Plans for Gilston move forward

Politics / Thu 16th Jan 2014 pm31 12:55pm

gilstonEAST Herts Council is to move forward with development plans for up to 10,000 homes in the Gilston area.

The district council’s draft development plan stresses that Bishop’s Stortford’s projected need is for 5,380 homes by 2031.

Of these, the document says, 4,634 can be met in the Hertfordshire town.

However, the rest is set to being allocated in the potential Harlow North extension.

An EHDC spokesperson said: “The remainder will be directed to the Gilston area, along with a substantial amount of unmet housing need from the villages.

“All this contributes to the overall requirement of 15,000 homes across East Herts by 2031.

“Unless the council plans to meet these needs, it will be more difficult to defend the district against inappropriate development. This means there is a real risk that if planning permission is refused, developers may be more successful at appeal and that means a loss of local control.”

East Herts continued: “To ensure a strong character for the area, new development will need to treat the Stort as a strategic piece of green infrastructure, avoiding development on the valley sides south of Gilston.

“There will be a strong internal transport network and enhanced role for Harlow Town station. Design principles should be unified as far as possible, with elements of design taken from the market towns and villages in East Herts.”

There are also plans for Sawbridgeworth. It has been pencilled in for at least 405 extra properties by 2021, including 300 on land to the south of West Road, 100 to the north of West Road and five at sites already identified.

The plan divides East Herts villages into three groups “reflecting their relative sustainability”.

Group 1 is identified as the most able to grow, with scope for limited, small-scale development. They include Braughing, Hunsdon, Little Hadham, Hadham Ford, Much Hadham and Widford, with a target for 10% expansion in the 15 years from April 2016 to March 2031. For example, Much Hadham would swell from 490 households to 539.

Group 2 are parishes including Furneux Pelham, High Wych and Spellbrook. In these, limited infill development of up to five dwellings per site is envisaged “of a scale appropriate to the size of the village”.

The smallest settlements are those lacking basic amenities like a shop, post office or village hall and East Herts says: “Development in these villages, other than that appropriate in the Green Belt and rural area beyond the Green Belt, would be unsustainable.”

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