Royston is the third-largest of the four towns in North Hertfordshire when measured by population. The relative isolation of the town means that it plays an important service role for many of the surrounding villages in both Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. At the time of the 2011 census the town had a population of 15,781 and there were 6,800 dwellings in the town. Development of the town has tended to be informed by the busy roads running through and around the town and the Cambridge-to-London railway line that bisects the town.
The town grew up around the crossroads of the ancient Icknield Way and Ermine Street, although the market place is not at the crossroads itself but to the south-east. One theory as to why the market is not at the crossroads is that Ermine Street originally approached the town from the south-east along Grange Bottom, avoiding the steepest parts of the hill to the south, and that the present line of High Street / London Road is a result of medieval realignments. The town centre is covered by a conservation area.
Gladman were founded in 1987 by multi-millionaire David Gladman and are based in Cheshire. They describe themselves as “the UK’s most successful strategic land promoter”. Gladman have taken a strategic decision to tackle a weakness in UK Government Policy and in particular where County Councils and District Councils do not have a current Strategic Development Local Plan. We should point out that not all Gladman planning applications fall into this category, but a large number do.
Gladman simply find land and submit outline planning permission applications. If outline planning permission is granted they negotiate the sale of the land along with the permission to the building developer with the highest offer. Yes, this is all about money. Gladman approach the land owners it is understood on a “No Win No Fee” basis, and the landowner and Gladman share the profits.
We are residents of Royston, some with local roots going back many generations. Like all residents, we are the current custodians of the town. The town is on loan to us and it is in our interest to make certain that we help the town to have a long and sustainable future.
Although they claim a high success rate, analysis of recent schemes would suggest that where schemes go to appeal, Gladman are currently losing more than they are winning.
The land is owned and was farmed for many years by Mr Alan Baddeley who lives at Heath Farm previously named Wicker Hall, at the southern end of Briary Lane. Mr Baddeley owns other fields in and around the south west of Royston. There are no publicly announced plans to develop other nearby land around the proposed site but this has not been ruled out either.
As agricultural land the current value is in the region of £8,600 per acre. If outline planning permission were to be granted the value would be between £600k and £1m per acre. The proposed development is 9 hectares so about 22 acres.
If you are opposed to this planning application, now is the time to join our fight against the proposals. Register your interest via the contact us page and please contact us if you have any information that you think could help us fight this proposed development. All ideas are welcome, and you could be the difference between success and failure for this campaign! We sincerely hope that we will be able to convince North Herts District Council to reject the application. However, we believe, based on prior similar proposals, that, if the outline planning permission is rejected, Gladman are likely to take this to appeal.
Eight sites are allocated in Royston providing a total of more than 1000 new homes. A further 663 further homes have been built or granted planning permission since 2011.