THE site of a former coking plant could be set to become the heart of a new residential area after plans for a 500-home development were submitted - though a Royston councillor has dubbed the plans ‘speculative’.

Monckton, which closed in December 2014, is the planned site for the new houses but its former use has left many residents confused as to whether or not it is habitable.

From the site’s previous use as a colliery and coking works there are still three mine shafts, five bore holes and significant ground contamination - though the applicants say that work will be undertaken to fix this.

The Pegasus Group, the agents of the application, said: “Remediation of the site is required in order to enable it to be brought back into beneficial use.

“The development would result in the decontamination and remediation of the site prior to the construction of the new residential and commercial development and the associated open space.”

Residents in the area, including 48-year-old Shaun Wood of Calder Close, feel increased traffic problems the area could face with the construction of 500 homes is a major concern.

He told the Chronicle: “Cross Lane and Midland Road are already both mad for parked cars so with even more on the roads you’re not going to get everyone through.

“Traffic is going to get worse on both of those roads as there’s a lot more cars per household - it’ll cause more problems than it will solve.

“I’ve lived in the area for nine years and in that time it’s definitely got worse - there’s potholes everywhere.”

Elsewhere in Royston, plans for more than 800 homes are currently in the works as part of the MU5 masterplan framework - a new primary school and supporting infrastructure with facilities and small-scale retail will also be built.

However Shaun feels that the combination of the Lee Lane development and the plans for the Monckton site will ‘bottleneck’ the village.

“I don’t think we need that many houses, I can understand that we need development but there’s plenty of other brownfield sites that can be used,” he added.

“There’s only two doctors in the village so before more houses can be built there needs to be more facilities in place.”

However Royston Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, believes there is very little chance that the application will be approved.

“It is just a speculative application,” he said.

“There is little chance than it’s going to be built on because as we’ve already established in previous applications it’s not fit to be built on yet.

“There are alternative options for the site but in the short or medium-term there’s going to be no houses built.”