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Elstree Way Corridor debate: 'It will be carnage'
Neighbours gave an overwhelming thumbs-down to plans to regenerate the Elstree Way Corridor at two heated public meetings tonight.
More than 140 turned up to the civic offices, in Elstree Way, Borehamwood, to hear about proposals to build 800 new homes in the gateway to Borehamwood Town Centre from the A1(M) to the Tesco roundabout.
Earlier this year, Hertsmere Borough Council approved plans to demolish Isopad House and replace it with a 12-storey block - much to the dismay of residents who say they were not consulted.
Tonight, planning officer Mark Silverman admitted only 117 were sent a letter about the block of flats.
The authority also held a public meeting in Fairway Hall on May 3 - but only six residents attended and one objection was received.
Mr Silverman said: “The council met, if not exceeded, the statutory requirements for consultation. We can’t consult every resident in Borehamwood.”
Cllr Harvey Cohen, who is responsible for planning and localism, said: “We learnt a big lesson. We need to increase the amount of people we consult.”
Many called the Isopad House “horrific” - but councillors said the plans have already been set in stone.
There were claps and cheers from the audience as Eldon Avenue resident Judith Gamse told the committee "Isopad stinks".
Baker Court and Eldon Avenue residents, who already struggle to find places to park their cars near their homes, said the addition of new homes would cause an even bigger scramble for places.
New Isopad tenants will each be allocated one parking space per flat in a special underground car park.
Councillor Jean Heywood echoed their views and promised to work with them to find a viable solution.
And with hundreds of new people moving into the area, others told the committee the rush hour traffic will be "gridlock".
A Shenley Road resident said: “The roads will lock up. The A1 is already a nightmare in the morning and this will make it so much worse.”
Under the scheme, the two roundabouts in the Elstree Way could also be removed to make way for new developments, a move resident Lloyd Feldman warned would cause "carnage”.
Alan Rogers, highways consultant for Hertfordshire County Council said the scheme was "a work in progress".
In answer to Cllr Alan Plancey request for reassurance the borough's green belt land would not be built on, Mr Silverman said: “Our number one priority is to protect the greenbelt, but we have to meet housing needs.
"We can’t put up a drawbridge, but I'm fairly optimistic that we will be able to reject planning applications on our green belt land."
More than 15 per cent of shops lie empty and abandoned in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, and resident Carol Jones told the committee it is becoming a "ghost town".
She said: “You must look at Borehamwood before you start dabbling. Do something about it. We don’t want it to turn into an unpopulated slum.”
Mayor of Hertsmere Cllr Paul Morris has vowed to revive Shenley Road, where more than half of the shops lie empty.
He said: “We’re looking at ways to bring them into other uses and not just for conventional retail. The needs of the high street have changed."