Harpenden House Hotel redevelopment is set to face further opposition

PUBLISHED: 15:15 21 November 2014

How the Harpenden House Hotel development could look

How the Harpenden House Hotel development could look

Archant

With the deadline for comments on a controversial Harpenden planning application fast approaching, campaigners are urging residents to get their views into the district council.

They have until December 3 to respond to consultation about a scheme from Fairview Homes to convert the former Harpenden House Hotel into homes.

Town councillors will be meeting to give their views on the application next Tuesday evening.

The development has ruffled feathers in the town since the sale of the hotel was first announced back in February.

It means that that Harpenden no longer has a hotel, following the earlier sale of the Gleneagle Hotel which is also being developed into flats.

For many residents, it is the sheer size and scale of the proposed development which is the crux of the matter.

A public consultation held in July first shed light on what the development would look like, and those opposed commented how totally out of scale it seemed compared to other buildings in the area.

The top of the building was shown to be at least 8m above the original hotel building size, with one objector claiming that it would be the largest residential block in the entire town.

Although the proposed height of Block B has been reduced in the recently-submitted application, neighbour Barry Watson said they have essentially applied for the same scheme with a minor reduction in the roof height.

He went on: “Blocks A and B would have a major impact on the look of Arden Grove and would ruin the appearance of the listed Harpenden House Hotel and the attractive heritage buildings north of it on Southdown Road.”

He added that Block B would be much too close to the existing homes in Arden Grove at a distance of only 23m compared to the recommended distance of 30m.

An online petition opposing the plans has attracted 1,686 names in response to the consultation.

John Hansen, from Save Harpenden House, said Fairview chose to exclude their campaign from the consultation earlier in the year.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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