Councillor disappointed as BioPark appeal confirmed
Matthew Smith, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Russ Platt
A Welwyn Garden City councillor has urged the council to defend its refusal of a nine-storey tower block, after the developer confirmed it would be appealing the decision.
Earlier this month, around 200 residents protested ahead of a decision to refuse planning permission to build 289 homes on the former BioPark site in Broadwater Road.
The flats would have been built in six blocks ranging from two to nine storeys high alongside nine townhouses, raising concerns about the impact on the town’s Garden City ideals and the risk of overdevelopment of the area.
On September 9, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Development Management Committee turned down the Broadwater Garden plans, saying that the scheme did not meet local housing need, highlighted a lack of car parking, and said the design would not complement the area.
Members were warned of the potential of the appeal, but a majority of seven voted to refuse the application.
Two weeks on from the meeting applicants HG Group confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that they will appeal “imminently”.
Developers and agents have six months to appeal a planning decision, if they disagree with a local authority’s decision.
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The Planning Inspectorate will then decide whether written representation, informal hearings or a public inquiry is necessary to determine an appeal.
In a statement they said: “A spokesman for the HG Group expressed their disappointment with the decision and that an appeal will be lodged imminently.”
Councillor Russ Platt, who represents the Peartree ward which houses the site, urged all relevant parties to discuss the best way forward but said the council should defend any appeal.
He added that he believed the developer could build “a truly special development” in the area.
Cllr Platt said: “I will be disappointed if the Biopark developer makes an appeal, as I feel that the grounds for refusal were robust, and clearly demonstrated that planning policies had not been adhered to.
“The council must defend their policies and the DMC decision, and I hope they will do so with vigour. If they do this, the town will be fully behind them and that will be great to see.
“My preference moving forward would be for the developer, WelHat planning, ward councillors and residents to sit down and discuss what could work on the site."