Controversial plans to redevelop Kytes Drive have been dealt a blow after the county council recommended they be refused.

Care home provider Anchor submitted proposals to Watford Borough Council in November to demolish the site's existing 56 bungalows and build 146 homes.

They were met with fierce local opposition, as the estate was built in 1948 for war veterans. Although many of its residents are now people with disabilities, many have voiced concerns over being forced to temporarily move and fear the new homes will be unsuitable.

If approved, the plans would see 63 two-storey houses built, along with a three-storey apartment with 71 flats. There would also be two flats within an existing building, and Listed Building Consent to retain Kytes House for 10 dwellings. 

However, Hertfordshire County Council, which is responsible for Highways, has outlined 10 "concerns" to WBC in a response recommending refusal.

Among them was criticism that the developer had not provided analysis of the quality of pedestrian and cycle routes around the site, or a lack of detail on the types of cycle parking for Kytes House and the retirement apartments.

It added that the proposed estate road does not fit Hertfordshire’s design standards, while the pavement appears to be narrower than the recommended width.

HCC recommended the developer consider the pavement width “carefully with appropriate analysis” due to the high volume of mobility scooters on the estate.

The developer’s use of the 2021 traffic data to model the impact on the A405/St Albans Road junction was labelled “unacceptable”, due to 2021's disrupted traffic patterns during the pandemic.

The lack of a road safety audit and the lack of a parking study of the additional vehicles on the surrounding area were also raised as concerns.

Watford Observer: An artists impression of proposed general needs housing at Kytes Drive. An artists impression of proposed general needs housing at Kytes Drive. (Image: PRP / Watford Borough Council)

Watford Borough Council will ultimately decide whether or not to grant planning permission.

An Anchor spokesperson said: “We have noted the comments received from statutory bodies as part of the application determination process and will look to work with the relevant stakeholder to address the matters raised.”

Defending the plans, they added that the proposal to regenerate Kytes Drive is "driven by a need to create more and better affordable housing for the local community, including older people".

“The regeneration will create more better quality, energy efficient homes for current and future residents fit-for-purpose, while fostering intergenerational communities and doubling the amount of affordable housing on the estate. 

“As well as offering new homes to existing residents, the proposals mean much needed-new homes for many others, including those with disabilities and veterans.”

Bob Sparkes, 70, who lives with his blind wife in one of the bungalows, previously launched a petition opposing the redevelopment in July 2023.

Watford MP Dean Russell also said last month: "I am growing increasingly concerned that, despite promises to listen to residents, the developers are failing to listen to the ever-growing resident concerns."