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Hertsmere Borough Council approves development on Isopad House Hertsmere House site in Borehamwood
Councillors have voted to approve “the most important” landmark building in the borough.
Hertsmere House and Isopad House on Shenley Road in Borehamwood will now be demolished to make way for a 12-storey block of flats.
Described by architects Assael as an “elegant, high quality building”, the design will replace the red brick office blocks that planning officers say have “little architectural quality”.
Speaking at the meeting in the Hertsmere Borough Council offices, architect Greg Greasley said: “This building would be the most important landmark building in the borough
“It would set the benchmark for design quality in the Elstree Way corridor against which all future development proposals would be assessed.”
The private residential building, constructed of white brick, will contain 114 one, two and three-bedroom flats.
There will be a separate affordable housing block of buff coloured brick, containing 36 one and two-bedroom flats.
No members of the public objected, with some from nearby Baker Court expressing interest in moving into the building.
Councillors also welcomed the building, with Councillor Seamus Quilty, who is responsible for housing and economic development, calling it a “state of the art” development which would set the benchmark for others in the area.
However Elstree Studios expressed concerns about the building’s height, which means it will overlook the studios.
It also worried that residents in the new flats might complain of the noise created by the studios, which operates 24 hours a day.
Speaking on their behalf, Councillor Paul Morris said: “The studio is already under a noise abatement notice after residents in Maxwell Park Road, which is the same distance away, complained.
“The high profile work of the studio means it requires not to be overlooked. The fact this building with its balconies has a good view of the studio may be a selling point.”
Cllr Quilty criticised the plan for its lack of affordable housing.
He said: “Our council has a vision for 35 per cent affordable housing on all development.
“This is a great vision but we never seem to be doing it. We are hitting 24 per cent with this development.
“It doesn’t surprise me developers said having more would not be viable.
"Maybe we should be challenging their viability studies more?”
Councillor Jean Heywood also said the plans contravened the Elstree Way Area Action Plan, which recommends any new buildings should be less than six stories high.
She added: “Why bother with the action plan?
"This is double the recommended height right in the middle of a very prominent area, it’s too overpowering.”
However councillors voted eight to one to approve the development, with the condition the building has appropriate soundproofing and that Elstree Studios plants mature trees opposite it to create a privacy screen.
Cllr Quilty added: “This cutting-edge design says something really good about the way Borehamwood is developing.”
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