Old Royal Mail site set for first class revamp

A housing association has been granted planning permission to build 86 affordable homes and a self-storage facility on the former Royal Mail site on Park Lane in Hemel Hempstead.

The new development will include a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments and two and three-bedroom houses, for both affordable rent and ownership from Hightown Praetorian & Churches – subject to conditions being met by the developers.

David Bogle, chief executive of Hightown, said: “This project will provide a welcome boost to Hemel Hempstead.

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“As well as bringing economic benefits, the new development will improve the approach to the town.

“There is strong demand in Hemel Hempstead for housing that local people can afford and Hightown’s residents will help to bring life back into the town centre especially during the evenings and when offices are closed.”

Councillor Margaret Griffiths, who oversees housing, welcomed the development. She said: “This is clear evidence that by working together we can bring about much needed affordable homes to meet the need for housing in Dacorum.”

The development is in line with the council’s master plan to revitalise the town centre – a scheme known as Hemel Evolution.

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There were, however, concerns raised at a council development control committee meeting on Thursday night – primarily regarding the look of the development, as well as parking facilities and the planting of trees close to the building.

The self-storage facility will feature a chequered exterior design, and Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe said: “We do not want the unit looking all higgledy-piggledy. If we are going for a quality building, let’s maintain that quality throughout.

Councillor Anthony McKay added: “I don’t want it to end up looking like Wally World.”