The development site covers an area of approximately 1.2 acres and is currently occupied by Ware Garage. The site has been made available for residential development by its current owner.
It is bordered to the east by residential apartments and to the west by neighbouring commercial land uses. Existing homes in Ware Road are located opposite the site to the north, while homes in Hamels Drive are elevated significantly above the site to the south.
Loss of employment land
Due to the location and overall size of the Ware Garage site, as well as the design and condition of the buildings, the premises no longer meet the requirements for a franchised car dealership and are therefore due to close.
The use of the site for alternative commercial operations, such as offices, has been thoroughly investigated. However, for the same reasons as those mentioned above, it has been found that such uses would not be viable.
A marketing campaign for commercial uses has also been undertaken and this has not generated any interest from potential users. Redevelopment for residential purposes therefore represents the only feasible future use for the site.
Government planning policy emphasises the need to bring brownfield (previously developed) sites back into viable use to support development in sustainable locations such as this one, which is in a predominantly residential area.
Government policy also supports the view that commercial land should not be retained where there is no reasonable prospect of them being used for that purpose – particularly if there is a need for new homes in the area. East Herts District Council is currently unable to provide sufficient development land to deliver a five-year supply of new housing, and therefore the provision of new homes on this site is considered appropriate.
We have held initial discussions about our proposals with planning officers at East Herts District Council, who have offered their general support.
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account in our design. All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown here.
This plan shows how the characteristics of the site and its surroundings are being considered in our design.
Traffic and access
Vehicular access to the site will be located in broadly the same position as the access to the existing garage at its northern boundary. Our proposed access will be a priority T-junction with the A119 Ware Road.
The junction has been designed to accommodate large refuse vehicles and footways on both sides of the access road will connect with the existing southern Ware Road footway.
The proposed development will result in a minimal change in traffic movements when compared with the existing commercial use of the site. The net impact of the development will be negligible and imperceptible to existing road users on the local highway network.
Car transporter vehicles currently access the existing site on a regular basis and stop on Ware Road, affecting the flow of traffic. The proposed development has been designed to allow deliveries and refuse collection to be carried out within the site, eliminating the need for large vehicles to obstruct Ware Road.
Car transporter vehicles currently park on Ware Road on a regular basis.
The site benefits from good access to existing frequent bus services that link to surrounding towns and villages as well as Hertford bus station and Hertford East and Ware railway stations. The nearest bus stops are located to the east of the site in the vicinity of the A10 flyover and within easy walking distance for future residents.
Hertford East and Ware railway stations provide links to London Liverpool Street and other towns and villages on the West Anglia mainline for employment, shopping and leisure opportunities. The stations are also within easy cycling distance of the proposed development.
The site is well located in terms of walking and cycle accessibility to existing local facilities and services concentrated in Hertford and Ware town centres. The development site therefore provides residents with a realistic alternative to the private car.
Car and cycle parking for the proposed residential development will be provided in accordance with East Herts District Council’s maximum parking standards.
Flood risk and drainage
The site is located within Flood Zone 1 (lowest flood risk) and is therefore deemed at low risk of flooding from the local watercourse of the New River. Our drainage strategy has therefore been designed to deal with the risk of flooding from surface water and will include underground storage tanks beneath communal parking areas to store runoff and allow it to gradually soak into the underlying chalk bedrock. This follows the current drainage arrangement on site and the tanks will be large enough to store surface water from a 1-in-100-year (plus climate change) event.
Treatment of surface water drainage will be facilitated through the use of gullies, petrol interceptors and porous paving to ensure water quality is maintained. The site layout will be designed to ensure surface water from larger storms is directed away from properties. Our proposals will provide a significant benefit on the management of surface water runoff when compared to the existing situation.