Council backs development of 121 homes in Cuffley

An indicative layout of how the 121 home development in Cuffley, Herts, could look.

An indicative layout of how the 121 home development could look. - Credit: Lands Improvement Holdings

Plans for 121 new homes to be built in Cuffley have been backed by councillors - six years after the application was first submitted.

Initial proposals to build homes to the northeast of King George V playing fields were put on pause as the council worked on its Local Plan for the borough.

The site has since been allocated for development in the draft Local Plan, which is now at an advanced stage, allowing councillors to finally vote on the proposals.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council green-lit the plans for 121 homes on the site at a meeting of the Development Management Committee on December 9. 

Applicants Lands Improvement Holdings said they had been working on the development for a total of eight years and had worked closely with the public and parish council during the process.

Hollie Stacey, agent for Lands Improvement Holdings, said the site was well-enclosed and its location would provide a “proportionate and considerate extension to Cuffley”, without compromising the function of the green belt.

Council officers were also satisfied with plans to earmark more than a third of the homes as affordable housing.

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The outline permission will include 121 dwellings, with 42 affordable units – with the majority of properties either two or 2.5 storeys high.

As an outline application, the final mix of housing will be confirmed at a later stage but it is proposed to include a range of house types, sizes and tenures to create a “mixed and inclusive community”.

The plans had also been endorsed by Northaw and Cuffley Parish Council, who said the plans were “as good as it gets” for building on green space.

Parish councillor Bob Stubbs told the committee the parish council were generally opposed to building on the green belt, but this development would not have significant harm on the area and the natural borders would prevent any further growth of the scheme. 

In total, 40 objections had been received in relation to the plans with concerns about building on the green belt, with the lack of GP and school provision also questioned.

Councillors accepted that there would be harm from building on the green belt, but this had to be balanced with considerations that the council’s draft Local Plan had allocated the site for use.

Officers had recommended that outline permission be approved, saying that this allocation should be given substantial weight, alongside further substantial weight for the provision of affordable housing. They also noted that the development was in a sustainable location near to Cuffley railway station.

Councillors almost agreed with plans, which will now be referred to the Secretary of State, who has the final say on any major green belt proposals, before permission is formally granted.

The applicant said once permission is granted they hoped the homes could be completed within five years.