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Redevelopment of 3-5 Newells in Letchworth

We recently invited local residents to a community event to see proposed plans for the development of properties 3, 4 and 5, Newells on the Jackmans estate in Letchworth Garden City.

Our commitment at settle is to work with partners to provide good quality homes and services that respond to the needs of our residents, along with investing in neighbourhoods and communities.

Summary

The three properties are currently empty, and we are now exploring the opportunity to develop the existing three-bedroom properties into a three-storey building, of 15 one and two-bedroom apartments for affordable rent whilst retaining communal, green space.

Our plans may also include the remodelling of the garage blocks to the left of the properties at Newells.

Vehicle, cycle and pedestrian access will be retained to serve the nearby allotments, and the Greenway respectively.

Consultation

With a clear commitment to invest in sustainable homes and neighbourhoods, we will use this opportunity to work with construction partners on this development to ensure these new homes are energy efficient.

We are in the process of developing the building design. We hope that this consultation will feed into this process, helping shape the detail before a planning application is submitted.

With the timescale for submission of a full planning application yet to be determined, we are hopeful that works will commence on site in 2022.

Please have a look at our proposed plans and if you have any questions or would like to make suggestions regarding the redevelopment, please email newells@settlegroup.org.uk or call us and a member of our team will get back to you.

Proposed plans for 3-5 Newells Letchworth [PDF] 3MB

The consultation period will close on 18 October.

Update 30 March 2022

At the engagement event held in October last year, we shared our plans to submit a planning application early in 2022. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen obstacles that impact the work planned to the garage compound, this has been delayed.

We will update this page when we’re in a position to submit planning, with a revised timeline of next steps.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by email newells@settlegroup.org.uk or call us and a member of our team will get back to you.

Feedback on resident engagement event on 3, 4 and 5, Newells

Mon, 4 October 2021, 2-6pm, Jackmans Community Centre

Thank you to all of those who attended to see our proposed plans for the development of properties 3, 4 and 5, Newells on the Jackmans estate. We hope that we were able to answer all of your questions and listen to any suggestions or concerns you had regarding the development.

We’d like to share the feedback and questions we received from people who visited on the day, and from others who emailed in, and have attempted to respond as fully as possible.

We’ve responded to every comment individually, grouped by overall theme.

General

If it keeps to the plans shown, we have no problem with the building

It’s great to hear that you like the design we have proposed, however the drawings/layouts/floorplans exhibited at the engagement event are only indicative at this stage. We’re now looking at the next level of detail required to submit a full planning application and are working in collaboration with a team of highly skilled consultants to develop the scheme, to deliver on our targets for the site. We’ll need to see how well our initial design idea will fit in with our sustainability aspirations for the site, as well as our intention to utilise a modern method of construction. These goals might require some additional tweaks to the design.

What purpose?

As discussed at the engagement event, our ambition is to deliver 15 one and two-bedroom homes, exclusively for affordable rent. However, as we develop the scheme and review its performance, it might be that the exact number and mix requires adjustment slightly. If we need to introduce non-rented tenures, we’d look to include several apartments for shared ownership.

What are the present gardens going to be used for?

The gardens currently to the front and rear of the existing homes will be included in the development, but our intention is to retain as much green, open space around the new block as possible.

Garages

Are the garages going or staying?

The intention is to demolish the garages to provide new surface parking to serve the residents of the new block of apartments.

What is going to happen to the garages and are you going to compensate people for taking away their space?  

The garages will need to be demolished to provide new parking spaces for the block. Current licensees of the garages will not be compensated, but please note these garages are subject to a licence agreement that is separate to your tenancy with settle. Some residents may have thought it was paid for as part of their rent, but the licence fee for a tenant is actually £10.62 per week (or around £46 pcm).

The licence fee for non-settle tenants is slightly higher, at £12.75 per week (or around £55 pcm).

On terminating any garage licenses, these amounts will no longer be due for payment.

The residents have always paid for the use of their garages in their rent, so if they were not to be given one, would there be a deduction in rent for this? The residents feel that if you were to demolish the garages, they are potentially the only street on the estate without access to a garage, this is deemed unfair. 

As explained above, the garage rates aren’t part of a tenant’s rent, they’re under a separate garage licence. Individuals who rent garages that are to be demolished will have their licences terminated, and the licence fee (of £10.62 p/w for a settle tenant) will no longer be due.

The main concern and questions are, do you propose to demolish both blocks of garages on that site? Many of the garage users do not have the means, ability or finances to move their belongings elsewhere if this were to happen.

Yes, our intention is to demolish the garages, and use this space to provide new surface parking to serve the residents of the new block of apartments.

If we need to vacate garages, we would like a skip to dispose of rubbish.

Under the terms of your garage licence with settle, we need to give you a week’s notice to vacate. We appreciate that is not very long to organise yourself/relocate your belongings, so will of course give the maximum amount of notice we can. We’ll also do what we can to highlight the potential availability of any local garages that could be licensed in its place. We will review your request for the provision of a skip for disposal of larger, bulky items and keep you posted. 

For those people that have lots of stuff stored in their garages, are you going to provide skips or the means to dispose of unwanted items?

It is not a requirement under the terms of the licence agreement but is a suggestion we will consider as it’s been raised by a number of people.

Parking

Just concerned about where people will park

We’ll comply with North Herts planning guidance/requirements for car parking and we’ll be providing for the proposed block of apartments so that their presence should not add to the parking issues already experienced at Newells.

You made us aware that some people use the garages adjacent to 3-5 Newells for parking, and the expectation was that this would result in numerous cars displaced and requiring a parking space. However, when we conducted research into the usage of the garages in question, we discovered that of the 20 garages, two are currently void, two are sold, and 16 are licenced out. Surveys were sent to the 16 licensees of these garages. We received eight responses to our survey of usage, and five responded that the garage was used for storage only, with only three saying the garage was used for car parking or a combination of parking/storage.

Nevertheless, we will explore options to increase the amount of parking at Newells, where feasible.

Parking is a major issue at the best of times. Many people are taking to parking on the road near the junction which makes access incredibly difficult. Or they are parking on the grass verges in front of other houses. This in turn, during wet months, can cause a lot of damage to the grass verges. Carers come to the street to visit a resident and they often have trouble parking; emergency services also have trouble gaining access. So, with the build of 9 new flats, this assumes 9 potential extra cars to a street that is already heavily congested. This also relates back to the assumed demolition of the garages. Some residents use their garage to park their cars. Should there be no garages, where do they park their cars? Parking on the main road on Pryor Way also isn't viable. Not only is it a main road and a local bus route but there is already a large number of cars on that road, it enables access to the local school, and for obvious reasons, you cannot park on a bend. And further back in Newells, that too is congested in terms of parking. 

As before, we’ll be following North Herts Council planning guidance/requirements in terms of the number of new spaces we’ll be providing for the proposed block of apartments so that their presence should not add to the parking issues already experienced at Newells.  Nevertheless, given that parking is already an issue, we will explore options to increase the amount of parking at Newells, where feasible.

Car parking..........it is already cramped for parking so how are you going to make sure that there is adequate parking for every car owner plus extra spaces for visitors. Some people have as many as 4 cars per house as there is nowhere for them to live that is affordable apart from with their parents.

Availability of parking seems to be a common concern. As we’ve assured residents in the answer above, we’ll have to meet the local planning guidance in providing sufficient car parking for the new block.

We appreciate the acute demand for affordable housing in the area, and our plan to provide a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments is to address the shortfall of homes of this size, compared to the number of people waiting on the common housing register.

Hopefully will have enough parking spaces. Looks nice when complete. Parking round Pryor way bend.

Thank you for your support for the proposals in general. Availability of parking seems to be a common concern. See our responses, above.

More parking. They look nice.

Thank you for your support for the proposals in general. Availability of parking seems to be a common concern. See our responses, above.

Concerned about parking as nearly all families have at least 2 vehicles & work vans.

Availability of parking seems to be a common concern. See our response, above.

Green bushes & Paving that exists - will you convert into parking for the residents?

We’ve taken on board some comments made at the engagement event about areas of bushes in Newells that could be better utilised as additional car parking. We will look into whether or not this is something that we’d be permitted to do and consider this option.

We consider the existing green verge along Pryor Way an important local amenity for existing residents which adds value to the local character of the area. We therefore plan to set back any new development in a similar way. This will allow to maintain a green verge of similar width.

Dig up gardens outside no9 to make more car parking.

We’ve taken on board some other comments made at the engagement event about areas of bushes in Newells that could be better utilised as additional car parking. We will look into whether or not this is something that we’d be permitted to do and consider this option.

Local housing need

Can you assure us that the flats will be used for families living local and not more drug abusers or the like?

Our intention is for all of the apartments to be rented at an affordable rent level.  Applicants would need to be registered on the Common Housing Register. To join this register, an applicant is required to have (and demonstrate) a local connection to North Hertfordshire. Moreover, applicants are considered to not qualify if they, or a member of their household, has engaged in anti-social behaviour or certain types of crime.

Who are the flats aimed to house? There is a concern that if many young people move in, there is the potential for anti-social behaviour to rise and the use of cannabis in the area (which we know to be quite a common thing for the estate and surrounding areas). This is something, which I am sure you can appreciate, is not something the elderly residents would want to see, hear or smell.

The age range of the residents in the street are 35 to 88. There are a couple of young families with young children also. If anti-social behaviour were to be on the rise, on a street that is incredibly quiet and lovely to live in, it would have impact on the wellbeing of those already living there. 

See our response, above.

Disruption

Will access be retained the whole time? 

We will ensure that access will be retained for residents throughout the construction works.

These residents in question have lived in the street for 30-50 years plus. They have raised their families there and as many are in retirement, they are concerned about the level of disruption the construction will have on the cul-de-sac. 

During the demolition and construction phase there is a concern on the amount of HGV's needing access to the site. Coupled with the lack of and congested parking, what plans do you propose to put in place to help during this phase? It needs to be kept in mind that this is a very quiet cul-de-sac with only one way in and there is very little room for vehicles to turn around in. The local refuse collections often have trouble coming in to do their weekly collection. With HGV's on site, resident parking, access to the allotments via the garages and local refuse collections, the road will almost be impossible to access. People will need to access their homes and parking during the day for the school run and for work purposes. Some residents work shifts so are unable to move their cars for a certain time.

Naturally, as with all construction projects, sometimes there will be more noise and traffic around the site, depending on the work that is being undertaken.  We will ensure there is minimal impact from the development works to residents living nearby. There will also be a planning condition that requires a Construction Management Plan to ensure disruption is minimised and emergency and bin collection access is maintained for existing residents at all times, including during construction.

Should these plans go ahead, how long can you expect the whole phase to take?

We plan to submit a full planning application in early 2022.Throughout 2022 we will continue to work with our team to detail the scheme ready for construction and find a suitable partner to deliver the Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)aspect and a contractor to build it.

Providing everything goes to plan works on site could start as early as late 2022 and construction could complete as early as the first quarter of 2024.

Please note that these time scales are estimates and dependent on how long the scheme requires to receive planning permission as well as market lead in times.

How long is it going to take?

See response, above.

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