Plans for 2,550 homes in Welwyn Garden City divide opinion

PUBLISHED: 11:29 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 July 2017

A map of where the proposed new suburb would be

A map of where the proposed new suburb would be

Archant

Updated plans for 2,550 homes in Welwyn Garden City were met with mixed reactions following landowner Tarmac's latest consultations.

Residents at the Birchall Garden Suburb consultationResidents at the Birchall Garden Suburb consultation

The Birchall Garden Suburb project involves creating a new “garden-themed” suburb on land either side of the B195, and last week’s public exhibition was the third since 2015.

Casting their eyes over the updated proposals, many residents remained concerned about the size of the project – along with its knock-on effect on already stretched infrastructure.

Linda Caswell, of Little Ganett, said she was worried that there were only two roundabout entry and exit points into the entire site north of Birchall Lane.

John Blanch and his wife LenaJohn Blanch and his wife Lena

“There will be a lot of traffic coming through our streets that are pretty much chockablock anyway,” she said. “Everyone is going to be selfish about where they live.”

A key alteration to the plans is the mineral extraction, which has been scaled back from 24 hectares – around 24 football pitches – to seven.

The company is now hoping the work would take a year, down from 10, but a Tarmac spokesman confirmed that the alterations are subject to county council approval.

Linda CaswellLinda Caswell

Other changes include a local centre being relocated to face Birchall Lane, improved cycle routes and a “wildlife only corridor” to The Commons Local Nature Reserve.

Panshanger resident John Blanch, 73, said: “It seems from what they said they are not going to build on the waste site, it’s going to be left green, but it is just crowding more and more in to WGC – it’s a huge development really.

“If it follows the garden city principles that’s a plus.”

Panshanger resident Kate ThomsonPanshanger resident Kate Thomson

John’s wife Lena added: “Is there going to be enough employment locally for this amount of housing?

“The worrying thing nationally is people are having to travel more. If there is more employment locally you could accept housing could work.”

Teacher Kate Thomson from Panshanger said: “When it’s actually built what is going to happen to the road system, it’s going to find it very hard to take this amount of traffic.

“On the other hand I like that there is a lot of green and cycle lanes. I also like the idea of a new secondary school.”

The Tarmac spokesman said feedback would continue to mould the final proposals before a planning application is submitted later this year.

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