Welwyn Hatfield Council set to reject 72 homes plan in Woolmer Green

PUBLISHED: 15:25 10 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 10 September 2017

Entech House. Picture: Danny Loo

Entech House. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Welwyn Hatfield Council is set to dash plans for 72 residential homes and employment space in Woolmer Green.

The local authority will next week definitively decide on the proposals for Entech House – currently industrial space in London Road – which is part-occupied by one business, while the rest is vacant.

The applicant has put it forward hoping to develop properties made up of apartments and semi-detached houses, together with commercial building space – which would include four retail units and office space.

It had initially submitted the proposals as part of the Local Plan process but they were dropped, and its owners are set to taste rejection again as officers will recommend it is kicked out.

“The marketing undertaken has not covered a sufficient period of time to demonstrate that there is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for an employment purpose,” a council document explaining officers’ decision reads.

It continues: “The applicant has failed to clearly demonstrate to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that the marketing undertaken has been active, extensive or realistic.

“Additionally the proposal could potentially undermine the strategy in the Local Plan and could prejudice the continued use of the designated employment area and would not provide facilities supportive of Class B uses.”

The proposal had sparked mixed reactions, with several organisations lodging complaints alongside numerous notes of approval.

Also included in reasons for its imminent rejection are an inadequate flood risk assessment, increased threat to the quality of both surface and groundwater and worsening the borough’s position on floor space.

Fears that redeveloping the site would result in a disproportionate growth of Woolmer Green was also a factor.

“Taking all of the above into account, the scheme is considered to be premature and conflicts with emerging Local Plan policy.” officers added.

“The council’s evidence-base are given significant weight in the determination of this application and therefore the slight benefits of the proposal do not outweigh the harm identified.”

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