Permission has been granted for two new houses to be built on open space in Stevenage.

At a meeting of Stevenage Borough Council's Planning Committee on Tuesday, October 3, members voted to approve plans for the new houses on Conifer Walk, near The White Way.

The plans include one one-bedroom house and one two-bedroom house, and retain a small area of open space.

The application had been called into the committee by Cllr Andy McGuinness, who represents Manor ward.

He cited concerns about the loss of open space, potential issues with car parking, and the impact of the development on nearby properties and on the character and appearance of the area.

The Comet: The proposed elevations of the new one-bedroom (top) and two-bedroom houses.The proposed elevations of the new one-bedroom (top) and two-bedroom houses. (Image: Architech Limited / Stevenage Borough Council)

One of the properties will have a single parking space, while the other will have a single garage and an additional parking space.

The planning application received 38 comments from members of the public, all of them objecting to the development.

Speaking to the Comet, Cllr McGuinness said it was "incredibly disappointing" to hear that the "completely bonkers and completely inappropriate" development would be going ahead.

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He believes that it "takes away a really well-used amenity space from local people" and will add to "parking woes".

Cllr McGuinness added:  "I'm grateful and not surprised that both of my Liberal Democrat colleagues voted against the over-development and the planning application.

"But because the application itself had gone through so many iterations to make sure it ticked every council planning box, in some ways there was little the council could do.

"It just shows that the planning system in Stevenage isn't fit for purpose and it doesn't work for local people - it's putting the needs of developers over those of constituents."

The UK currently has a significant housing shortage, and the Stevenage Borough Local Plan for 2011-31 identified a need for 7,600 new homes in the area across that period.

According to a report from Heriot-Watt University, around 340,000 new homes need to be supplied in England per year to end the housing shortage. Around 233,000 new homes were supplied in 2021/22.