Flats complex bid to house Hatfield students

HOMES could be demolished to make way for blocks of flats to resolve Hatfield’s growing student population.

But residents who live near the University of Hertfordshire are up in arms about the plans being considered by a developer.

Although a planning application has yet to be submitted, WG Developments is looking to build three blocks to accommodate 552 students in College Lane and Roe Green Close.

The news comes as the University of Hertfordshire withdrew a planning application to Welwyn Hatfield Council for the erection of five temporary student accommodation buildings on the College Lane campus.

One concerned Chantry Lane resident told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the new plans could result in the demolition of nine privately-owned properties.

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He said: “This modern-looking commercial development would be out of character with the surrounding area which is a shame.

“A lot of people are upset about it and a lot are against it.

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“I don’t know anyone who is for it.

“The litter, car parking and anti-social behaviour is a problem now so with the new development it may be even worse.”

The 68-year-old added: “If the building of student accommodation increases, in years to come there may be no private properties left in College Lane.”

A fellow resident, of Roe Green Close, agreed.

The 74-year-old said: “I object to the plans due to the encroachment into residential areas.

“Despite the university telling various stories as to whether they support the proposal or not I am told that they have been inputting ideas into the development.”

Wayne Gold for WG Developments said they were in “detailed conversations with the university” about the scheme.

He said: “At an exhibition last week generally local people did not appear to be that happy with the scheme. We have taken their comments onboard and are making a few changes which we will reveal in due course.”

Mr Gold added he hoped to submit a planning application to Welwyn Hatfield Council in a “few weeks’ time”.

Andrew May, director of estates at the University of Hertfordshire, said the “unprecedented” demand for higher education courses had resulted in more students applying to the university than ever before.

He said: “It is important for us to respond to this change of circumstances from a long-term perspective.

“We are therefore undergoing a short period of review to consider the options.”

Of the new plans from WG Developments Mr May added: “The submission is something the university is not involved in.

“The university is currently reviewing the options with a view to a long-term solution.”

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