The council has published some newly proposed sites for the local plan which include extensions to some of the previous sites. There will be a cabinet meeting tonight which will include some discussion on these which we will report on later.
Here are plans of the newly proposed, and extended sites in this area;
The Brookmans Park
Residents Association would like to comment on the proposed housing allocation
and proposed sites for development within the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
The Housing Target
The target of
12,500 new dwellings seems to us to be far too high. It is a projected
estimate, over a long period of time, which cannot be validated. In addition,
it is excessively high when compared with neighbouring boroughs and would
appear to have been skewed by recent significant development already completed
on the airfield site in Hatfield. We believe that the council should re-assess
the targets in line with the available brownfield sites, and also take into
account the latest Government initiative in turning unwanted office space into
The need to
provide both 12,500 dwellings and 12,000 jobs in an area already heavily
populated and with significant pressure on existing infrastructure, does not
seem to be logical; if both houses and
jobs are needed then these could be sited in less heavily populated parts of
the country, where brownfield sites are more abundant, and where regeneration
the council on finding brownfield sites capable of taking 5,000 new dwellings
and we urge them to start building new homes on the brownfield sites in the
area, before anywhere else whilst the target figures are re-assessed. We cannot
see that the council has identified any brownfield sites in Brookmans Park.
Green Belt sites
We object to
the proposal to develop any Green Belt land in the district. Welwyn Hatfield is
an already heavily populated district and the Green Belt provides local
communities with valuable recreational and visual amenities, as well as
preventing coalescence. In the Government’s Press Release on 6th October 2014
it was stated that “Councils must protect our precious Green Belt land”. Any
housing proposals must take into account the constraints of the Green Belt and
at present no exceptional circumstances exist to outweigh harm to Green Belt
council maps of Green Belt land, it looks as if Brookmans Park has more Green
Belt surrounding it than is the case.
The maps do not take into account the fact that much of it has already
been developed. For example the RVC car park and playing fields, the Brookmans
Park transmitting site, Queenswood School, Swanley Bar Lane, Swanley Bar
Crescent, Boltons Farm, Reeves Cottages
and houses at Hawkshead Lane and Water End are all shown as Green Belt.
Belt between Brookmans Park and Little Heath, and again between Brookmans Park
and Welham Green, is very narrow. We need this to be preserved if the villages
are not to coalesce. Some of it is agricultural land and we firmly believe that
this should be maintained as such.
impact on the Borough’s infrastructure of an additional 12,500 dwellings and
12,000 jobs as not been fully assessed and the budgets and plans to deal with
this are not in place.
We would also
raise concerns that the existing local infrastructure in Brookmans Park would
not be suitable for large developments, particularly as we understand that the
council is not going to undertake surveys of the individual sites until they
are chosen. This seems to be rather ‘cart before the horse’.
Park, some of our sites are very susceptible to surface water flooding, and
large developments there would exacerbate the problem.
We have a railway station in Brookmans Park, but unfortunately it is
not supported by the fast train service. This results in some residents driving
to Potters Bar or Hatfield for the fast trains. A large development here would
mean many more cars on the roads going to the other two stations.
service is very poor – just one bus an hour.
Park has an attractive village centre, with two small greens, which is
essential to the character of the village. We already have problems with
parking, and a large development would mean more cars in the centre and perhaps
the loss of one or both greens to accommodate the cars.
Individual sites in Brookmans
We agree with
the council on the designation of the Brookmans Park sites, and the resulting
exclusion from the main body of the plan. As well as the reasons already
identified by the council for not including them in the plan, we attach a
detailed list of additional planning reasons for not permitting development,
for each individual site.
Supporting the call for a new
and support the council’s decision to write to the Government, putting the case
for a new Garden City in non-Green Belt land. We strongly believe that this
would be the best way forward.
The BPRA is holding a drop-in advice and help session this coming Saturday 7th March 9.00am - 3.30pm at the Brookmans. This will be for local residents who would like help to respond to WHBC's Local Plan public consultation.
It is important to stress that although most of the sites originally identified for development in Brookmans Park are not in the main body of the Local Plan consultation, they are still in the Appendices. This means that they could come back into consideration at any time! It is important for as many residents as possible to respond to the consultation.
On Saturday, we will have template letters available to take away or complete on the spot, and we hope to have a computer or two on site to help residents to access the WHBC consultation portal, or to send emails.
WHBC are inviting responses by:
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
online at www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan
by post to Planning Policy, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6AE
We will be providing:
General advice on how to respond
Pre-formatted letters including good planning reasons for each site
Access to the internet to enable online responses
A drop-off point for your letters, which we will hand-deliver to the council before the 19th March.
A brief report on the North Mymms Parish Council meeting for residents last night, in which Parish Councillors were keen to hear the views of residents on WHBC's Local Plan These views will form the basis of the NMPC's response to the consultation. It will come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of residents attending expressed opposition to any loss of Green Belt land, and support for the idea of a new Garden City in Hertfordshire's non-Green Belt land. Objections to large-scale development around Brookmans Park and Little Heath included the need to protect precious Green Belt land, the need to prevent coalescence of villages and towns, the lack of infrastructure to support hundreds of extra dwellings, the desire to retain the village community. The meeting ended with Councillors appealing for residents to 'really look around' the North Mymms area for possible brownfield sites - even small ones - and to advise the council of any they may find.Every small development will count, and a few small developments may obviate the need for one large development. Already Brookmans Park is experiencing some increase in new dwellings through houses being turned into flats, and in addition, plans are being submitted to demolish detached houses to build pairs of semis. These can be viewed on WHBC's planning portal. The CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) ran a successful national campaign last year inviting people to identify brownfield sites in their area, and found land enough for 1 million new homes. Their website ishttp://www.cpre.org.uk/
The BPRA is to hold a drop-in advice session on responding to WHBC's Local Plan on Saturday 7th March 2015 from 9.00am to 3.30pm at the Brookmans.
Members of the development committee will be on hand with official consultation forms, drafts of letters for different roads which can be personalised, and laptop computers for immediate access to the WHBC consultation portal.
It is very important that every resident who can respond to the consultation, does so. Although Brookmans Park only has two small 'more favourable' sites, the designation of 'finely balanced' (and perhaps even 'less favourable') couldchange at any time to 'more favourable' and thus be back in the running for development.
Every household should have received the NMDGBS letters by now, and the BPRA flyers will be following shortly.
It is anticipated that BPRA residents in roads most 'under threat' will get together and go door to door to alert neighbours to the need to respond to the consultation. If anyone would like to assist with this and be part of one of the teams, please email us on email@example.com
North Mymms Parish Council are to hold a meeting for residents to 'give their views' on WHBC's Local Plan. The meeting will take place on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 at Chancellors School in Brookmans Park at 7.30pm.
WHBC's Local Plan drop-in 'Consultation Event' should be interesting and informative, and the BPRA urges everyone who can attend, to do so. The times are from 3.30pm to 7.30pm at the Brookmans Park United Reformed Church. There will be a team of 5 Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Principal Planners led by Paul Everard, all of whom will be on hand to answer questions about the Local Plan. They will also explain how best to respond to the consultation, for those who may not be sure. In the display, there will be 14 - 15 boards giving the context of the Local Plan, the research underpinning it, the evidence for the strategy, the proposed distribution for housing and jobs, the economy, the infrastructure, and the likely impact on the Green Belt. This is an excellent opportunity to get information direct from the people that have put the Local Plan together!
North Mymms District Green Belt Society has now published a letter about the Local Plan and how to comment/object, together with a map of the More Favourable, Finely Balanced and Less Favourable proposed development sites around Brookmans Park, and a guide to the key relevant planning objection points on a site by site basis. These will be distributed to all households in Brookmans Park over the next few weeks. Please be aware that these designations could change over the course of the coming year as further evidence could be submitted by developers that affect a site's suitability and therefore it is important that any comments you have about any of the proposed sites are made now, before the Public Consultation ends on March 19th 2015. The letter and maps can be found by clicking through here into the brookmans.com forum http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,92.msg37504.html#msg37504
Here is an update following the NMDGBS meeting on Monday 26th January and the BPRA meeting Tuesday 27th January. The NMDGBS is preparing a defence of all Green Belt sites within North Mymms - the 'more favourable', the 'finely balanced' and the 'less favourable'. Although it is only the 'more favourable' sites in the public consultation, the other two categories still appear in the appendix. The NMDGBS will then issue a map for each village, showing all sites, and giving a list of valid objections to development in each site, for residents to use in their responses to the consultation. The BPRA will provide a list of more 'local' issues that we consider to be of importance for specific sites (eg some residents in The Gardens backing BrP6 have had trouble negotiating household insurance because of localised flooding). Both the above should be completed in the next 2 weeks, the BPRA will then add our list to the NMDGBS list, and there will be a door-to-door leaflet drop with residents able to 'pick and choose' what to put in their letters. The BPRA is also planning a 'drop-in' day in early March, in the village centre, where residents can come for advice and help on drafting responses by letter or on the WHBC consultation portal. More detail as soon as we have it.
The consultation on WHBC's Local Plan will run from Friday 23rd January to Thursday 19th March. There will be a WHBC consultation event on Wednesday 4th February 3.30pm - 7.30pm at the United Reformed Church in BP.
A lively meeting tonight with members of various local groups making clear their opposition to the proposals of the CHPP at the last meeting. However, the Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel's recommendations were unanimously adopted by the Cabinet. The public consultation will take place between mid January and mid March 2015.
Minutes of the meeting can be found here: http://www.welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9805&p=0 And on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/WelwynHatfieldBC
The WHBC Cabinet meeting is Wednesday 17th December, 7.30 in The Cypress Room, Salvation House, Mundells. This will be the 'ratification' of the WHBC Local Plan for consultation, and it will be interesting to see if the Cabinet accepts last week's recommendations from the CHPP. Members of the BPRA's development committee will be there on behalf of BP residents. If anyone wishes to join us, please let me know by IM. The Agenda can be found here: http://www.welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9712&p=0 The Public Report Pack here: http://www.welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9732&p=0
A very interesting meeting last night at the CHPP. Obviously things can change before next week's ratification meeting, and even after that, the full Cabinet may choose to disregard the recommendations made by the Panel. It was agreed that WHBC should send a letter to Eric Pickles making the case for a new Garden City or New Town in Hertfordshire, outside the Green Belt. This is something that the BPRA and others have been urging WHBC to do for some time. However, WHBC still has to proceed with the Local Plan and the following are points that were agreed last night, and will (may?) go forward for ratification at the CHPP meeting on 17th December. The option for a new Garden City or New Town will go into the public consultation. Only the 'more favourable' sites will go forward to public consultation, this would yield 10,100 new dwellings. The 'finely balanced' and 'less favourable' sites will not go forward to public consultation but will appear in the public document to show that they had been considered. Panshanger will be upgraded to 'more favourable' from 'finely balanced', as it is not Green Belt and it has been earmarked for development since 1993. Less proposed development in NW Hatfield, particularly on the HAT1 so as to avoid coalescence with WGC. Marshmoor in Welham Green will move from 'finely balanced' to 'more favourable', on the basis of job creation. WHBC's minutes of the meeting can be found here:
http://www.welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9738&p=0 And on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/WelwynHatfieldBC
The next meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel is tomorrow night 7.30pm at The Cypress Room, Salvation House, Mundells. Members of the BPRA's development committee will be there on behalf of Brookmans Park residents and anyone who wishes to join us will be welcome. The Agenda can be found at this link: http://www.welhat.gov.uk/cabinethousingplanningpanel
Last night was very well attended and Paul
Zukowskyj gave a very informative slide presentation on the latest draft of
WHBC's Local Plan
The point of the meeting was to keep residents
informed of the progress of the Local Plan and the timeline that the council is
working to, this being:
Dec 11 - the CHPP will present the draft Local
Dec 17 - the CHPP will ratify the draft Local
Early January - the Local Plan will be
published for public consultation, and we may have 8 - 12 weeks to respond.
The North Mymms Parish Council, the North
Mymms District Green Belt Society, the Brookmans Park Residents Association
(and, I believe the Welham Green Residents Association and the Little Heath
Action Group) will continue to attend the CHPP meetings. We will all examine
the Local Plan in detail when it is finally published and issue
statements/guidance/recommendations at that point, for residents to use in the
not yet know which proposed sites will appear in the consultation, but it could
be all of those currently under consideration ie BrP1, BrP2, BrP4, BrP6, BrP7,
BrP9, BrP10, BrP12, BrP13, BrP14.
Most questions raised were about the
suitability/viability of the sites, so what follows is a precis of those. Note
that WHBC has already thought of ways to circumvent most grounds for objections
to developing the sites. Note also that full modelling will only take place
after the site(s) is/are chosen.
Q The land floods, so is
unsuitable for housing.
A The council expects the
developer to incorporate a drainage system in the new housing development. This
could be the underground storm water drainage tank mentioned before.
Q The roads are not up to
taking another possible 300 - 600 cars, and access to many of the sites is
minimal - how can Highways afford the changes necessary?
A Highways has done
some modelling, but the full-scale modelling will be done only after the
site(s) has/have been chosen in the consultation. WHBC expects the developer to
pay for this, and possibly a contribution to the new roads too.
Q The infrastructure
cannot support another 300 plus houses.
A When the site(s)
is/are chosen, the developer will have to demonstrate that they can plan for,
and pay for, adequate drainage, water, utilities etc
Q The schools are
not big enough
A There is almost
certainly going to be provision for new schools in developers' plans,
Q There will not be
enough medical provision, Potterells will be overwhelmed.
A There may be
additional provision in developers' plans, and this will be modelled after the
site(s) is/are chosen.
Q Has an
Environmental Impact Survey been commissioned.
A WHBC have already
taken into account information from the Environment Agency. More detailed work
will be done after the site(s) is/are chosen.
Q The sites
proposed are all Green Belt and the Government has said that it is committed to
protecting the Green Belt.
Government has said that there should only be development on the Green Belt 'in
exceptional circumstances'. A requirement to build houses to meet 'an
objectively assessed housing need', may qualify as 'exceptional circumstances'.
WHBC has an 'objectively assessed housing need' of 12,500 new dwellings.
Paul Zukowskyj is calling on WHBC to challenge
the Government’s policy and urge them to consider a new Garden City in
Hertfordshire, outside the Green Belt. The LibDems have a petition on this on
their website which everybody is invited to sign if they are in favour: