Could ‘garden suburb’ plans move closer for Welwyn Garden City?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 February 2014

The Birchall Garden Suburb design

The Birchall Garden Suburb design

Archant

A new ‘garden suburb’ looks set to be developed on the south east of Welwyn Garden City – but not by the borough council.

Cllr Mandy Perkins fields questions form Welwyn residentsCllr Mandy Perkins fields questions form Welwyn residents

Neighbouring East Herts Council has highlighted the 1,700 homes site in its planning blueprint for the future, although the designs have yet to go out to consultation.

The proposal – dubbed Birchall Garden Suburb in initial designs – on Lafarge Tarmac’s land, has caused concern for Welwyn Hatfield councillors.

Planning portfolio holder councillor Mandy Perkins told the Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel last Thursday talks were ongoing with the neighbouring authority.

She said: “I can give you an assurance that [the talks] are happening.

"It’s very difficult, it’s very challenging and it doesn’t make us best friends at the time."

Councillor Mandy Perkins

“It’s very difficult, it’s very challenging and it doesn’t make us best friends at the time.”

Most of the site is in East Herts territory, despite bordering Welwyn Garden City.

But borough officials are talking to East Herts in a bid to be able to include some of the homes – on land which lies within Welwyn Hatfield’s boundary – to offset their own housing quota.

That area, however, does not currently form part of the borough’s 20 year homes plan.

Although questions are being asked if East Herts will accept the proposal.

Lib Dem Cllr Malcolm Cowan said the authority is in “a very difficult situation”.

Welwyn Hatfield Council will make its views clear on the proposal, but Cllr Perkins is unsure how it will be received.

“If it was East Herts saying can I have 400 of your houses, which is what we are asking for, what would you say?” she said.

Welwyn Hatfield’s housing plan – dubbed the Emerging Core Strategy – is still being worked on, with studies currently being carried out by officers.

It proposes siting 7,227 homes centred around Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, with more than 2,100 set to go up on Green Belt land.


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