PLANS to expand the controversial Hollies development in Hartford from 350 homes to a potential 626, have been slammed.

The Redrow site, off School Lane, is ‘progressing steadily’ according to the developer.

But now plans to expand the development by a further 276 homes has caused outrage in the community.

Cllr Susan Kaur, CWAC ward councillor for Hartford and Greenbank, said: “The whole development was so controversial. No residents wanted it, and no residents want this expansion to it either. It is simply over-developing the area.”

An initial outline planning application for 350 homes was agreed in 2013 and since then, 279 of those have been given full planning permission over four separate phases, and a number of houses have been completed.

Now, Redrow says that to gain full planning approval for the remaining 71 homes it has outline permission for, would leave the fifth phase of the development with a density that is too low – 11.2 dwellings per hectare.

As a result, Redrow is now asking for planning approval for an additional 276 homes, including 82 affordable homes.

The application states: “It is clear that completing the development in accordance with the terms of the outline approval, which limited development to a maximum of 350 dwellings, would not be a sustainable approach to the development of the site.

“The concept masterplan envisaged a reduction in density as one progressed eastwards through the development, an adherence to the maximum number of dwellings previously anticipated would result in 71 dwellings being developed on 6.3 hectares of land which would be equivalent to an average density of just 11.2 dwellings per hectare.

“It is clear that on any basis, such an approach would result in wholly inefficient, and unsustainable, use of development land.”

Cllr Kaur has called in the application and told the Guardian that the village is already being overdeveloped.

Cllr Kaur said: “The biggest issue at the moment is that we have already have high volumes of traffic at busy times. School Lane is already congested. Are Highways going to do anything about the current problem that we have or are they going to ignore it and make it even worse by allowing this development to increase volumes of traffic?”

One resident of Armstrong Close, Justin Turner, has objected to the application, stating it would have a ‘catastrophic effect’ on traffic in Hartford.

Mr Turner said: “The additional houses on this development will have a serious and catastrophic effect upon the traffic in Hartford.

Currently during the hours of 8am and 9am and 4.30pm and 6pm, Hartford is gridlocked. At times the traffic along School Lane almost backs up to the junction with the A556.

“While I fully support the building of new properties, I cannot see how this proposal can be considered without a complete and independent assessment of the impact to the village of the additional volume of cars.”