Economist article: ‘The fight to preserve a pioneering planned town- the NIMBYs are right this time’.

Link to Economist article: ‘The fight to preserve a pioneering planned town- the NIMBYs are right this time’.  [You have to sign up but it is then free to read a number of articles]

https://www.economist.com/britain/2021/04/17/the-fight-to-preserve-a-pioneering-planned-town

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BBC News: Elections 2021: Can Welwyn Garden City balance original vision with new housing?

Recent BBC News Piece  on Elections 2021: Can Welwyn Garden City balance original vision with new housing? with a quote from the Society:

http://Elections 2021: Can Welwyn Garden City balance original vision with new housing?

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Broadwater: South Site – New Annotations of Images That Show Changes

The implications of the proposed changes on the Broadwater sites are (deliberately?) very hard to identify.  Annotated key images of the South Site showing the lost green spaces and new building block infills are below.

Comments on the North site have been good, but alone they are not enough. Please register your comments on the South site together with the Bio Park and the North Site on the Council planning portal: https://www.welhat.gov.uk/eia.

Suggested text for objections is on an earlier post:  http://welwynhatfield.co.uk/wgc_society/?p=2648

Every comment counts on all three sites. Mailing Councillors will also help. You can also ask them why the impact of the changes is so hard to identify. ?

 

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Warehouse development in the Green Belt

Residents may have noticed the large new warehouses being constructed along Cole Green Lane, next to the new Welcome to Welwyn Garden City sign. This development is on land within the green belt, it appears it was granted planning permission by WHBC.  A short video has appeared on YouTube talking about this controversial development, you can watch it below or via this link: https://tinyurl.com/greenbeltwgc The entry and egress points in the Garden City have always been carefully managed, to protect them from inappropriate development. This appears to be changing.

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Broadwater North Site: Impact of Proposed Density Increases

This annotation shows the impact of the proposed density increases on the North site:

The changes to the building heights are annotated on this plan:

Source documents: North Site Planning Application DAS (Design Access Statement)

There is a previous post on how to object with weblinks and suggested text.  Wake up Welwyn Garden: Enough is Enough.

Why is the information on the impact of the proposed changes so hard to find?  Why did the Council not insist that change information was more clearly conveyed?

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Broadwater Developments: Proposed Population Increases Over Time

This table shows how the proposed population of the Broadwater developments keeps increasing:

Why have the developers failed to start building the Planning Permission granted over 3 years ago?

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Broadwater Developments Site Overview

There are 4 separate sites on the Broadwater Development (see Site Plan below):

  1. BioPark (old Roche Building) – Planning Application open for comment
  2. North Site by the Wheat Quarter  – increased Planning Application open for comment
  3. South Site by MTVH – increased Planning Application open for comment
  4. South Site Phase 1 by MTVH – under construction

Note Planning Applications are open for comment up to certain dates, but comments are allowed up to the date of the relevant Planning Meeting.

Links to comment websites and suggested text for comments are shown on a previous post.

Base image source: Google Maps

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Object now to the latest Broadwater Road (Shredded Wheat) proposals

PLEASE ACT NOW!!

Broadwater Road south site development March 21st 2021

The emerging southern site apartment blocks on Broadwater Road, March 2021

The sky SHOULD NOT be the limit for the Shredded Wheat site. We shouldn’t allow the  Wheat Quarter “reach for the sky” if we are to keep the Garden City a ‘Garden’ City. The developer’s new plan seeks to build a mini-metropolis in the heart of our town. Have your say now!

Many residents are dismayed at the revised planning application for the Shredded Wheat site, currently open for comments on the WHBC planning website. Full details of how to object and suggested points you may want to raise are given below.

Shredded Wheat site "The Wheat Quarter" Welwyn Garden City

The southern site from the railway bridge

In summary, the consent is now being sought for:

Blocks of 9, 10 or 11 storeys, totalling of nearly 2500 flats/apartments.  The Council’s own plan for the area – the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) – states that only in exceptional circumstances should anything over 5 storeys be considered.   The SPD states homes should be a mix of flats and houses. Neither of the Wheat Quarter sites propose anything other than flats. The BioPark site is offering about ten houses, all the rest being flats. You may recall the mass opposition to the Tesco (Spenhill) plan for this site some years ago. That was thrown out by the council because it contravened the SPD, now we have another application that also significantly contravenes the Council’s own planning statement for the site. It took huge local opposition to get the Tesco proposal rejected. Time is short for residents to make their voice heard on this new plan, so we urge you to act right now.

There is Council policy about a mix of private and social housing on new sites. The proportion of social rented housing here adds up to about 6%, far less than the Council’s target of 15%.

Wheat Quarter, Welwyn Garden City

The uninviting frontage of the ‘Wheat Quarter’ currently, with it’s fetching iron barred windows.

Details of the building’s heritage status listing can be found here: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1101084

The WHBC Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) from 2008 can be found on their website by CLICKING HERE.

If you want to comment (Objecting) to the Broadwater Road Proposals online please follow these steps:

Click on, or copy and paste the following into your web browser address bar:

To object to the Wheat Quarter proposal, 552 dwellings:

Full Planning Application:

https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0181/MAJ

Link to comment page:
https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Comment/6/2021/0181/MAJ

To object to the Wheat Quarter South Site proposal for 721 flats (currently under construction):

Full Planning Application:

https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0671/MAJ

Link to comment page:
https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Comment/6/2021/0671/MAJ

To object to the BioPark proposal, 289 dwellings:

Full Planning Application:

https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2020/3420/MAJ

Link to comment page:
https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Comment/6/2020/3420/MAJ

Enter your name, email address and postcode in the data boxes provided. Click on “Find Address” to select your address.
In the “Type of Response” box please ensure you select the appropriate kind of response – either “Comment”, “Support” or “Objection”.
In the “Comments” box enter your comments (up to 1,000 characters – about 150 words).
You can add more in a separate attachment if you want to but it has to

Click on the green “Submit” box at the bottom of the form.

Alternatively you can send your objections as an email to the case officer: c.howe@welhat.gov.uk

Suggested Objection to Proposal 6/2021/0181/MAJ – The Wheat Quarter

The new proposal increases the number of dwellings by 50% from 811 to 1220, and building height to 9 storeys. This contradicts the Broadwater Road SPD limiting building to five storeys except in exceptional circumstances. External green spaces have been lost and replaced by big new building infills.  External spaces are essential in a post-pandemic world.   The development hides the Shredded Wheat silos and production hall. It will compromise the Broadwater Road street scene, overpowering the art deco Griffin Place and Mirage developments to the south. It is inappropriate for a Garden City, being too dense in nature (264 dwellings per hectare compared with 141 for a typical London social housing estate) and lacking greenery. It has no kinship with our unique town. It will house approximately 1200 more people than the 2019 application, making the local infrastructure inadequate to sustain a development large enough to form a new Ward in the town. Other sites within the borough, such as villages with high public transport accessibility, appear to have been ignored despite their suitability for development.

Suggested Objection Grounds to Proposal 6/2020/3420/MAJ – The BioPark:

Here 289 units are proposed to house 852 people in a very restricted site, with building height to 9 storeys. This contradicts WHBC’s own vision for Broadwater Road west which was to integrate the spirit of the Garden City with the very best of 21st century design. There is nothing of the Garden City spirit here. The development is clearly seen from the west side Conservation Area, as well as from Hatfield House. It will compromise the Broadwater Road street scene, overpowering the art deco and Mirage developments to the south. It is inappropriate for a Garden City due to its large scale, high density of homes and minimal greenery. It has no kinship with our unique town. This development offers only 216 parking spaces for 289 homes. There is no example where a development without adequate car parking has worked. Other sites within the borough, such as villages with high public transport accessibility, appear to have been ignored despite their suitability for development.

Suggested Objection Grounds to Proposal 6/2021/0671/MAJ – South Site:

The new proposal increases the number of dwellings from 643 to 929 and building height to 10 storeys. This contradicts the Broadwater Road SPD limiting building to five storeys except in exceptional circumstances. The development will compromise the Broadwater Road street scene, overpowering the neighbouring art deco Griffin Place and Mirage developments. It is inappropriate for a Garden City, being too dense in nature and lacking greenery. External green spaces have been lost and replaced by big new building infills.  External spaces are essential in a post-pandemic world.  It has no kinship with our unique town. It will house just over 900 more people than proposed in the 2019 application. The local infrastructure is inadequate to sustain this many extra people.
Other sites within the borough, such as villages with high public transport accessibility, appear to have been ignored despite their suitability for development.

You can of course also make your views know to your local Borough Councillor. Those who sit on the Development Management Committee may not be willing to speak out as we are now in the Local Election purdah period, but the others should. With an election looming you may want to ask them where they themselves stand on this extremely important issue for the town. But it is more important to put in your objection as above.

You can find details of all Councillors here: https://democracy.welhat.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=321

Details of the Development Management Committee and those who sit on it are here: https://democracy.welhat.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=156

Wheat Quarter, Shredded Wheat, Welwyn Garden City

The sorry state of the grade 2 listed former Shredded Wheat building. With no external maintenance for a decade it appears as if the owners would like it to become beyond economical repair.

Historic England sets out its guidance for listed building owners in the following link. It points out that local councils also have powers to ensure maintenance is carried out. To the Society’s knowledge this has never been pursued by WHBC. See here: https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/hpg/assistanceforowners/maintenance/#Section2Text

 

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BioPark Development Increases Concrete City Fear

Plans to turn the BioPark site along Broadwater Road into the latest high rise residential development increase the likelihood of turning Broadwater Road’s west side into a high rise hell. The planned development will include high rise blocks as tall as the present BioPark, but with a greater footprint. 289 new homes are proposed (but only 188 parking spaces).

The Government Inspector reviewing Welwyn Garden City’s Local Plan for development expressed surprise that, given that views from Hatfield House are compromised by sight of the BioPark, the original development was given planning permission. He warned that the Council should study relevant Acts of Parliament pertaining to stately homes carefully before giving this development planning permission.

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Wheat Quarter High Rise Along Broadwater Road

Let’s remember that the latest proposals for development along Broadwater Road will mean more dwellings, less greenery and greater threat to heritage. One of our members described these proposals as turning our town into “Welwyn Concrete City”.

Now there is an additional application to build more homes on the Shredded Wheat site between Hydeway and Bridge Road. It can be viewed in full on the planning section of the Welwyn Hatfield website. Its reference is 6/2021/0181/MAJ.

This application is centred around the heritage site of the Shredded Wheat silos and production hall. It recognizes that heritage harm will occur but be less than substantial (the developer’s opinion) and will restrict views of the silos to “glimpses”. It will increase the number of dwellings from 811 to 1241 and take the height of the buildings to 11 storeys, with considerably less landscaping than in any previous scheme. It assumes that residents will have less reliance on the car, so there won’t be a parking space for every unit.

The Society Committee feel that this development is incompatible with a Garden City and would be severely detrimental to the town.

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