Welwyn Garden City is facing a monstrous threat from the developers of the northern half of the Shredded Wheat site. They are trying to get permission for tower blocks of up to 10 storeys. Together with existing approved plans this would mean inserting around 4,000 new residents, virtually a whole new ward, and bring the population density to a level comparable to Manhattan! The plans completely ignore the SPD (Special Planning Document) created by the council as the definitive statement on the Shredded Wheat site.
Comprising entirely apartments and with little green space the plans contradict everything that defines a Garden City. There is no social housing offered in the mix and only 0.6 parking spaces per dwelling. Views of the iconic silos will virtually disappear and the view of the Town Centre from the east side blocked by the huge towers.
WGC Heritage Trust and our sister organisation the WGC Society are leading the fight and badly need high profile objections lodged with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council by 31st March. Please help prevent the devastation of arguably the most beautiful garden city in the world.
However, even more has just come to light as the developers of the southern section have sent in a further application that would increase the number and size of tower blocks and population even further!
To help you create a powerful statement of your concerns we have created a list of suggestions below.
GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION
The Broadwater Road Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), the SPD (Supplementary Planning Document), adds further detail to the policies in the Local Plan. It provides guidance for development on specific sites, or particular issues, such as design. SPDs can be a material consideration in planning decisions but are not part of the development plan. The SPD for Broadwater expects all proposed development to be respectful to the silos and not exceeding 5 storeys.
Key planning issue – if you have a plan you stick to it.
‘The main listed structure of the CPUK silos should be incorporated as landmarks in the overall structure of development and the building heights of all blocks should have regard to the setting of these buildings. The silos, in particular, should stand out as the main landmark on the skyline and therefore no new development should adversely affect this role’. [Section: Height-6.15]
‘The Council's vision for Broadwater Road West is... To deliver an energetic and pioneering scheme of development which integrates the spirit of the garden city with the very best of high quality 21st Century design, seizing the opportunity to enhance the local environment and create a sustainable, supported neighbourhood of an appropriate scale, which successfully integrates with the local community’. [Section Vision- 1.5]
Below are a list of suggested objections - please edit and add your own twist. Object on: https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0181/MAJ
1. The site and its effect on adjoining properties.
The new proposal increases the number of dwellings from the granted 811 units by over 50% to a massive 1241 units. Compared with the 2015 permission this is an increase of over 240% from original 851 units to a massive 1,241. The proposed building height is 10 storeys which contradicts the Council’s own SPD limiting building to 5 storeys.
2. Appearance relative to the area.
The further increase in size is inappropriate for this, the second garden city.
3. Plot size and spacing relative to the area.
The approach is too dense by far.
The design obviously does not take into account pandemic issues.
The development hides the Shredded Wheat silos and production hall. 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, being too dense in nature. The proposed density is higher than Manhattan, New York – but at least they have the greenery of Central Park! It is 121 dwellings per acre compared with 57 for a typical London social housing estate). This is too dense, too high and detrimental to well being. It is lacking greenery and has no kinship with our unique town.
4. Effect on the street scene.
Overpowering. The proposals have no affinity whatsoever with this town.
There is inadequate greenery in the proposals.
6. Design of the buildings relative to the area.
There is no relationship – it is overpowering.
7. Traffic and access.
The local infrastructure is inadequate to sustain such a large development (including roads/ railway/ schools/ medical facilities, etc.). There is no example where a no-car/ bike-hub has worked. The proposals are large enough to create a new Council Ward!
8. Impact of the development, particularly on adjoining properties.
Overpowering. If this development is granted then all the adjacent areas will have proposals for high rise buildings. A massive 7 storey development is already mooted for Bridge Road East.
9. Other issues
Other sites within the borough, such as villages with high public transport accessibility, appear to have been ignored despite their suitability for development. Emphasise this as it is a curious fact that the main bulk of the new housing has been dropped onto WGC while leaving highly suitable sites elsewhere in the district untouched.
The public ‘consultation’ undertaken to date has been poor and there is a low level of public awareness.
Please resist the temptation to just copy & paste. You could omit some of the less damaging proposals and/or amend the text to put your own twist on the submission.
Welwyn Hatfield Planning – You can go direct to the relevant planning application by entering https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0181/MAJ into your browser. Then follow the instructions. You are limited to 1000 characters but can attach a file containing additional remarks if this is insufficient. We recommend you get your attachment written before starting this method. The constraint of 1000 characters, not words, is very limiting and will only really give you the chance to list all the aspects you object to. However, the attachment allows free rein so make the most of it. If you are commenting on the planning application, you will be requested to provide your name, address and contact details.
(Illustration from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing design and access statement showing north and south developments on the Broadwater Road site)