Garage houses plan sparks a backlash

12-653   Doreen Lynch objects to the building development of the garages near their garden in Widmore Drive, Hemel Hempstead.
12-653 Doreen Lynch objects to the building development of the garages near their garden in Widmore Drive, Hemel Hempstead.
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PEOPLE have reacted angrily to proposals to knock down six garage blocks in Hemel Hempstead to make way for housing.

Residents fear the works – across Highfield, Adeyfield and Bennetts End – will make parking and traffic problems worse and reduce privacy for existing homes.

Council bosses say the garages are under-used and ‘surplus to demand’ and could be cleared to help meet demand for new homes.

The blocks affected are in Westerdale, Sleddale, Widmore Drive, Turners Hill, New Park Drive and Northend.

David Turner, of Teesdale, intends to start a petition against the Westerdale scheme.

He says just 11 out of 24 garages are rented because rents have been hiked to £11.20 per week.

“I’ve got two garages. I’m sure a lot of people are going to be annoyed,” he said.

His neighbour Anita Rabbitt said: “If the council reduced the rent perhaps more garages would be used. It seems the council has increased the rents, resulting in less garages being used, therefore giving them a reason to build on the plot.”

Doreen Lynch, of Widmore Drive, said there would be more traffic problems. “Our back garden is where the houses are going to be built,” she said. “Our garden will be overlooked. There are so many cars there already – there will be even more if they take the garages.”

In a consultation document Dacorum Borough Council says parking spaces will be reprovided where possible but demand for garages ‘has decreased over recent years’.

“The land that these garages sit on has the potential to provide more benefit to local communities if they are redeveloped for other uses, and particularly new housing,” the document says.