Updated plans for Welwyn Garden City's Panshanger airfield unveiled

PUBLISHED: 13:11 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 27 November 2017

Plans for Welwyn Garden City's Panshanger airfield. Picture credit: Mariposa Investments and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Plans for Welwyn Garden City's Panshanger airfield. Picture credit: Mariposa Investments and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Archant

The latest plans for around 650 homes at Welwyn Garden City's Panshanger airfield were unveiled last week.

As well as the housing, updated proposals include a two-form primary school, community centre, six gypsy and traveller pitches, open spaces and access to Green Belt land to the north.

The site is part of Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Local Plan – currently being assessed by a planning inspector – and includes “the opportunity” for re-provision of a grass runway.

Several parties are interested in reinstating a community airfield, but critics previously voiced fears that insufficient space had been left.

However, a spokesman for landowners Mariopsa Investments and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) said that the proposed development does not prejudice that opportunity.

“Independent groups are in discussions with the council with regard to exploring the opportunity for accommodating a realigned grass runway on the Green Belt land,” he added.

“It is for third parties to come forward with proposals and arrangements for its delivery.”

Another controversial element of the plans was the amount of mineral extraction that needed to take place before housing could be built.

The spokesman said the county council has agreed that gravel extraction will be “opportunistic”, so would take place at the time of preparing the site for construction, with some material being redeployed on the site.

He added: “For example, in creating a new sustainable drainage storage pond, there will be the opportunity to extract gravel which can be used on site in the construction of paths or roads.”

Although theoretically anywhere with housing is an “opportunity” for extraction, the spokesman stressed that is likely to be minimal as digging deep holes – such as one for a drainage system – would not be necessary.

It was also revealed that a minimum of 30 per cent of dwellings would be “affordable housing”, and there would also be an allocation of plots for self-build homes.

Following last week’s public exhibitions, the landowners now aim to finalise the masterplan before submitting an outline planning application early next year.

Feedback can be given by emailing acowley@hardhat.co.uk.

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