Private apartments could fill empty retail slots at Image

Image development, Hemel Hempstead
Image development, Hemel Hempstead
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A line of four retail units at Hemel Hempstead’s modern Image development could be turned into private housing under plans submitted to Dacorum Borough Council.

The sites on the ground floor of the Image site – alongside the KD Tower block on the Leighton Buzzard Road – were intended to be used for shops but have never been in occupation since the complex was completed in 2010.

Image needs planning, Hemel Hempstead PNL-150115-105248009

Image needs planning, Hemel Hempstead PNL-150115-105248009

Current market conditions are blamed for the lack of occupancy. In 2011, permission was granted to allow the second floor of the tower to be converted into housing from office space after a lack of uptake.

The latest proposal, to be considered by the local authority’s development control committee by April, is to create 15 apartments at the site – none of which are to be considered ‘affordable housing’ under existing council regulations. In cases where the applicant considers the site cannot viably support affordable housing policies, a financial appraisal and supporting evidence must be submitted to planners.