Welwyn Hatfield Council decision looms for proposed 650-home development at Panshanger aerodrome
PUBLISHED: 10:54 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:54 26 February 2019
It’s decision time for a proposed major development to build 650 homes, a primary school, community centre and more at the old Panshanger aerodrome.
A report to the Welwyn Hatfield Council development management committee recommends granting outline permission for the development, subject to completion of a Section 106 agreement and a long list of planning conditions, ahead of its meeting on Thursday night.
The outline planning application for the predominantly residential development includes up to 650 homes of a range of types and sizes, a two-form entry primary school, six gypsy and traveller pitches, a new retail and community-use centre, car parking and associated infrastructure, with new vehicle access from Herns Lane.
All matters except access are reserved, which means the design and specific details of the plan are yet to be considered and will be subject to separate decisions.
The proposed site is 28.24 hectares of land north of the Panshanger neighbourhood, a parcel which is owned mostly by Mariposa
Investments and the remainder by Homes England, who are the joint applicants for the proposal.
The application has received 34 objections and nine representations in support.
The former airfield, north-east of Welwyn Garden City, closed in September 2014.
The council’s new local plan, which is currently being scrutinised by a planning inspector, determined the aerodrome land is required to help meet future growth needs and should be released for development.
Sport England has objected to the potential loss of the airfield facility at the site and there has been a push to reinstate a community airfield in Welwyn Garden City.
A separate proposal to relocate the runway and build a clubhouse and hangar has also been submitted to the council.
Land to the north of the site earmarked for housing development has been has been left to allow for a runway, although it has been questioned whether the space is sufficient.
The council report states: “The land is one of only two significantly-sized housing sites in Welwyn Hatfield that are not in the Green Belt ... On balance, the council reached the view that the need for housing is of greater importance than the need to retain a former airfield facility as a potential (Significant Area for Sport) for future sport provision.”