Planning permission for nine new houses has been granted by the Watford Borough Council despite objections from the Meriden Surgery and surrounding residents.
The application, made by Herts Living Ltd., sought permission for the development of nine three-bedroom houses in Meriden Estate, where Meriden Primary School once was. The school was closed in 2004 and subsequently demolished the following year. Since then, the land has been empty.
Meriden Surgery made a formal complaint, citing various potential issues, including fears that the development would “reduce light coming into the Surgery clinical areas and darkening of our GP surgery” and would result in the “loss of privacy for patients during normal consultation hours as the intended houses face directly towards the consultation rooms on ground floor and first floor.”
In their initial report, a case officer for Watford Borough Council found that the houses would be at least 13.5 metres away, which would “ensure no significant overlooking or loss of outlook from the rooms within the surgery. Any loss of light at this distance would be negligible.”
Meriden Councillors have recently campaigned to ensure the land be utilised for community-based purposes, and Meriden Surgery were already in the process of developing the dormant land for community use. “We wanted to develop a larger community development space with space for the local District Nurses, Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy, a local Job Centre, mental health unit, Health Visitor centre and a possible Surgical Centre to divert more specialist work into community NHS clinic.
“We are in the preliminary stages of discussions with the local CCG and local partners about our intentions of developing such a community project with little success in speaking to the right people about how to take this project further.”
The surgery’s final complaint, that the houses could exacerbate the parking issues already in the area, is corroborated by existing residents of the Meadows.
One resident said: “I’d like to object on the development based on, parking issues, outlook and over development. We are already struggling with parking.”
Another resident commented: “Car parking is an issue. Parking permit is not required at The Meadows, and we struggle to have parking space as it is. With new development we will lose that space too.”
The case officer determined that parking would not be enough of a significant issue to prevent the plans from going ahead, as the development would provide 18 allocated parking spaces for the new houses, which would be sufficient to avoid an increase in parking issues for the area.
The officer concluded that: “The proposed houses are in keeping with the character and appearance of the area, providing a good quality of family accommodation for future residents, and having no significant adverse impact on the amenity of adjacent sites.”