Access concerns thwart town centre mixed use

Concerns over parking provision for disabled people have led to dismissal of plans for a five-storey mixed-use building on the edge of a Hertfordshire town centre.

400-027-326 (Image Credit: Welwyn Hatfield BC)
400-027-326 (Image Credit: Welwyn Hatfield BC)

No parking space was included in the proposal for a flexible business and community use on an overgrown site below a pedestrianised footbridge leading to train and bus stations and a shopping mall. The appellants argued that the site was highly accessible and the inspector agreed that most visitors would not rely on cars to get to the site. However, as the footbridge had no lift and other routes to and from the town centre were longer and poorly served by public transport, he identified an unmet need for parking for disabled people.

He accepted that the scheme made space available for older children and teenagers, despite deletion of a skate park from the plans, and that it would make efficient use of brownfield land, create jobs in an accessible location in an attractive building and benefit the wider community. However, he decided that these benefits did not outweigh the inadequacy of access for people with disabilities.

Inspector: Mark Philpott; Written representations

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