Controversial block of flats in Cuffley given green light

PUBLISHED: 06:58 02 May 2019

Welwyn Hatfield councillor Tara-Mary Lyons supported the plan to build a block of flats in Cuffley. Picture: Labour

Welwyn Hatfield councillor Tara-Mary Lyons supported the plan to build a block of flats in Cuffley. Picture: Labour


Plans to demolish a chalet bungalow in Cuffley and replace it with a block of eight apartments have been given the go-ahead, after a councillor told residents to “suck it up”.

Previous proposals to replace the Tolmers Gardens bungalow with a pair of semi-detached homes were refused in 2017, on the grounds of scale and size.

However, in a meeting on Thursday, April 25, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's development management committee gave the apartment block the green light – but on an enlarged plot.

Anthony Sarno, the agent for the applicant, said at the meeting that the block had been designed with downsizers in mind, with larger than average living spaces in the flats, wheelchair access and a lift.

The block has been designed to look like a pair of semi-detached houses, with all flats served by a lift and off-street parking. Mr Sarno described the flats as “a useful contribution to local housing stock”.

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Labour councillor Tara-Mary Lyons said: “We are aware of the need for downsizing people to be able to stay within their community, rather than leave. So I think it's something that's needed.

“I do feel for the residents that don't want it, but suck it up buttercup, because in the end I think it will be okay. I think there will be nice people living there and it will all work out.”

Eleven residents from five different Tolmers Gardens addresses wrote in support of the plans, but 57 from 19 addresses wrote letters against the proposals, citing over-development, loss of wildlife habitats, inadequate parking and existing 'flatted' developments for older people in Cuffley.

Resident Pamela Rutherford told the committee the plans would be “out of place and totally out of character”. She said: “The footprint of the proposed build is larger than anything else on the street and certainly bigger than the footprint of the existing bungalow, much of which is a flat-roofed single-storey extension and rear balcony.

“This three-storey build would therefore have a significant impact in terms of overshadowing and would give a more urban and enclosed feel.”

The application was called in to the committee by Cllr Bernard Sarson, who said it would be “over-development in a rural area”.

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