Bid to build nearly 200 homes on car showroom site up for refusal

A CGI of the proposal for 193 homes in Lower High Street in Watford <i>(Image: London Square)</i>
A CGI of the proposal for 193 homes in Lower High Street in Watford (Image: London Square)

Plans to build nearly 200 flats on the site of a car showroom in Watford look set to be turned down.

Members of Watford Borough Council's planning committee are being recommended to reject the scheme to redevelop the Glyn Hopkin site in Lower High Street.

Applicant London Square is proposing 193 homes in an L-shaped building rising to nine storeys and a smaller four-storey building, with 24 parking spaces.

London Square says it wants to turn the busy commercial location into a “thriving” residential community.

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Watford Observer: CGI of the proposed scheme
Watford Observer: CGI of the proposed scheme

CGI of the proposed scheme (Image: London Square)

But it faces a battle to secure permission after a council officer put forward a host of reasons for refusal.

It has been deemed this proposal “fails to achieve outstanding design”, therefore not contributing “positively” to the character of the area.

Concerns have also been raised about the layout of the homes with relation to privacy, daylight, lighting and noise for prospective residents.

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There would be an “unacceptable” loss of daylight, sunlight, and privacy to properties in Lower High Street and Local Board Road while the development would cause an “increased risk” of flooding in Lower High Street.

Watford Observer: Lower High Street in Watford can be prone to flooding, such as this in 2020
Watford Observer: Lower High Street in Watford can be prone to flooding, such as this in 2020

Lower High Street in Watford can be prone to flooding, such as this in 2020 (Image: Watford Police Facebook)

There is also an “unacceptable risk” to highway safety because of “insufficient information” about improvements to pedestrian, cycling and bus infrastructure.

No affordable housing would be provided either. The council says at the end of October, London Square offered to build 90 of the homes for affordable rent but the council says this does not meet Watford’s needs because “affordable rent is not affordable for the majority of households on its housing register”.

Objections from 17 residents have been received including complaints about size, lighting, privacy, noise and flooding.

Watford Observer: The Glyn Hopkin showroom where the homes are proposed to be built.
Watford Observer: The Glyn Hopkin showroom where the homes are proposed to be built.

The Glyn Hopkin showroom where the homes are proposed to be built. (Image: Google Street View)

The officer’s report says the council’s recently adopted local plan and its policies carry “substantial weight” in determining whether the scheme should be approved or not.

Watford mayor Peter Taylor previously said the new local plan will give the council “more say” over the town's future, with “more power to reject inappropriate overdevelopment and ensure homes are affordable and have high environmental standards”.

Read more: Watford Borough Council adopts new Local Plan

The land is allocated as a housing site in the council’s local plan but for 110 homes rather than 193.

The application will be discussed at a meeting on December 6.

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