Vision for Welwyn Garden City’s Shredded Wheat site unveiled
PUBLISHED: 06:09 22 March 2017
Planning officers have recommended that three applications for the 134,722-square metre site off Broadwater Road should be granted, with conditions, by a committee meeting on March 30.
The applications, submitted by Spen Hill, the property arm of Tesco, which owns the land, propose 850 homes with office, retail, and leisure elements.
The oldest part of the factory, built between 1924 and 1926, will be retained and partly restored, as it is officially listed.
Spen Hill also proposes to improve the footbridge linking the railway station to Broadwater Road.
Tony Grice, chairman of the Welwyn Garden City Society, said: “We are supportive in general. Originally they wanted to demolish all the silos. That would be a shame. The silos building is a signature of Welwyn Garden City.”
The society played a leading role in defeating Tesco’s original plan for a supermarket on the site, eventually turned down in 2012.
The site has been vacant since 2008, when Cereal Partners moved production of the breakfast cereal to Wiltshire.
Spen Hill’s outline plans lack full details, and Mr Grice hopes planners will insist on a sympathetic exterior finish, and priority for local people for the affordable homes.
Tony Skottowe of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust said: “On the whole, it is really impressive. There are some very, very good features in the design. There is plenty of greenery and a play area.
“The classic Louis de Soissons building will be retained. When it is refurbished it should look gorgeous.
“The sooner they get on with it the better. It would be nice to have at least some of it done for the centenary (of WGC in 2020).”
Former borough councillor Dennis Lewis said: “It is a great relief if these plans have got a measure of agreement, although there will always be some people who disagree.
“The plans Tesco originally had were far too ambitious, and rightly got a raspberry.”
Spen Hill proposes to demolish all the structures, except the original 1920s silos building, which will be converted to a hotel, the grain house, and the boiler room, which will become a gym and a bar respectively.
The production hall will be substantially restored.
The company proposes to sell the site with planning permission to a developer, in a project estimated to make a profit of £86million.
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