New Wheat Quarter proposal aims to relieve pressure on Green Belt sites despite vast expansion

The South Side site by the old Shredded Wheat Factory. Picture: Google Maps

The view of the old Shredded Wheat Factory from the south side site by. - Credit: Google Maps

The northern part of the former Shredded Wheat Factory site in WGC is set to expand, but will hopefully reduce the need to build on the Green Belt.

The planning application looks to alter the approved plan by increasing the height of some blocks to up to 10 storeys tall, while also altering the layout.

The developers believe the increased number of apartments will help the council meet their need for homes in the Local Plan and reduce the likelihood of building on Green Belt.

There are a total of 1,220 flats in the new plan, compared to 811 in the original plan.

Demolition of the old Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City.

There are concerns that the silos would be hidden from view from outside the site. - Credit: Archant

The differences between the new proposal and the approved application can be summarised as follows: 137 fewer apartments for sale, 136 more residential care units, 399 more apartments for rent, 1,884sq.m increase in floorspace, 47 more car parking spaces and the inclusion of a cycle hub.

Russ Platt, chair of Mirage WGC Residents Association, said: "The images show that in most cases, the silos would in fact be hidden from view from outside the site.

"Readers might also wonder how blocks of up to 10 storeys – with blocks up to nine storeys also being applied for on the southern part of the site, and on the Biopark - marry with the council’s own guidance for the site which state that only in exceptional circumstances should anything over five storeys be allowed.

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"Of course there is justification given in the application for development of this size, namely that it dramatically reduces the need to release Green Belt land around the southern villages, and the development would bring some jobs to the area."

Peartree ward councillor Malcolm Cowan said: "It has no houses, just flats again, contravening the planning guidance. It has no social housing when the council expects 15 per cent, plus a further 15 per cent 'affordable'.

"Images we have been given show the silos are scarcely visible from anywhere outside the site, another breach of what is expected. It is hard to believe it in any way fits in with what most people expect a Garden City to look like.

"In short, I am surprised the applicants were not told by the council to go away and make major changes."

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