Plans for one of the largest housing developments to be built in Berkhamsted in recent years was given the seal of approval from borough planning chiefs last night.
The Taylor Wimpey-led application for 92 homes, playing fields and public open space on land off Shootersway was approved by a majority of eight in favour and two against at a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee.
The authority had previously refused the application in June last year, the decision for which is currently the subject of a planning appeal by the developers.
Taylor Wimpey subsequently submitted a separate planning application for the proposed site which sought to overcome the reasons the previous application was refused, particularly in relation to traffic calming measures in the affected area.
Previous debates surrounding the project had led to angry neighbours calling for the homes not to be built until new infrastructure arrangements could be made to make the area safer for children walking to nearby schools.
Neighbour to the site Anne Foster spoke in objection to the plans at last night’s meeting, saying fellow residents’ main concerns relate to the impact on traffic in an area already commonly used as a ‘rat run’ to escape town centre delays.
In an effort to allay fears the developer - which will be working alongside a partner agency on the project - had agreed to put forward two contributions totalling £500,000 as forward funding for sustainable transport measures in the area and junction improvements for Kingshill Road.
Cllr Fiona MacDonald said during the debate: “Even 10 years ago this road was used as a rat run, and it will clearly be exacerbated.
“Although we have a great deal of sympathy with the residents there, it doesn’t impact on this planning application that we could incorporate any conditions.”
County council development manager for South West Herts Nick Gough, present at the meeting, said: “We recognise the area is under pressure. There will be winners and losers in this scheme.
“We can work with residents and Dacorum Borough Council to see if there are measures we can suggest and offer assistance.”
There are 200 parking spaces planned for the site, which would be built between Coppins Close and a wooded area called The Plantation, and the main entrance to the development would be from the 60mph road Shootersway.
Work is expected to be started on the site by the end of 2015, with the first dwellings hoped to be completed by August of next year.
By March 2017, around 50 homes are expected to be completed and occupied, with all 92 filled by the same time the following year.
Once permission was granted, Cllr and committee chairman Graham Sutton said: “It has been a long haul, but I think democracy has been shown to work in this case.
“Officers, applicants and residents have all been able to have their input.”
The plot will neighbour the Local Allocation for around 40 further new homes on the south side of Shootersway, dubbed LA4 as set out in Dacorum Borough Council’s Core Strategy.