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Posted on 07 Jan 2013

On the 6th December 2012, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council resolved to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of the Ponsbourne Park Estate, to the north of the village of Newgate Street, Hertfordshire, to provide a Training Academy for Tesco Stores Ltd. 


The Proposal

The scheme proposed the demolition of a number of buildings - including the Ponsbourne Park Hotel - and their replacement with a campus style Academy providing a flexible training facility, accommodation and leisure facilities, having a floorspace of approximately 6,600m².  Planning permission was also sought for the redevelopment of the existing tennis club; the re-use of the retained former agricultural barns to provide a combined heat and power building; the modification of the walled garden; the repair of the ice house and the restoration of the Estate’s original landscape character and features.


Metropolitan Green Belt

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have accepted the arguments promoted by DLA Town Planning Ltd, that the proposed Training Academy would not result in any greater harm to the Metropolitan Green Belt than the existing Hotel, Accommodation Block and Training facilities that they would replace, so as to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework. 


With regard to the other elements of the proposal, it was accepted that the Very Special Circumstances identified by DLA were sufficient to justify the grant of permission on this occasion.  In particular, account was taken of the reduction in built footprint resulting from the demolition of a number of the existing agricultural buildings and the benefits associated with the conservation and enhancement of the landscape as designed by cHOROS Landscape Architects 



The scheme was designed by Briffa Phillips Architects and details of the design process can be found here.  Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said of the Training Academy that its design was innovative being influenced by it setting, notably through the choice of materials, the curved design, and siting of the higher section, set against the existing woodland backdrop. The Council’s planner’s concluded that the building would “provide a building of its own time of a quality better than the one it replaces.”


Due to the scale of the development within the Green Belt, the application will now be referred to the Department for Communities and Local Government. 

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