Updated 21 May 2007...............

Airport expansion consultation paper - The Government issued a series of consultation papers concerning the expansion of airtports in England. The closing date for comments was 30 Nov. 2002. We wrote expressing grave concerns mainly about the increased conjustion in the South East that this would cause. Expansion would cause a loss of Green Belt for the increased size of the airports, for the necessary infrastructure (roads etc) and for housing for the extra staff required. These extra staff would also require support facilities of schools, etc which would also require extra staff. We asked if these would be additional to the 200,000 new homes already announced by John Prescott.

CPRE - Herts Society held a meeting on 13 Nov 2002 at which a Herts County officer explained the likely consequences of the government expands Luton, Stansted and/or Heathrow airports, or builds a new airport at Cliffe, Kent. We attended this meeting and will write opposing expansion. The speaker will be our guest speaker at our AGM next March. On 29 Nov the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution issued a report concluding that expansion of all airports should be halted for good. A copy of our comments to DoT has been circulated to all members, Herts CC, WHDC and our MP. Our MP Melanie Johnson has now acknowledged receipt of her copy and expressed her 'serious concerns about the effects of the Luton and Stansted proposals'

ERGO magazine, based in London, has contacted us in September and we have given them information for a feature article in their next issue. It will be about the Metropolitan Green Belt and the pressures to develop on it. They intend to illustrate it with photos taken locally in Welham Green.

Folly Arch, Hawkshead Rd, Little Heath - crack. In June 2002 we were advised that structural engineers have drawn up a new schedule of work which has been costed and sent to English Heritage (EH) for their approval. EH wrote to Welwyn Hatfield Council on 22 August to say that costs have increased and they are assessing an request to increase their grant. EH 'are pressing for a late summer start regardless'. Update 27 Sept - we have written to EH asking them to ensure work starts this year since the work is unlikely to be affected by winter weather. Update 6 Oct - EH acknowledged our letter saying that they 'are still corresponding and nogotiating with the owners in an attempt to encourage them to make a start this year and avoid further delays'. Update 26 Oct -

1071/2002 - Folly Lodge, Hawkshead Lane, Little Heath - The owners applied to erect a detached garage at the rear of the Lodge, with access down the drive at the righthand (east) side of the land. We objected on the grounds of an increased mass of buildings on the skyline in the Green Belt, and noted that the originally approved plans in 1993 had an integral garage in the esat wing of the Lodge. On 24 Sept 2002 the application was withdrawn at the applicants request.

Welwyn Hatfield District Plan Review - early in August we learned of a proposed amendment to the Green Belt boundary at welham Green. It would remove a 10 acre field from the green belt, situated at the rear of properties on Station Road and the south side of Bulls Lane. There have been several attempts at this, all of which have failed. We have objected to the Council since the County Structure Plan, and current review of Welwyn Hatfield District Plan, say there is no need to build on the green ebtl for at least 10 years.

In June 2002 we received the updated version of the Review and a note of our comments/objections stating whether they have been accepted or not, with reasons. Some of our comments have been accepted but others have not where the Council is having to follow Government policy guidance. We feel that the relaxation of some guidelines will increase the degree of interpretation.

Milkwood farm, Dixons Hill Close, Welham Green - In 2000 the Courts upheld a Planning Inspector's decision that a bungalow on the farm was unauthorised and must be pulled down. In July 2002 we learned that a High Court quashed the Inspector's ruling and a new appeal is being heard. We have repeated our objections. The hearing will be on 10 September. UPDATE 7 Sept 2002 - the appeal has been withdrawn. We understand that the Council is to take action to have the unauthorised bungalow demolished.

962/2002 - 1 Warrengate Road, North Mymms - application for a cert of lawfulness to continue use of the site as a haulage depot and plant storage - We have objected on the grounds that the type of plant being stored - very tall 'cherry picker-type' of mobile raised platforms - is out of keeping with the area and reduces the openness of this green belt countryside.

992/2002 - The Willows, Marshmoor Lane, North Mymms - change use of stable block to residential, and construct additional stable block - we have objected. There is planning permission for the existing mobile home or wooden structures on the site, so no approval should be given to any extra structures. Precendents and the District Plan say that residential accommodation is not allowed at stables in the green belt.

See previous year's report giving the background. The owner was fined 1,000 with costs and required to remove the caravan/mobile home to comply with an enforcement order. On 11 January 2002 there was still a caravan on the site, and we notified the Council. In March we alerted the Council to the continuing presence of the caravan and the construction of a large shed without planning permission. This was the stables subject of the above planning application.

Update 6 Oct 2002 - we understand that the owners were taken to court on 4 October by Welwyn Hatfield Councill, and fined for not removing the unauthorised structures on this site.

968/2002 - 60 Mymms Drive - front wall, railings and gate - we objected as being out of keeping with the area, and would set an unfortunate precedent if approved. WH Council refused the application because it would detract from the open and spacious character of Mymms Drive, and have an adverse impact on the character, appearance, and environment. An appeal has been lodged on 16 September and we have advised the Planning Inspector that none of the properties on Mymms Drive, Calder Avenue, The Grove etc have such a barrier at their front.

942/2002 - White Lodge Farm, Bulls Lane, Bell Bar - temporary siting of mobile home on land at rear of farmhouse - we notified the Council of this mobile home last Christmas. We have objected since we do not believe there are sufficient very special circumstances to warrant approval.

930/2002 - land at rear of 2 Bradmore Way, Brookmans Park - outline application to build a detached house and garage - we have objected as being out of keeping with the immediate area, and the poor access.

686/2002 - Booths Close, Welham Green - On 5 July 2002 the Council refused an outline application to erect a dwelling on land at the rear of 20 Booths Close. We had objected on the grounds of being a backland site and far too small for a house.

825/2002 - 1 Dixons Hill Close, Welham Green - erect new dwelling - we have objected being the erection of a dwelling on Green belt land. The Council has refused permission

846/2001 - White Lodge Farm, Bulls Lane, Bell Bar - planning permission was granted in 2001 to convert the former slaughterhouse into residential accommodation with a condition that, in effect, it cannot be sold off separately from the main house. We have noted work to other buildings at this farm, and a mobile home on the land. We have asked the Council to investigate in case planning permission is required for these activities on this Green Belt land. A new planning application has been submitted in the week ending 14 June for a lake for fish breeding and recreational fishing. This had been included in a previous application and then withdrawn. In week ending 29 June 2002 a further planning application has been submitted (S6/2002/942/FP) for the temporary siting of a mobile home at the rear of the farmhouse. We will consider these at our next meeting.

6/2002 - 111 Dixons Hill Road - cert of lawfulness for a birdhouse. We objected as being inappropriate in the Green Belt. Approved by the Council on 18 March 2002.

227/2002 - Brookmans Park Transmitting Station, Gt N Road - 9.3m dish - we have objected on grounds of the size being inappropriate in the Green belt. Update 6 Oct 2002 - approval given by WHDC on 16 Sept 2002.

231/2002 - Lower Farm, Bell Lane, Bell Bar - renovate barn as a helicopter hangar and garage for cars, helicopter landing pad etc - We have objected most strongly as inappropriate in the Green Belt, and a disaster for neighbours and disturb horses in the four nearby stable blocks. We have alerted Crown Castle Communications, owners of the former BBC site, as well as householders on Bell Lane and the Great North Road. In May 2002 the appliocation was approved by the Council after withdrawal of the use of the barn as a helicopter hangar. We are querying this and whether there is a condition limiting helicopter movements to after 7/7.30am and before dusk. UPDATE June 2002 - Welwyn Hatfield Council may take enforcement action 'against the use of a helicopter from the site'.

322/2002 - Leggatts Park, Gt North Rd, Little Heath - brick wall and entrance gates with 3.3m maximum height - we have objected. Brick wall is inappropriate and its height reduces the openness of the Green Belt. Refused by WHDC. A new application has been made siting the wall and gates further up the driveway so that arriving vehicles will not cause any blockage on the Great North Road while waiting for the gates to open.

344/2002 land at Bulls Lane, Bell Bar - erect agricultural workers dwelling - not inappropriate in the Green belt, but we will ask for a condition restricting occupancy to agricultural workers and their family.

419/2002 - 31 Pine Grove, Brookmans Park demolish house, erect two detached dwellings - the site overlooks the Green Belt. Aproval already given to two smaller houses and this application seems to be similar in size to plans already rejecetd before approval of the smaller dwellings. We have objected on those grounds. Approved by the Council on 2 August 2002.

476/2002 - Villa Rosa, 3 Gt N Rd, Brookmans Park - demolish and erect two new dwellings - Green belt land. We have objected to the change from a restaurant to residential use. It is apparent that the building was originally a dwelling house but we do not know when it became a restaurant. This application has been withdrawn.

Woodside Lane, Bell Bar - Titchfield Constr Ltd appear to have changed the use from haulage to fabrication, and we have advised the Council. They have applied to change the existing licence to enable tghem to keep an extra 5 goods vehicles and 3 trailers on the site. We have objected since they appear to be using the site for unauthorised purposes and operating outside the hours in the licence.

Fly-tipping - we have written to the County Council suggesting the use of earth banking to prevent parking by fly-tippers. This would be similar to the action taken to prevent gypsies setting up camp on the side of roads. Update 23.1.02 - The County Council advises us that responsibility lies with Welwyn Hatfield Council and they have forwarded our letter.

Housing needs in Hertfordshire - We may have detected local concerns about the 'wish-list' described below produced by consultants for the County Council. In December 2001 our 'search' facility was used to try and find planning applications for the North Mymms Working Men's Club, and 'rugby development plan'. Verbally we have heard worries about the Holloways Lane idea considered to be an over-development increasing the traffic on this cut-through.

The present plan was finalised in 1998 but covered a period from 1991, so it is out of date and based on obsolete information. The government is said to be committed to revitalise decaying urban areas and reduce development pressures on greenfields. Good news for Herts countryside if fully incorporated into the new County and District Plans. The first stage of consultation can be seen in libraries and on the Herts Direct website www.hertsdirect.org. . The revisions to the County Plan will feed through into revisions to the more local District Plans i.e. Welwyn Hatfield in our case.

According to Welwyn Hatfield Times - 21 Nov edition, Herts CC have included in their 'wish-list' of possible sites these two in North Mymms parish:

- Holloways Lane, Welham Green - replace 6 detached bungalows in large grounds with 34 flats

- replace North Mymms Memorial Hall and the working men's club with 9 flats.

The results of the County urban capacity study have just been published and provide hope for the Herts countryside. Potential space for 62,000 more houses has been identified. This includes greenfield and Green Belt sites such as Bishops Stortford, Hemel Hempstead, Panshanger & west of Stevenage, as well as space with existing settlements. The latest government requirement for Herts is 49,200 units by 2016. This shows that the county can meet its housing need without using greenfield or Green Belt sites, according to the CRE-Herts Society. However CPRE say that all districts in the county must be prepared to use flexibility in their approach to housing provision, including innovative design and imaginative use of sites. Smaller sites will have to be developed which can cause problems with planners and developers. CPRE say the NIMBY attitude is also likely to cause problems but we must all try to see the potential benefits for the countryside and decaying ares in our towns.

CPRE-Herts Society have analysed the draft East Herts Local Plan 2001-2011 and noted a 14% overprovision for housing. But 'PPG3 - Housing' advises planners to identify only sufficient land to meet the agreed housing requirement. The problem of over-identification is the signal it sends to developers that these sites ARE available, no matter how many provisos may be put in the final version of the plan. CPRE have objected to any Reserve Housing Land sites in the plan.

Herts County Council are expected to start consultation in the next few months on updating its Structure Plan.  As part of that exercise, the County Urban Capacity Study has just published its results and has identified potential sites for 62,000 more houses.  The latest Government requirement for the county is 49,200 units by 2016.  CPRE- Herts Society (Council for the Preservation of Rural England) says in its  October Newsletter that 'this shows the county can satisfy its housing need without using greenfield sites'.  

We wrote to the County Council about the Government requirement for 49,200 homes in the County in 2001-2016. This is 3,280 a year for 15 years, extending the existing 3,280 a year requirement which was only to 2006. The County Structure Plan, and District Council Plan are being updated to 2011, so why 2016 for housing?

According to CPRE-Herts Society, developers are building at a faster rate that the target. We have asked if there is a base date from which requirements and achievements are compared, and credit given for any excess production. Reply - 2001 is the base date and no credit is allowed for any previous building in excess of targets.

Update 30 Jan 2001 - Herts CC reply that it is standard practice to update for a 15-year period. They also have reservations about many of the listed sites contained in the research report. We replied that this seemed to be a waste of time since there are so many variables over a 15 year period, and the list produced by consultants appeared to be poor value for money if over half are unlikely to be viable.

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