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OUT OF OFFICE: Demolition begins for Maple Cross offices as residents express concern of developments

 Published on: 25th January 2022   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Residents of Maple Cross have been commenting their issues with a potential future development of new warehouses on the site of a soon to be demolished office block.

Work has begun on taking down the Hertford Place buildings, which formerly acted as offices for companies such as Cadburys and Comverse, has stood for over ten years with no occupants inside, slowly gathering dust.

The 57,000 square foot, four-storey building, and on-site multi-storey car park was approved for levelling last August.

Though no planning applications have been put forward as of yet, the application for demolition was put forward by financial company Legal & General Ltd, who expressed an interest in future redevelopment of the site.

It was reported at the time of the application’s approval that the business were preparing a proposal on new warehouses on the site, seeking pre-application advice from Three Rivers District Council.

With another site at the south-east of the village near the Grade II listed Lynsters Farm House and Cottage earmarked for industrial development in the Local Plan and further housing on the village in the way, some villagers have spoken to RICKYnews about their concerns with future proposals.

Issues that have come up have been a potential overload of traffic, air pollution, the effect on school routes and possible encroachment on Green Belt land.

Resident Stephen Blanchard said: “Given the proposed new housing would take Maple Cross to the HS2 works and up against the M25 there would be a huge increase in traffic and footfall in an area already underserved by shops.

“To add a 24-hour warehouse development into the middle of that is negligent at best. Even without the expansion you are looking at something like 400+ large vehicles a day in a road infrastructure poorly equipped to handle it.”

A fellow villager, Geoff Creek, concurred: “The location of warehouses there would place too much traffic on the A412. Mill End road width is unsuitable for more lorry traffic. The M25 at this point often gets blocked by excess traffic volume/accident so the site is unsuitable.”

Judith Cooper said: “If I understand things correctly (and I’m not positive on this), a piece of land’s status was changed for some reason from being Green Belt.

“This has let in the first threat of warehouses being built on unsuitable land and too close to local housing apart from this our local roads are not built for the traffic it now gets, especially when there is a problem on the M25.

Also, with the new school built so close to the main road and the M25 you also get the danger of pollution, and risk of accidents as children go to and fro to school. “

In an email to RICKYnews, economics student Kieron Morgan gave his view in light of the area’s local economy.

He said: “I have been a Maple Cross resident since 2003, and I can’t express enough the importance of objecting to the already proposed warehouse project.

“The only positive development would be a rise in potential jobs, and accrued privatised wealth located on the precise plot of land. The local economic activity would hardly grow.

“My view would be for the council to reconsider allowing a warehouse of such size to be built and focus on protecting the long prosperous future maple cross would have as a community.”

Currently no further applications aside from the demolition plans have been made on the site, but it has still been reserved for future developments.

A spokesperson for Three Rivers District Council said: “The Maple Cross warehouse application is an ongoing planning application, so we are unable to offer any corporate comment on this.

“The application was deferred at the October Planning Committee in order for the council to instruct its own expert(s) to review the application.

“Once this work has been undertaken it is expected that the application will return to the Planning Committee. Unfortunately, there is no timescale for this at present.”

Legal & General have also been contacted for comment.

Photo Credit: Paul Lewis

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