Wednesday, 18 March 2015

BPRA Response Letter

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 Local Plan

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 residential dwellings.
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 is required.
Brownfield sites
We commend 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 land.
On the 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.
The Green 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.
Infrastructure
The overall 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’.
In Brookmans 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.
Our bus service is very poor – just one bus an hour.
Brookmans 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 Park
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 Garden City
We commend 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.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Planning Consultation Response Letters

The BPRA has compiled some response letters for the planning consultation for each of the areas in Brookmans Park. They are in MS Word format but printed versions will also be available on Saturday 7th March at The Brookmans

Click on the link to select and download the files, open them in WORD then make sure you put your name and address at the top and sign at the bottom after printing it. You may leave the final letter at the Newsagents for collection by the BPRA

You can send your responses on as many of the areas as you like and add any further comments if you have any. Please note that all responses will be available to the public on the council's website

BrP1 - Land at Bell Lane
BrP2 - Land North East of the Great North Road
BrP4 - West of Brookmans Park
BrP6 - Land at Bluebridge Road
BrP9 - Friday Grove
BrP10 - Raybrook Farm
BrP12 - Peplins Wood
BrP13 - Land West of Golf Club Road
BrP14 - East of Golf Club Road

Infrastructure response letter

New Barnfield  

BPRA drop-in advice session on the Local Plan Saturday 7th March

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 localplan@welhat.gov.uk
  • 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.


Notes from NMPC meeting for residents on WHBC Local Plan

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 is http://www.cpre.org.uk/