Fresh plans for nearly 1,500 homes on Welwyn Garden City’s Shredded Wheat site

PUBLISHED: 14:03 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:19 09 October 2017

A mock-up of how planners could potentially bring public art and the silos together as part of the scheme.

A mock-up of how planners could potentially bring public art and the silos together as part of the scheme.

Archant

Fresh plans for nearly 1,500 homes to be built on Welwyn Garden City’s former Shredded Wheat site have been met with cautious optimism.

Nigel Quinton and Malcolm Cowan outside the former Shredded Wheat factory. Nigel Quinton and Malcolm Cowan outside the former Shredded Wheat factory.

After Tesco sold the Broadwater Road site in June, proposals for around 850 homes were approved by the borough council and included in its Local Plan.

But following a public meeting last week, developer Plutus Estates said plans were in the pipeline to raise the number of homes to 1,471, with 30 per cent earmarked to be affordable housing.

WGC Society chairman Will Davis said the ideas were “fairly encouraging”, adding the developers came across well and had clearly done their research.

He added: “In terms of what it will mean for the town it’s difficult to say without seeing more detail.

Will Davis. Will Davis.

“It means 600-plus more people living near the town centre, and then there are issues like parking and traffic to think about, but the developers seem to be aware of that and factoring that in their plans.”

Lib Dem borough councillor Malcolm Cowan said Plutus explained it would be working in partnership with a housing association, which along with an increase in social housing was a key Lib Dem demand.

“This is a phenomenal number of homes,” he added, “and we are concerned about the density and building heights proposed.

“But the very welcome increase in social housing proposed should allow for at least one Green Belt site to be removed from the Local Plan.”

He also praised “ambitious” plans to enhance the rusting rail footbridge, while fellow Lib Dem and county councillor Nigel Quinton stressed that the homes must be affordable in practice, with a significant number allocated for social rent.

John West, spokesman for Plutus Estates, said: “We are delighted to have bought the Shredded Wheat factory site and are already clearing and preparing the site for the demolition of the non-listed buildings.

“We are proposing a new planning application to increase the number of homes, the number of affordable homes, create a new civic quarter and introduce public art.

“By changing the way the development was originally proposed, we hope to give more back to the community and make a real contribution to Welwyn Garden City.

“We shared our early thinking with councillors and the public at the forum last week and look forward to consulting with the community next month.”

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