally insane scheme to shoehorn properties into an already overcrowded estate".

While one resident said: "We are already back to back in concrete... We have no gardens to the front of our homes and only minuscule patches of greenery across the whole of the area."

Euan Barr, head of New Business at Watford Community Housing Trust, said: "We took on board the comments made at the Planning Committee meeting in May and made a number of changes to our proposals, including reducing the number of homes and changing the layout of the scheme. 

"We’ve looked at the site very carefully and we believe that our plans now provide the right balance of new homes and much improved facilities for local residents, including better parking. 

"It’s now for the planning committee to decide whether the development should proceed and we look forward to hearing their conclusions."

www.boundarywayconsultation.co.uk.

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