Vision for Welwyn Garden City town centre revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:12 17 April 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 17 April 2015

Bird's-eye view of plans for WGC town centre

Bird's-eye view of plans for WGC town centre

Archant

A blueprint for the northern part of WGC town centre has been agreed - which could transform the layout of the town.

The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was approved by Welwyn Hatfield Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, April 7, and looks at the area between John Lewis and the bus station.

The area was identified in the 2005 District Plan as the preferred site for meeting the future retail needs of the town.

The plans will create a new entrance to the town centre on its north side and include the 
construction of a new building, on the site of the current Bridge Road roundabout.

Shops will occupy the ground floor with residential flats above with car parking for the site underneath.

The existing building at Stonehills will be looked at, either through demolition or reconstruction, while there is scope to make the frontage west of Debenhams continuous.

This would bring the front of the existing smaller units forward and therefore give them more space.

There will also be a market square built, providing an open space designed to encourage more people to the town centre through activities and events.

Anniversary Gardens could be used either in whole or in part for development, although the plans say that, if this is the case, “the integration of sufficient landscaping and open space needs to be considered”.

The SPD also sets out the council’s expectations of the type and scale of development that is acceptable in the conservation area.

It follows a public consultation that was held early last year.

Some of the updates made after this period are more detail on cycling access, trees, green open space and landscaping.

There have also been changes to the suggested development approach, by altering building heights and introducing more shared communal areas.

Colin Haigh, head of planning, said: “The SPD will help developers understand our vision and aspiration for the town centre north site.

“It also gives us more detailed criteria to judge future planning applications against.

“We have a responsibility to plan for the future retail, housing and leisure needs of Welwyn Garden City and this document gives guidance on how best this area can help us achieve that.”

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