Campaign groups appoint planning consultant ahead of BioPark appeal

A CGI of the BioPark plans (Broadwater Gardens) submitted to Welwyn Hatfield BC

An appeal to develop the former BioPark site in Welwyn Garden City will be held on July 5. - Credit: HG Group/Alan Camp Architects

Campaign groups have appointed a planning consultant to help in their fight against an appeal to develop the former BioPark site in Welwyn Garden City.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council refused a planning application for 289 homes in six blocks of up to nine stories in Broadwater Road last September.

But developer HG Group has launched an appeal against the decision, with an eight-day planning inquiry set to take place on July 5.

Ahead of the appeal, campaign groups Keep the G in WGC and the WGC Heritage Trust have joined forces and appointed a planning consultant to help them fight the development.

Biopark, Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: DANNY LOO

The former BioPark site in Broadwater Road. - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

“In September 2021, the planning application for the BioPark was rightly rejected by the council,” read a joint statement.

“However, an appeal against that decision has been lodged with the planning inspectorate and a planning inquiry will take place.

“We must ensure the planning inspectorate comes to the same decision as the council.

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“The planning inquiry will be a formal process with planning barristers, expert witnesses and around eight days of evidence.

“Keep the G in WGC and the WGC Heritage Trust have therefore appointed a planning consultant to help put forward the best possible case and win.”

The original application was refused at a tense and heated Development Planning Committee meeting following a 10 to 3 vote against, with the decision was greeted by loud cheers from those who attended the meeting.

WGC Protest - Reject Welwyn Concrete City and High Rise Hell.Picture: Karyn Haddon

Campaigners donned masks of Sir Ebenezer Howard as part of their BioPark protests back in September. - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Campaigners protested for a week against the plans in efforts dubbed 'Operation Ben', which saw people don masks of Sir Ebenezer Howard, the visionary founder of the Garden City movement.

Keep the G in WGC and the WGC Heritage Trust are asking for donations to help fund their attempts to fight off the application, something they believe is ‘critical’ to the future of Welwyn Garden City.

“This case is critical to keeping the town as most residents wish to see it kept, indeed its very status as a Garden City may be at stake,” they said.

“However expert assistance does not come cheap, and we are expecting to pay around £10,000 to £12,000 for this assistance.

“We are appealing to residents of the town to contribute whatever they can to help keep the town green.

“Most people came here because they liked the town as it is, not because they wanted it to be made to look like an inner-London suburb. Once lost, it cannot be reclaimed.”