Phase 2 Outline Approval by the Development Management Committee – 27 July 2023
The Phase 2 Outline Application was subject to a resolution to grant (subject to the satisfactory completion of the Section 106 agreement) by the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Planning Committee on 27th July 2023. This adds a further maximum of 210 homes to the the north of the Phase 1 Outline Consent issued in 2020 for up to 650 homes.
Project Update – 18 January 2023
From Monday 23rd January, Cognition Land and Water will be on site at DeHavilland Park to carry out demolition of the remaining structures at the former aerodrome site and to clear earth stockpiles.
Initial work will see portacabins installed to form the site office, staff canteen and toilets. Temporary fencing will be put up around the working areas.
Following setup, mechanical excavators and dumper trucks will be used for the demolition and removal of earth stockpiles. Access will be via the existing site entrance off Panshanger Lane and existing internal routes.
The demolition will encompass four structures on the southern boundary and three outbuildings on the northern perimetter. All these structures are of single storey brick construction. The work is being carried following Prior Approval in respect of the proposed demolition being signed off by both Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and East Herts District Council. The locations can be seen on this plan: Demolition Plan (18-01-23)
Cognition will implement the demolition works in accordance with all best practice and legislation, avoiding the generation of noise and dust.
Although the final phase of the investigation works were originally expected to take only 12 weeks, the excavation required was more extensive than anticipated to adequately investigate the archaeological history of the site. The inclement weather since the autumn made working conditions difficult and therefore the works are on hold until the Spring when the site investigations will be completed.
As a result, Homes England’s estates team will soon be erecting a 2 metre Heras wire mesh fence around the entire residential boundary of the site to prevent unauthorised access for health and safety reasons.
This is a precautionary measure whilst the archaeological trenches remain exposed. In the longer term, the final masterplan for the site will consider detailed boundary treatment and the appointed developer will then engage with residents in due course on the implementation of the permanent boundary structure that will be constructed.
Archaeological Works (Autumn 2022)
The archaeological works are making good progress but will continue for another 4-5 weeks to the end of November. Homes England propose to hold a public drop in event in the near future, so that local people can meet the archaeologists and see some of the finds from the site.
The archaeological excavations are designed to expose, map and excavate a series of mainly later prehistoric features which were first discovered using geophysical survey and trial trenches between 2018 and 2021. The excavations are ongoing but have shown that the site contains infilled ditches and pits of Bronze Age and Iron Age date, forming part of a settlement or field system. The Bronze Age lasted from about 2300 to 700 BC and the Iron Age from about 700 BC to the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43.
So far the archaeologists working on site have found plenty of distinctive pottery and worked flint, which makes it certain that people lived or worked on the site in the later prehistoric period. The team will record the archaeological features in situ before they are removed to be taken away for cleaning and interpreting and in time will be sent to a local museum. The finds will not impact on the development programme going forward.
Site investigation works (2021)
An application has been made to the Council to discharge one of the conditions of the outline approval, namely ground investigations. Agreement is being sought for 5cm and 10cm wide boreholes to be drilled across the site before this work takes place.
In the Spring, trenches will be dug across the site so that archaeological investigation works can take place. This is additional to the initial investigation trenches dug in early 2018.
Homes England acquires the former Panshanger Aerodrome (2020)
In March 2020 Homes England, the Government’s housing accelerator, acquired the former airfield land at Panshanger. Homes England had already owned a smaller parcel of land next to Bericot Way.
This means that the whole area designated by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council as “Land North East of Welwyn Garden City” is now under one ownership. The Council issued an outline approval for 650 homes in February 2020 on part of the land.
Homes England will prepare the site for building development by completing the remaining planning stages and then the core infrastructure required, such as the spine road running through the site. By acting as the overall master developer for the site, Homes England will oversee the design quality of the homes that are then built.
We are looking to name the site DeHavilland Park in recognition of the past association of the land with the Hatfield operations of the famous De Havilland Aircraft Company. Your feedback on this would be welcome using the contact details provided.