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The Council has recently received an application for the development at West Stevenage which went live on 16 April 2021.

We can provide some background information regarding the proposed development.

Application Reference Number

21/00356/FPM

Description of Development

Full planning permission for erection on 390 dwellings (including 117 affordable dwellings and 4 self-build plots), a cricket pitch and/or football pitches with ancillary pavilion, public open space and amenity space (including Children's Play), associated landscaping and ecological enhancements, internal highways, footpaths, cycleways, drainage, utilities, service infrastructure, acoustic bunding and fencing, improvements to existing access routes across A1(M) via Six Hills Way, Bessemer Drive, Redcar Drive and Meadway (including a new underpass at Meadway and associated accommodation/engineering works) and highway improvements along Chadwell Road.

Outline planning permission for up to 1,110 dwelling units (including 30% affordable housing and self-build plots), principal employment area (up to 10,000 sq m Use Class E(g) space), a residential care home (up to 72 beds) and up to 400 sq m Use Class E space, a mixed use local centre (Use Class C3 and up to 900 sq m of use Class E/F2 space), a neighbourhood square (including up to 150 sq m of E/F2 space), a primary school (up to 3FE), public open and amenity space (including Children's Play), sports facilities (including multi-use games area/skate park), associated landscaping and ecological enhancement works, acoustic bunding and fencing, internal highways, footpaths, cycleways, drainage, utilities, service infrastructure and future connections into safeguarded land in North Hertfordshire, and a new car park and pavilion at Meadway Playing Fields (with some matters reserved). This application is accompanied by an Environmental Statement.

Why has this development come forward?

The application site is allocated in the Council’s adopted Local Plan (2019) for residential development under Policy HO2: Stevenage West. Under this policy, the site is allocated for a development of approximately 1,350 new dwellings (including aspirational homes and self-build plots). The development must also provide 30% affordable housing.

The policy also sets out that the development must provide a new neighbourhood centre, to deliver 10,000 sq.m of employment floorspace, a new primary school, sport facilities (including provision for a MUGA for children and land to accommodate a new cricket facility) as well improvements to existing access routes from Bessemer Drive and the Meadway. The scheme has also to deliver the provision of supported or sheltered housing.

The scheme must also promote sustainable forms of transport, including the provision of electric vehicle charging facilities along with ecological improvements combined with a network of green space. The development must also incorporate all existing rights of way where possible. In addition, the development must also safeguard future access to land within North Hertfordshire District Council to enable an expanded scheme as detailed in their draft Local Plan.

This site is required in order for the Council to meet its objectively assessed need for housing. Stevenage is required to deliver 7,600 new homes over the Local Plan period. As such, this is crucial in order for the Council to meet its objectively assessed need.

Further to the above, this site was also previously allocated in the now superseded 2004 Local Plan so it is not a new allocation for housing development. As such, the site was removed from the Green Belt prior to the adoption of the current Local Plan.

Where can the application be viewed?

The application can be viewed via the 'Find a Planning Application' page.

When searching for the application, please use reference number 21/00356/FPM.

When will the application be determined?

There is no date fixed for when the application will be determined by the Council. However, it is envisaged the application would be determined later in 2021. With respect to determination itself, the application will have to be determined by the Council’s Planning and Development Committee. This is a committee which is made up of elected Councillors. Details of our committee members can be viewed on our website following the local elections. There will be a formal assessment of the application against both national and local planning policies.

Doesn’t Covid mean there is less demand for housing?

It is appreciated that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on our lives. However, despite this, the Council still has a legal obligation to deliver its housing need as advised by Central Government. Furthermore, there is underlying demand for housing prior to the pandemic which is still evident today. This is reflected by the number of applications the Council is receiving and determining for future housing development. This site is allocated for housing to meet our housing need.

Does this mean other schemes will stop coming forward?

This scheme should not stop any further development coming forward in other parts of the town. This is because this site is one a number of allocated sites set out in the adopted Local Plan to deliver new housing. Furthermore, the Council is still expecting a number of new homes to be delivered on windfall sites (sites which are not allocated in the Local Plan).

Will this scheme provide affordable housing and facilities for local people?

The application which has been submitted to the Council seeks to deliver 30% affordable homes. This is in line with the Council’s adopted policies. The development would also seek to deliver a new primary school for new residents along with a new neighbourhood centre. The development would also provide new employment opportunities as well. The scheme also comprises new areas of children’s play and open space along with the provision of new sporting facilities.

The development would also be served by a new bus facilities and has been designed to connect into the established pedestrian and cycle network located to the east of the site within Stevenage.

So there should a number of facilities provided within this development to meet the needs of local people.