Plans to build 142 homes on the site of a former hotel in Hatfield have been approved.

Councillors who voted to approve the planning application for the Beales Hotel site, opposite The Galleria in Comet Way, at a meeting on Thursday, February 8.

The plans were approved after concerns about a lack of affordable housing as part of the development, with a previous appraisal suggested none should be provided.

Ten per cent affordable housing will now be provided after plans were revised, and although this is way below the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan requirement of 25 per cent, Conservative Handside councillor Fiona Thompson was keen to praise Hatfield Park Homes Ltd for "having a re-think".

Welwyn Hatfield Times: 10 per cent affordable housing will be provided at the development.10 per cent affordable housing will be provided at the development. (Image: Hatfield Park Homes/Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council)

"For me, I think the key concern was the lack of any affordable housing, so I’m very pleased to see the revised viability review and the addition of some affordable homes," she said.

“I like the design. I know other colleagues had different views, but that’s in the eye of the beholder, and I’m very pleased to see each unit has a balcony – that’s very important since COVID.

"I’d really like to commend the developers for having a re-think.

"We have three and a half thousand people on our housing needs register, and I

think developers are part of the solution, and so their responsibility is to work with us.

"I’m very pleased you’ve come back with a revised proposal. Obviously, I’d like to see 30 per cent, but I am realistic, so I will accept 10 per cent."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Hatfield Town Council objected to the plans.Hatfield Town Council objected to the plans. (Image: Hatfield Park Homes/Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council)

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Liberal Democrat Peartree councillor Russ Platt also raised the issue of no social housing at the development, and when asked if this could be change, he was told by meeting chair and Lib Dem Sherrard councillor Jean-Paul Bernard Skoczylas that they were "not here to negotiate".

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s development management committee debated the proposals after an objection from Hatfield Town Council.

Speaking at the meeting, a town council representative claimed that "platoons of traffic" close to the development site would "lead to rear-end collisions and near misses".

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The former Beales Hotel in Comet Way.The former Beales Hotel in Comet Way. (Image: Archant)

"This is a large development with a large number of one-bedroom dwellings," they continued.

"These dwellings are likely to attract students and the two or three-bedroom flats, couples and families. This is a difficult mix and is unlikely to provide a cohesive community."

A representative for applicant Hatfield Park Homes Ltd added: "There is no policy basis to refuse the application on affordable housing grounds.

"Ultimately, there is a proven local need for the housing sizes proposed, and the scheme will help meet the shortfall and meet the needs of different households."