Village square will bring back sparkle

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PLANS for a new village square in Markyate have been given the go-ahead despite concerns from firms that will have to be uprooted.

Under the proposals a square will be created off Hicks Road with a new surgery, shops and 75 homes.

But the work will mean clearing workshops and warehouses that are home to long-established businesses, though some will be able to stay.

The green light was given at a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee.

Mark Braden, speaking for one firm, said: “We make things, we mend things, we support things, we employ local people.

“While we accept the requirement for more housing, we believe the plans could easily have been drawn to include all the existing businesses – unfortunately they don’t. They have been drawn to make profit.”

However, others spoke in support of the plans, which include opening up the River Ver and creating a pocket park.

Councillor Bert Chapman, a member of the borough council and Markyate Parish Council, said: “For many years it’s been an eyesore – it lets the village down. We would’ve like to keep all the commercial premises but life isn’t like that. We would like to put a sparkle back into Markyate and we think this development will do that.”

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe said: “I think this is a really good scheme that will improve the area. I do have concerns about the loss of industrial units. It seems a shame when you have businesses that are doing well and creating job opportunities. We seem to be in danger of losing some of them.”

The committee voted unanimously to delegate the plans with a view to approval.