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Developer withdraws Bushey Hall Road plan as officers reveal they recommended turning it down
Residents opposing plans to build a new sheltered housing scheme overlooking their homes have vowed to continue to fight the build, despite proposals being suddenly withdrawn by the developer.
Abbeyfield applied to demolish two buildings it already owns in Bushey Hall Road and construct two three storey buildings, comprising of 22 flats for elderly residents, connected by a further two storey building.
The flats would have replaced the two existing buildings, 61 and 63 Bushey Hall Road, which have been deemed “unfit for purpose”, and the facility will provide an "extra care" scheme – independent living in self-contained flats, with a provision of communal facilities.
But Abbeyfield has withdrawn its plans after Hertsmere Borough Council planning officers indicated it would not approve the proposals.
According to a report by planning officers, it would seek to refuse planning permission, because there was confusion over proposed usage – it was believed the build would fall under a residential institution, but now falls under a residential development.
As such, the development would have implications for affordable housing, parking provision, and amenity provision.
The document states: "Development will be required to make provision for environment works, infrastructure and community facilities, services and other needs that are directly related to it, and necessary to the grant of planning permission.
"Developers will be required to provide, or to finance the cost of, all such provision which is fairly and reasonably related to the scale and kind to the development.
"Provision for public open space, public leisure facilities, playing fields, greenways, cemeteries, museums and cultural facilities and S106 monitoring has not been secured. The application therefore fails to adequately address the environmental works, infrastructure, greenways, sports and recreation and community facility requirements arising as a consequence of the proposed form of development.
"The proposal does not mitigate through financial contributions the impact of the proposed development on local infrastructure and facilities.
"The site would be expected to provide 35 per cent of units as affordable housing. The applicant has failed to propose any affordable housing units as part of the overall scheme.
"Residential developments are required to provide sufficient parking spaces. The scheme has been assessed against the provisions of the Parking Standards SPD 2008 (revised 2010) and subsequently, a shortfall of 30 car parking spaces has been identified. For 22 units this is considered to be unacceptable because it will result in indiscriminate car parking on the local highway network.
"The application has failed to provide sufficient information to demonstrate the presence or otherwise of bats within the existing development so that the Local Planning Authority may adequately assess the proposal. However, in the absence of sufficient details, it is considered that the proposal would likely have an adverse impact on bat species and their habitat."
Ian Shermer, 51, who lives in Grove Hall Road, is one of many residents spearheading a campaign to stop the build.
He said: "Of course we’re delighted it’s been withdrawn. It’s a horrible development, and we will fight it all the way.
"But we’re not ready to celebrate just yet. We know Abbeyfield will come back with something else."
Conservative Councillor Leslie Winters said he would continue to back the residents’ campaign.
He said:"I’m really rather annoyed by the whole thing. There is a lovely village feel to where developers are proposing to build, what they want to do would cause a blight."
Nathan Smith, from Abbeyfield, said the decision to withdraw the planning application was to focus on the reasons detailed within the planning officers’ report, and that Abbeyfield would be engaging with planning officers over the coming weeks on these issues.
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