Controversial blueprint reveals where Welwyn Hatfield homes may go over next 20 years
PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 October 2012
FOR the first time the Welwyn Hatfield Times can reveal where councillors want to build thousands of homes over the next 20 years.
Until now, specific sites have not been named in Welwyn Hatfield Council’s emerging strategy – but a map has now been released showing where a total of 7,227 homes could be built.
Development will be focused around WGC and Hatfield, with more than 2,100 homes set to go up in Green Belt land.
Urban extensions to the south of WGC and south west of Hatfield are planned – and the map shows sites which have been put forward by landowners for possible development.
A lengthy report sent to councillors says the site currently in use as Panshanger Aerodrome, to the north east of WGC, could be suitable for around 700 homes.
And around 2,000 could be built on agricultural land to the north west of Hatfield – named Hat1 on the map.
The council has said this site has the “potential to create a sustainable new neighbourhood, although this will result in demands for infrastructure”.
Plans to build around 1,400 homes to the west of Hatfield – Hat2 on the map – are also being considered, but officials say it is “less suitable” than other options because of strain to the roads network.
A Green Belt site west of Ellenbrook – Hat3 on the map – would have potential for 175 new homes, and a council assessment says it is suitable to be brought forward.
But officials have ruled the sites coloured pink on the map as not suitable for development.
Among them is New Barnfield, to the south of Hatfield, where a controversial incinerator has been proposed.
A study by Welwyn Hatfield Council warned that if the waste plant goes ahead, roads would not be able to cope with the pressures of housing.
Councillor Kieran Thorpe, who heads the opposition Labour group, blasted the plans, saying residents’ views had been ignored.
He went on to single out infrastructure problems and the amount of affordable housing that will be provided as potential problems, with Hatfield set to grow by 3,286 homes and WGC increasing by 3,147.
Two of the sites, Hat3 and WGC4 on the map above, cross over boundaries into neighbouring authorities.
Cllr Malcom Cowan, Lib Dem, said: “In terms of housing, I have to say I’m very unhappy about the East Herts proposal (WGC4), it’s sprawling Welwyn Garden City too far – it is not viable.
“We don’t know how compassionate East Herts will be and it could be a monster we can’t control.”
Cllr Mandy Perkins, head of planning and business, Conservative, said the core strategy plan “will not be acceptable to all of the community” but it should go to consultation.