News

 More recent News articles are carried on the front page of this website (HOME).

December 14th:  Since the meeting on the 11th we have had supporting statements from the two local councillors not on the housing panel of cabinet. This is welcome of course, but it’s the most influential councillor who has not given any supporting statement. As a further reminder of past comments below is a pre-election leaflet from May this year. The quote at the bottom points out their opposition to the airfield, but so far no opposition from Cllr Trigg.

Conservative leaflet May 2014

Conservative leaflet May 2014

Another development at the meeting was an intention to write a letter to the goverment Department for Community and Local Government (DCLG), asking them to progress the idea if accomodating housing growth in a new Garden City or New Town somewhere else. A draft letter was discussed, you can read that by clicking here.

Cllr Cowan offered to strengthen this draft letter and that was agreed, it’s also noteworthy that he voted against making the airfield a ‘more favourable’ site, but of course he was outvoted by Cllr Trigg and most others (see below).

It also occurs to us that going ahead with consulting the public only on the ‘more favourable’ sites means that the council won’t be able to propose the full 12,500 homes that they have stated is their target. This means that other sites may have to be considered at a later time. However, we have been told that the coming public consultation will be the final one. This means that any other sites put forward will not be subject to public consulation at all. This will surely be unacceptable to those living close to the areas in question, and ultimately of concern to the independent planning inspector who will have to approve the final plan. In these times of ‘Localism’ not consulting residents at all on some of the housing sites probably won’t wash.

December 11th: Bad news for Panshanger as the planning committee votes to change the airfield site (WGC4) from being ‘finely balanced’ to ‘more favourable’, so it can be included in the January consultation.

Tonight the Council Housing and Planning Panel (CHPP) met to debate which housing sites should be included in the next and final public consultation. We had lobbied all Panshanger councillors before the meeting (and for the last couple of years) to ensure they stood up for Panshanger and sought to remove the airfield site from the Local Plan.

However, our only councillor on that committee, Cllr Roger Trigg, did not represent most residents’ views, despite having had hundreds of emails and letters asking him to do so over the last few months. He happily voted to include Panshanger in the consultation, even though some other councillors objected. Some councillors had also asked for the consultation to be delayed, as they felt it was far from ready to go public, due to the errors and inaccuracies already spotted within it.

What actually happened? The committee eventually decided that only the housing sites the council believes are ‘more favourable’ should be included in the consultation. As Panshanger was classified as ‘finely balanced’ this was initially good news, as it would be left out. However, a moment later councillors, mostly representing the southern villages, had agreed that Panshanger should be changed to be ‘more favourable’ so it could be put forward as a housing site, on the rationale that it was no longer an airfield. This was quickly agreed by the majority of councillors including Cllr Trigg, who did not question this on behalf of the many residents sat opposite him (afterall, it still remains designated as an airfield).

Below is a written statement by him from January this year, his actions tonight (11th Dec) and this statement appear to be poles apart.

RT responses 2014 copy

Statement from earlier this year

Statement from earlier this year

There were some good points made by various councillors, especially Cllrs Duncan Bell and Kieran Thorpe who both raised many concerns about the plans for Hatfield, most of which equally apply to Panshanger, while previously our own committee councillor had said very little.  So with some minor amendments, and a major change to classify Panshanger as ‘more favourable’ (no other site was reclassified) this will now move on to the cabinet next week. There will be a vote on whether all the ‘more favourable’ sites should go for consultation in January. Cllr Trigg also sits on the cabinet and will again have a vote on this.

This will be a blow for the many people in Panshanger who’ve campaigned hard on this for a couple of years now, and have given up a lot of their own time, and often money. Since Cllr Trigg voted for Panshanger airfield to be included in the first version of the new local plan back on October 2012 he has stated in several public meetings since that he won’t do so again. Not to mention his election flyer from May this year stating ‘I oppose the development on the airfield’ see below:

 Cllr Trigg Flyer May 2014

Cllr Trigg Flyer May 2014

To be clear, tonight’s vote was not about voting for or against a new Local Plan. It was about deciding which of the myriad of available sites in the borough are put forward in that plan, and which are not.

While Panshanger is a clear loser tonight other proposed sites are winners. Cuffley, for example, will only have to find space for 140 homes, even though the council’s own assessed need is for 500 homes there. The 1,148 home sites put forward by developers there are all deemed ‘less favourable’ so won’t go forward for consultation next month. Cuffley appears to be the biggest winner after tonight’s changes are applied.

Brookmans Park will now have to find space for 15 homes between now and 2031, yes 15! Until tonight it could have been asked to find room for 663 new homes.

The point was made early on that many people felt the previous consultation had been unfair as housing was not spread evenly around the borough. This new approach had sought to find a fairer solution. However, with the agreed changes tonight WGC and Hatfield shoulder the vast majority of all new housing, while some other areas of the borough are to be allocated far fewer homes than the council’s own objectively assessed need states that they require. Once again we question the logic behind these decisions; we want as many people as possible to be aware of what is going on here.

At the end of the meeting tonight several comments were heard suggesting that other forces are at play here pulling strings in the background. We don’t know about that, but it does seem like things are panning out in a way that defies logical and evidence based explanation. We are also left wondering whose tune Cllr Trigg is dancing to, as it’s certainly not ours.

If you feel strongly about the events of tonight why not come along and watch events at the cabinet meeting on the 17th at 7:30pm?

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December 6th. New Local Plan proposal still includes Panshanger! Join us at the cabinet meeting on Dec 17th where this will be voted on.

Download the new plans:

Draft Local Plan

Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan

The previous news continues on our News page which you can find on the menu above.

Our key objectives are:

  •  To challenge the current proposals to build 700 new homes in Panshanger on the airfield and open land at the end of the airstrip (Hillyfields Meadow)

  • To question the necessity of any incursions into the Green Belt surrounding Panshanger, to challenge and object where appropriate.

  • To conserve the local habitat and the environment, and to challenge any land use changes instigated by WHBC or HCC that would have an adverse impact

  • To offer an effective voice for residents who wish to make their views known to Borough and County Council officers and representatives

  •  To inform our members of relevant local matters, and to provide challenges to any proposals not considered to be in the interests of Panshanger residents.

We encourage all those who share our objectives to send their email address to us through the box on the right, or through our Contact Us page. We will then include you on emails about the group’s activities. Your  email address will not be shared with anyone else. We are an independent  non-political community group. Below are a few maps of our area, click to enlarge:

Panshanger

The area generally accepted to be Panshanger by local residents ( Not a political ward map).

Panshanger and Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden City just after WW2. Panshanger as we know it is open fields, but the Panshanger House estate can be seen on the right (Now the Lafarge quarry).

The above map also shows the old railway branch line to Hertford which ran until the late 1960’s, although in latter years not for passenger trains. Older residents may remember the level crossing at the bottom of  Ridgeway where the Attimore pub now sits.  There is a lot more on this line at the Herts Memories website here, including some fine old audio clips. At that time only Peartree and Woodhall exisited to the east side of Welwyn Garden City.

Panshanger-ward-map

The orange shaded area on this map is the current council ward of Panshanger, you can see that quite a number of houses physically in Panshanger are outside of the ward area. They mostly fall into Haldens ward.

You can also see that the entire site for the proposed 700 homes site does fall within the Panshanger ward.

Below you can also read a short Q & A that readers and potential supporters might also find useful:

Q.    Who are Panshanger People? A.    Panshanger People are a concerned group of local residents who are opposed to the proposed development of Panshanger Airfield and the surrounding areas in their present form. Q.    But surely people need new homes don’t they? A.    Yes indeed they do. We are not NIMBYs (not in my back yarders) opposed to new homes but the problem is Panshanger is being asked to take another 700 homes in an area that has no new infrastructure to accommodate the new residents. There are not enough extra shops, school places, doctors care, or hospital beds or sewerage systems built to cope with any new influx of residents. Spreading the new homes required across the borough would be a more sustainable and fairer approach.  The previous plan to build on this site was driven by the East of England regional plan. The housing targets set out for Welwyn Hatfield in that were overturned by the High Court in 2009. You can read the judgement by clicking here.  It was overturned because it was believed that suitable alternatives has not been adequately explored.  We would argue that this is also the case in the current proposals with only two areas across the entire borough being earmarked for new developments outside of the existing urban areas.   Q.    What is the point in opposing the development? Surely it’s all been decided already? A.    Nothing has yet been set in stone and all is still to play for. We aim to do two things:

  • Firstly, to get our points across regarding the inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in the various policy documents.  We will highlight inconsistencies among the many policies and documents to the planning inspectorate and the council’s next review in the Autumn.  There will be a planning review and further public consultation. In this era of Localism we have an opportunity to influence both of those by showing that the council’s proposals are unsound and inconsistent. They have a duty to listen, and take on board our views  as residents.
  •  Secondly, to ask YOU the residents (as many of you as possible) to support the work of Panshanger People which will help to strengthen our excellent case against the present proposals to build on the airfield.

Q.    Do Panshanger People have a political agenda? A.    No. We are completely non political and our aim is to work for the good of the area and support solutions which benefit all of the residents in general. Q.    I am very concerned at what is happening in Panshanger. How can I help? A.    Become involved with Panshanger People. One of the problems we have highlighted is that most residents are totally unaware of what is happening. They have not been properly consulted. Residents should be alerted and informed. YOU can help. We need leafleters; people to write letters to the Press; ask questions at council meetings; contact our local MP and councillors. You don’t have to do ALL of these things, just one or two items which interest you would help to spread our message. If we can each do a little, we will all do a lot. Contact us via this website. Leave your contact details  so we can keep you in the loop, and contact you with updates. We believe we have an excellent case against development and our aim is to get our message across to those involved in the decision making progress and make them rethink what they are planning to do. This website is in its infancy and a lot more local information and links will appear here over the next few weeks.  If you have comments or suggestions for the site you are most welcome to contact us. Q. What about the future of the airfield? A.  Panshanger airfield should remain as a working business and leisure facility. This is not an undeveloped green field site as it already serves a useful purpose on several levels. Including the fact that the uncultivated land on the WGC4 site provides a natural habitat and ecosystem, an increasing rarity in this part of the country.  Once all or any this is lost it can never be replaced. Why not bookmark this page now and also join our email list?

[box title=”What you can do NOW to help save the airfield and nearby green spaces…“]

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Snakes in the grass!

A local resident living beside the airfield has got in touch to tell us about a family of grass snakes that take up residence at his property every year.  He says “We had evidence of them by way of shed skins so I installed CCTV cameras to capture images of them but as you can see from the photographs they were shy and decided to sit on the CCTV cameras instead of appearing in front of them! The photographs were taken by me in 2012 and the family have returned each year. I wait for the first to be spotted soon!”

See below…

IMG_1065

 

IMG_1066

 

It’s worth noting this about grass snakes from the  Wildlife Trusts http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/grass-snake

“Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
This of course means they should be considred in any biodiversity and wildlife surveys that should be be carried out on the site prior to any demolition or development. As we know, WHBC have not commissioned any wildlife surveys on the site thus far, not even as part of the evidence base for the current consultation unfortunately. Perhaps findings like this will help to change that. See below update about the withdrawal of the demolition application.
They Wildlife Trusts also say:
“The loss of our grassland and wetland habitats through human activity threatens the survival of our reptiles. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure these habitats are protected by fostering Living Landscape schemes: networks of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people.”

 

Local Election Results:

The local election count took place on Friday afternoon after a late start, below is a picture of the count in progress at Roller City.

The count in progress

The count in progress

As the result is:

  1. Bennett, Darren  The Conservative Party Candidate    1441
  2. Chigwangwa, Josh   Labour Party                                          702
  3. O’Leary, Gary Francis    Independent                       598
  4. Daley, Robert    UK Independence Party (UKIP)             425
  5. Arch, Jonathan Robert Sanders    Liberal Democrats    166
  6. Knight, Mark Jonathan    The Green Party candidate    131

The encumbent, Cllr Bennett was re-elected as you can see. The independent candidate we backed collected 598 votes, which coming from nowhere with only a few weeks of campaigning wasn’t at all bad. It would seem to indicate that a significant number of people were happy to vote for somebody new, offering to do more to represent local residents.  With the large swing to the Conservative party and unexpected result nationally it would appear that this also trickled down into voters local election intention.  The turn out in Panshanger was 69%, the same as the turnout for the borough as a whole. This is almost double the usual turnout for a local election when there is no general election running at the same time.

We hope that all three of our councillors will work with residents and represent there views with regard to the local plan as it is finalised over the rest of this year. As a group we will work with them but we really don’t want to see those elected to represent us either not speak out or act when it matters. We certainly don’t want to see any councillor fail to challenge decisons not in residents best interests, if they feel they cannot act because they have  conflicting interests then they should decide where their priorities lie and take appropriate action.

Lastly, we’ve had several emails from people unhappy that they couldn’t vote for Gary O’Leary as they live in Panshanger but are in Haldens Ward. We estimate there are about 1000 people in this situation, the Haldens ward does cover a large part of Panshanger, including many homes near Moors Walk shops.  This really doesn’t seem logical and neither is it helpful but it’s the situation we have unfortunately.

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election gfx

Welwyn Hatfield turns out to vote on May 7th.

Don’t forget to vote!

There are 6 candidates standing in Panshanger ward, see here, and 5 in Haldens see here.

In the local election the Panshanger People committee is backing one of our number, Gary O’Leary, who is standing as an independent for Panshanger.  Find out all about him here: councillorgaryoleary.co.uk

 

It is fair to say we have generally been underwhelmed by the representation offered by our current Councillors. Especially after the meetings last December where Panshanger’s  lead Councillor failed to adhere to his own pledge to oppose any plans to build 700 homes across the airfield and Hilly Fields site.

We are not a party  political group, we feel that having a grass roots local representative who can speak up for residents with no party political shackles or competing agenda has to be the best thing for Panshanger’s future. You may be told by some that an independent can’t achieve much on their own but this is untrue. Welwyn Hatfield’s current independent Councillor has been very busy serving her ward since she was elected in 2012, her website here is testament to that.

People will vote for the MP of their choice in the general election, however the role of a local Councillor in a local ward is a different kettle of fish. Party political leanings do not have to be paramount in that decision. We believe it’s purely about the getting most effective, most pro-active and dedicated person in the post who will stand up for what most Panshanger residents want.  In this 2015 local election we are pleased to support our committee member candidate Gary O’Leary.

 

 

Previously…

Panshanger Park Anniversary walk on the 31st March.

 

A group of us met at Panshanger Lane and walked into the park meeting the other groups at the fishermans cottage. The walk was a big success and gets a full page of coverage in this weeks Welwyn & Hatfield Times.  There is a short video and pictures of the event on the Friends website here: friendsofpanshangerpark.co.uk 

It is yours 2 1024

Perhaps you can spot yourself? The event sent out a clear message that the Panshanger side of the park should be opened up for access along the Mimram Valley as soon as possible.  Kate Ashbrook and Gary O’Leary made inspiring speeches which underlined the benefit that this new park will bring to local people.  The path along the valley is ready and waiting and is a beautiful level walk alongside the river. Once open it will be a wonderful short walk from Panshanger into our new country park.

 

 

 Local Plan Update:

As of today (29th March) 871 comments have been processed and added to the main consulation document. You can read them all by clicking here. 

The number seems to be slowly rising every day. Many people have still not had their comments added to it yet, please keep track of yours as it’s important that everyone’s comments are included.

Hatfield Cllr Duncan Bell has submitted 13 well informed and considered comments in opposition to the plans for his area, you can read those by clicking here. Many of his comments can be equally apllied to Panshanger.

Panshanger Cllr’s Trigg and Johnston appear to have submitted no comments at all (unless they are yet to be processed) but Cllr Bennett does have one comment appearing which is largely a cut and paste of own guidance text for residents so we of course endorse his submission, read the comment here. 

We had hoped that all our local representatives would have made detailed submissions opposing this plan, knowing well how much their constituents object to it. Remembering that they had all pledged to object to it many times previously. Local Democracy in action?

The Welwyn Garden City Society has made a detailed submission that is worth reading,  view it here.

The Friends of Panshanger Park have also made a submission from the wildlife and ‘green corridor’ perspective, you can read it here.

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Below is our guidance documents regarding the consultation that closed on the 20th March.

All our comments currently accepted into the consultation (there are more to be added by WHBC)

Also, here is our How To guide for adding your comments through the councils consultation portal.  We know that many people struggled with doing this last time around. Hopefully this document will demonstrate that it’s not too difficult once you get into the swing of it. Please download it in PDF format by  CLICKING HERE

Remember that the council can provide a written consultation response form for those not online.  Phone them  on 01707 357532 or write to them at Planning Policy, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6AE.

The main links for the consultation itself are here:

Entry page: http://welhat.gov.uk/localplan

There is an useful FAQ here: http://welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9789&p=0

Cheltenham MP Martin Harwood made this comment in a House of Commons debate on March 5th:

“Despite all the great principles, the NPPF does not seem to have translated into really thorough localism respecting the wishes of local people, and in many cases it has not protected the environment.”

This group would certainly agree with him on that, the wishes of Panshanger residents don’t seem to have been respected thus far.

UPDATE following our meeting on Feb 27th:

The meeting in progress

The meeting in progress

Last night we held our public meeting to inform people about the local plan consultation, to help people participate and highlight to them the many valid objections that can be raised about the proposals for Panshanger.  The turnout was very encouraging, showing that deep concerns remain over the council’s vision of Panshanger’s future. Also telling was a show of hands revealed that a high proportion of people are not planning on responding online to the consultation, even though the consulation is only easily accessible for those who are online. It also seemed that few people had attended the council’s own roadshow on the 19th Feb, and those that did had trouble actually finding it.

Below you can view or download the presentation that we used, handy if you couldn’t make it last night, or want to study it more closely. If you have any other questions or queries about responding to the consultation, by whatever means, please get in touch with us at panshangerpeople@gmail.com  or call/ text  07761 202805.

Download (PDF, 1.04MB)

Thank you to all who came last night, thanks to all who helped organise the event, and especially a big thanks to all those who made a donation to our cause.

Donations always welcome!

Donations always welcome!

Relevant extracts from the previous inspectors report from 2004 that we mentioned last night can be downloaded by clicking here.

The shortlist of objection guidance we distributed at the meeting can also be viewed by clicking here.

This was back when the airfield was designated an Area of  Special Restraint (ASR). As we pointed out last night, little has changed since then, and yet the site has now been deemed ‘more favourable’ by the council cabinet.

Thanks again to all who attended last night. Please remember to tell your local friends about the consultation so that the council is left in doubt about what the majority of residents feel about the current proposal for Panshanger, and the way the process has been managed thus far.

UPDATE 20th February:

The council held an event at Sir Frederic Osborn school on the 19th, to give residents an opportunity to ask questions about the proposed local plan. From the feedback we’ve had, and from comments made on social media, it was not well planned. Many people struggled to find the venue tucked away at the back of the school. Nobody was on hand to direct people and the few signs put up were vague, and in any case in the dark.  One comment made to us was that it was almost as if they didn’t want residents to find it. Senior planners were at the event to answer questions, which was helpful. The turnout was not great according to those who went. It  would have been far greater if local residents had been properly informed of it by the council. Those we spoke to knew of it because of our leaflet through their letterbox, and this website. Without these locally organised initiatives the turnout would probably have been negligible.

Many people were asking questions about the uneven dispersal of homes and traveller sites around the borough, Panshanger taking a large share of it all while other areas taking little or none. The sustainability of the Panshanger proposal was also being questioned, along with concerns about the lack of any actual infrastructure, despite a long wish list.

Mariposa apply to demolish most of the aerodrome buildings

UPDATE MARCH 13th: Mariposa have withdrawn their application demolish the airfield buildings (for now). No precise reason has been stated.

Notices have gone up at the airfield stating that Mariposa are applying to demolish seven buildings on the site. This includes  most of the hangers that have been there since the airfield was a decoy site from 1940. The airfield has been owned by the same people since soon after the war,  in the decades that this resident has been going there no visible renovation of the buildings has been apparent… save for the cafe building.

Panshanger airfield

Safety wasn’t a problem until now.

The new condition survey summary states:

“In conclusion, all seven structures are in very poor condition and in certain cases they pose an immediate threat of harm (from collapse or loose sheeting) to both users of the structures and those in the near vicinity. In terms of repair options these are very limited as the structures were installed as temporary accommodate between 60-70 years ago and are insubstantial and uneconomic to repair. Even if they were in repaired condition, user expectations and construction techniques and statutory standards have moved on to render the hangars/storage shed obsolete.”

Now, despite the flying club operating there for decades without any safety concerns it is suddenly a danger to people.  Since the airfield closed the land owners have had the site surveyed and now claim most of the buildings are unsafe and beyond repair, and so should be demolished.  Odd that the buildings have only become unsafe since they have stop being used by the flying club and it’s members and staff. Now that the site is closed and empty these buildings present a risk of harm to users and those nearby, really?

That was not the case in the previous several decades of operation. There are of course no longer any users, and the site is fenced off preventing anyone in the viscinity getting anywhere near. When Atkins carried out their very detailed heritage survey last year they went into all these buildings and didn’t raise immediate risk flags as far as we know.

The documents relating to this are in the public domain on the council’s website, you can download them below:

Site Notice

Building Condition Survey

Letter from NLP (representing the land owner).

The council will now decide whether or not to let them go ahead and demolish these buildings. Surely they must consider how they can have become so unsafe in the few months since the airfield closed, and if there is risk of harm then to who? Considering the site that is now fenced off and security guarded around the clock.

Demolishing these buildings will be a very big nail in the coffin of the 70 year old airfield and will leave Panshanger and WGC bereft of one of it’s most iconic and enduring landmarks.

If you want to make any comment to the council about this you can do so through their planning portal here:

https://fastweb.welhat.gov.uk/comment.asp?AltRef=N6/2015/0310/DM&ApplicationNumber=&AddressPrefix=&submit1=Go

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Traveller site proposal.

At our recent public meeting the subject of the 15 pitch Gypsy & Traveller site now being proposed by the council came up. Residents can read the council’s evidence for promoting this site, and the details of the proposal by reading their 2014  assessment HERE.

The assessment conclusion seems a mixed bag, on the one hand it says the site contributes to some of the green belt principles…but on the other, if the 700 homes go ahead it seems to be saying that the traveller site  should go ahead. You can reference this report in consultatation comments as it is part of the council’s evidence base for the consultation.

The most southerly of all the sites here are those around Welham Green, nothing further south is being considered. The assessment does state:

…existing  Green Belt policy would not automatically mean that a site   would be unsuitable  for Gypsy and Traveller development if , when preparing its Local Plan :  
•  The council  concludes  that exceptional circumstances  exist to warrant moving Green Belt boundaries ;  and/ or,
•  In the absence of suitable and affordable s ites in urban areas, the council concludes  that a case exists for a rural exception site policy to enable small sites to be used for affordable Gypsy and Traveller pitches in small rural communities that would not normally be used for traveller   sites;

What this may mean is that a site could be put in as proposed at Panshanger, even though part of the site is in the green belt. However, it could also mean that other green belt areas, such as the rural areas around the southern villages could also provide traveller pitches.  There are no traveller pitches proposed for those areas currently, once again showing how unequal the distribution of homes and traveller sites are in this plan.

Older News:

December 5th update:

Our local residents group have been calling for the 700+ homes proposal to be removed from the  local plan since 2012. The council have just released the supporting documents for the next public consultation about all this which should begin in January.  We will offer more detailed comment soon, initial comments can be seen below:

1) From the draft Local Plan: “The council considers that exceptional circumstances exist to review the boundaries of the Green Belt and has decided to look at what opportunities exist within land designated as safeguarded (PanshangerAerodrome) and the Green Belt to meet the identified level of need.” (Page 9). As far as we know Panshanger was not included or mentioned in the Green Belt review part 1 & 2 produced earlier this year by the council, and yet it is now stated as part of the plan.

2) The WGC4 site (The aerodrome and Hillyfields) is judged as being ‘finely balanced’, in terms of whether it should come forward for development. As opposed to being ‘less favourable’ or ‘more favourable’. However, the document states that in order to meet the housing target ‘finely balanced’ sites will have to come forward for development. Indeed, the tables showing the breakdown in  numbers assumes the ‘finely balanced’ sites will be built. What then is the point of the “finely balanced” ranking?

3) The newly proposed Gypsy and Traveller site near Springmead School is also deemed to be finely balanced (This was not part of the last consultation in 2012).

4) The proposal also includes 35 homes across half of the green at Bericot Way (in addition to the proposed new care home, details of that, for information, can be found here. ). Panshanger People acknowledges that there is a need for additional care home beds in the borough.

5) The plan states  “It also provides opportunities to develop strategic green infrastructure links between Welwyn Garden City and Panshanger Park” P.47.  Today the area is green ‘infrastructure’ it is open grassland and woods. How does replacing that natural habitat with a housing estate create a new ‘Green Infrastructure Link’ ?

6) Re infrastructure  “The ability to secure funding for the infrastructure that has been identified in this document needs in part  at least to be taken on trust.”  and  “The picture is in any event clouded because there is an ever shifting narrative about precisely what infrastructure will provided in the future and who will deliver it.”

Also, “The prospect of funding of infrastructure by the providers themselves is  likely to be extremely limited and will tend only to happen as “funding of last resort” (where there has been a failure to secure an alternative form of funding) or where the provider can recoup investment from service users.” ( i.e residents!).

We have long been asking how any supporting infrastructure will be delivered, clearly this is a huge hole in the new plan, by their own admission.

7) They plan to build 12,500 homes up until 2031, including 68 new traveller pitches (No traveller pitches are being proposed around the southern villages).  Of those 4,163 will be in WGC and almost 5,000 in Hatfield.

8) The distribution of sites around the borough is more equal than it was. Perhaps because they now plan to build 5,000 more homes than in 2012, which means even the villages will have to take some of them. For example, Brookmans Park is earmarked for 663 and Cuffley 193. The plan says that proportionately Cuffley should take 500 of the new homes, however it also states “Some of the housing need within Cuffley may therefore need to be met elsewhere within the borough.” because the council deemed the three sites proposed in Cuffley, with 1,148 homes between them, to be ‘less favourable’. It could be argued that Panshanger is to some extent paying the price for the ‘less favourable” designation in Cuffley.

All of this will be briefly presented on Decemeber 11th at the councils’s CHPP meeting and the following week (17th) the cabinet will meet to vote on whether this plan will now go ahead for public consultation in January. It most likely will be.

Latest site map
Latest site map

More will follow soon once we have had more time to digest these updated plans. We are dismayed that despite thousands of letters and emails sent to the council from residents, and hundreds of objections to the plan for Panshanger in the last consultation, nothing has changed. The two expert reports our group commissioned and submitted are also seemingly ignored.

If anything things have got worse for Panshanger, whatever happened to localism?

We expect our councillors to now keep to their word and do their utmost to prevent this plan going ahead.

 

Recent news and site updates:

audiovol UPDATE: 24th October: Part two of the CHPP meeting took place on the 23rd. The meeting focussed on the development proposals for the villages. This does still impact the future of Panshanger and you can hear our recording of the meeting in full on our NEWS page or by clicking the speaker graphic.

UPDATE 15th Oct: Thanks to all who came along to the council’s CHPP meeting tonight (15th Oct). Please see our NEWS page or click the speaker picture for comment about the night PLUS a full audio recording of the meeting for those that couldn’t make it, or want to listen to parts of it again. Being able to record the meeting was very useful and we will aim to do more of this. The council also recorded these meetings themselves. We hope that in the name of open democracy they will find a way to place them on their own web site. Most neighbouring councils already do this of course.

 

The immediate timeline now looks like this: Timeline October 14

 

Download the full newsletter by clicking here.   Oct 11th: The Welwyn Times  Poll has now been running for a month. It currently reveals that 74% of respondents want the airfield to remain open, while only 24% are happy to see it close. It would seem that almost three quarters of those who voted support the continuation of an airfield at Panshanger. The council continue to earmark the land for development instead. September 20th: WHBC have now released more information about the forthcoming meetings that debate the local plan. The October 14th date for a key meeting now seems to have changed to the 15th October. Full details can be read in that document by clicking here: CHPP 2014.09.25_pack See our News section for more comment on the contents of this new document. September 7th: With the next draft local plan due out very soon it’s worth remembering that in the last consultation 316 people officially objected to the development plans for the airfield (WGC4 site) while zero  people officially responded in favour of them. We hope that fact will be reflected in the forthcoming draft plan. September 7th: There is news on the Bericot Way care home application, the page about this on our site has been updated, you can read it here: http://panshangerpeople.org.uk/?page_id=633 PP offers this for residents information, but is not campaigning either way on the issue. August 30th: Our most recent supporter email along with the links to the expert reports on Panshanger Airfield can be found on our News section above and here. This also contains a summary of our the current state of play and is worth reading if you didn’t get it by email. Please sign up to our email list if you would like to be sent any future supporter emails (your email address will not be shared). August 21st: Our MP has been featured in the general aviation publication called The Flyer. In it he talks about the challenges light aviation now faces and the increasing threat to small airfields (Panshanger being a perfect example). The article notes:  “one implication arising from the Government’s consideration of a more strategic nationwide view of the network of airfields could be additional planning restraints imposed through the all-important National Planning Policy Framework.”  Essentially, this is saying that planning policy could be strengthened so as to protect airfields. Grant himself says “There is already a Department for Transport tendering process underway in order to establish the full scale of the contribution made by General Aviation to our economy. We will then carry out an evaluation of the need for a strategic network of General Aviation airfields in order to support more jobs and growth in the UK.” This evaluation would be welcomed by local aviators we’re sure, however resultant planning policy changes would have to be put in place before the council seeks approval to turn the airfield into a sprawling housing development. This assumes the council decides to go down that route…one that over a thousand of us are lobbying against of course. It’s very welcome of course that our MP Grant Shapps is involved in this matter as a minister,  we hope he is able to keep things moving rapidly in the right direction so that that any policy changes could have a positive impact on any future plans for Panshanger Airfield. Time is of course very short. See the full article in The Flyer here: http://www.flyer.co.uk/aviation-news/newsfeed.php?artnum=2008 August 19th: The Revival Day took place at the airfield last Sunday, having been rained off the previous week.

revivalday2014
Revival day aerobatics

This picture is courtesy of Keith, an airfield supporter. All his great photo’s from the day can be seen by clicking HERE. Sad to think that this was probably the last ever revival day, the event is always popular and well attended. August 17th: Our letter templates and emails to our councillors and Mariposa continue to be sent by all of us battling to preserve the airfield. As of today over 3000 emails have been sent and our letter templates have been downloaded from this website over 1000 times. Those figures really demonstrate public opinion on this issue. We hope the recipients of our objection messages realise the scale of objection that exists, and will act accordingly in support of our position. If you haven’t sent any emails or letters yet, why not do it now from the box above? July 30th: Our new flyer being delivered in Panshanger and Haldens wards is now available. The front page is here…and the back page letter is here. July 29th: The Atkins report on the airfield heritage can now be found on the aerodrome page HERE. July 27th:  Pictures of Hillyfields Meadow since the grassland was cut down, and butterflies, here. July 27th: Comment and link to a newspaper article reporting that local people have been put back in control of housing in thier own communities. Read our take on this here. July 14th: We have an online objection letter you can send from this website see above. July 14: Read our press release about the airfield closure by clicking HERE. July 14th: Major News.  It has been announced that the flying school has been ordered to close by the land owners Mariposa. Please click on the top menu ‘airfield closure’ menu item above to read our response and what this now means for our area. We now also have a template letter available for people to download and send to council leaders and councillors. You can download our suggested letter HERE, add your name and address, change it as you so wish and send it to all or some of the address supplied. Council officials being the first priority. Please let us know if you’ve posted in one of these so we have an idea how many have been sent. We will also endeavour to put a similar letter into an online form for emailing directly to WHBC. Older News: July 11th:  We have added a photo gallery showing just some of what will be lost if the housing proposal goes ahead, view it here: http://panshangerpeople.org.uk/?page_id=805 July 9th: You can now see the water level of the Mimram updated daily on this new page on our site: http://panshangerpeople.org.uk/?page_id=21 June 5th: We held our AGM a few days ago.  It was a successful evening discussing our group’s current aims, and achievements so far. We met at Springmead School Hall, by the end of the night five new committee members had been voted in and welcomed aboard. Our small committee now feels somewhat invigorated by the influx of these  like minded residents keen and willing to get involved, to help us stand up for Panshanger in the year ahead. We welcome all of them, they are already enthusiastically contributing new ideas for our groups second year strategy. 24th May: The local and Euro election results are now available on the ‘Election Results’ button on the top menu above, find out who won and who didn’t. On average one in three people voted in Panshanger and Haldens. The highest turnout in Welwyn Hatfield was Handside ward where every other person voted, quite impressive and well ahead of the other 16 wards. 21st May: Our public meeting on Saturday was well attended. We sent a letter to the Welwyn & Hatfield Times about it but it was not published in todays edition. The WHT did not attend the meeting, but have published an article about it today, quoting from our letter. May 3rd: Information about the East Herts plan and its impact on Panshanger is now in the News section.  April 18th: Welwyn & Hatfield Times run an article in which the government suggests up to 16,000 new homes may now be needed in the borough. Over double the current target.  See more about this in our Press section on the top menu. April 18th: Two applications for an Asset of Community Value have been refused by WHBC. One for the airfield site and one for Hillyfields Meadow. Panshanger People are supporting a challenge to these decisions which we believe were made contrary to the ACV legislation and guidance. April 10th: Please see the council’s new update on the housing proposals and our comment on the update here. March 1st:  Letter received about the pending pruning work of the woodland on Hillyfields,  read it in our wildlife section here. February 2nd: The council have recently published their third e-Newsletter on the progress of the Core Strategy, i.e. the proposal to build 700 homes in Panshanger. It does not reveal anything particularly new and the timeline is still fairly vague. It informs us that the most important work regarding Panshanger is currently underway, that is the updated land availability asssessment (SHLAA) for land outside urban areas. The original document about this highlighted 16 potential development sites across the borough. However the first public consultation only proposed two ‘broad locations for growth’ (2000 homes in Hatfield and 700 in Panshanger). The many other sites identified in that original availability assessment, mostly around the villages, were discounted and did not figure in the public consultation. We hope the council takes a broader borough wide approach for the next version of the Core Strategy, and subsequent consultation later this year. In light of the speculative developer applications that seem to be under discussion for some of those previously discounted areas, it would seem wise not to exclude them entirely from the next version the the Core Strategy. Click here to download the third Newsletter from WHBC: Newsletter Feb 2014 v6 FINAL The airfield site in Panshanger isn’t all in the Green Belt of course, but the belt does run parallel to the airstrip and where it runs is currently being reviewed by WHBC, with a view to perhaps changing it so more land can be given over to development.   Our  group came about as an opposition to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Emerging Core Strategy which seeks to place an additional 700 homes on the green space in and around the long-standing Panshanger Aerodrome. Do have a look at our  NEWS section above for other local developments. We are interested in all issues affecting Panshanger, if you have something you’d like to share with fellow residents why not get in touch!

Panshanger Welwyn Garden City
Springmead School and Hillyfields meadow from above

 

Update: November 3rd: Our letter printed in the Welwyn Hatfield Times:

Dear Sirs,

 I have recently attended the two council meetings where planning officers presented their draft proposals for how 12,500 or so new homes will be distributed across our borough. No decisions were taken but we did get a first look at how the plans have evolved since the first local plan public consultation in 2012/13. At least 8,000 residents fed into that consultation so I was keen to see how much their comments had shaped this new proposal. You could see it as a good gauge of the effectiveness of the new localism agenda which became law in 2011. The fact that the public were allowed to watch but not participate in these meetings was unsatisfactory. As I understand it there are no plans by the council for town hall style public debates about any of this. That doesn’t sound like localism to me.  Interested residents can ‘listen again’ to these meetings on the Panshanger People website.

 Some councillors present did ask very pertinent questions and raised well founded fears about what this deluge of housing (little of it ‘affordable’) will mean for our borough.  Some good points were debated such as how the bolting on of massive extensions to Panshanger or Hatfield Garden Village will place huge additional stress on things like schools and healthcare, with no certainty that hoped for new infrastructure would ever materialise.  Councillors raised the point that some of the villages need expansion purely to keep up with their own organic growth, let alone catering for any new arrivals. At the second meeting the idea of promoting a new Garden City in another location, in conjunction with other councils, was discussed. This idea was well received by most in the room, but we were told that our council had very little power to progress it. However, they could work with neighbouring boroughs to lobby central government to actively create new Garden Cities, to meet the requirement for new homes in a sustainable way.

 Essentially, it seems that every part of our borough is against a huge housing development on its doorstep.  Residents will want their Cllr’s to be effective and influential in staving off the plans for their wards, resulting in something of a bun fight. Here in Panshanger we have been assured by councillor Trigg verbally and in print that he will oppose the 700+ homes development proposed. We welcome that commitment of course, but he is only one of many on the cabinet who will ultimately decide which sites go forward.

 As the planning officers told us, having nowhere to put the 12,500 homes is really not an option under the new national planning policy.  We now have over 5,000 more new homes to build across the borough than we had in 2012 when the total was 7,200. The view from Panshanger is that little has changed since then. Many hundreds of people put in objections to the plans for Panshanger in the 2012/13 consultation, and yet the new plan is pretty much the same. At these new meetings we were told we can raise any objections to the new plan in the January 2015 consultation. We did that en masse last time around and it seems to have made no difference at all.

 Finally, we want to see the council work hard to raise awareness of this next consultation and make it easy for residents to take part.  To correct a statement made in one of your letters last week, Panshanger People does not and has not run any petition about this. We may initiate one in the future if need be. We know that thousands of emails have been sent by residents to the council and landowners objecting to the Panshanger proposal. In addition Panshanger People have recently delivered nearly 500 letters signed by local people to the council which also object to the proposals. We are keen to work with WHBC to make sure as many residents as possible respond to their consultation in January, but before then we expect a fair and evidence based approach to the decision about what will go into the consultation.  What we face here is an unprecedented enlargement of a Garden City and a New Town, the scale of which could be very detrimental to existing residents. Council Planners should take on board residents’ views, particularly with regard to Panshanger of course. The new national planning policy may be giving them a headache, but that doesn’t mean valid local objections can go to the back of the queue, and be denied the weight they deserve.

 Regards,

 Will Davis

 On behalf of Panshanger People.

 

Update: 23rd  October: Council  CHPP Meeting Part 2.

The second council meeting took place on Thursday night. Council planners, led by Colin Haigh, presented their draft plan for the villages (last week it was for the towns of WGC and Hatfield).  Again, the public were not allowed to take part in the debate, only councillors. Again, there was a good public turnout showing the concern that residents have about all this. Not as many people as last week, but not far short.

Almost half an hour  of public questions (with scripted replies and no follow up) took place before the discussion began. Many of these focussed on evironmental concerns such as the flood plain areas near Water End/Welham Green.

Panshanger did not figure in this meeting however there was a lot of discussion about the Green Belt and the consequences of its loss and the potential coalescence (joining up) of towns. Panshanger People has a view on this which we will be be saying a lot more about very soon. The idea of creating a new Garden City in a new location was also discussed and seemed to go down favourably with most. WHBC planners however would have very few powers available to them to actually make it happen.

It’s clear from both of these meetings that no areas of the borough want medium or large scale developments  near them. Many of the councillors contributing to the meetings have sought from planning officers information on the options available in terms of presenting the technical planning argument for why their area should be excluded from large scale development plans. Panshanger Cllr Trigg did not pursue this line but did state the proposed housing numbers for our neighbouring boroughs in both meetings. That does little to mitigate our huge figure of 12,500 homes by 2031 however. It seems to be acknowedged now that the villages will need to take a proportion of the new 12,500 figure, it being stated that if their populations  continue to grow organically they will soon run out of homes resulting in those born and raised there having to move out of the area. You may recall that in the 2012 consultation the cabinet voted to exclude these areas from any meaningful development in the plan to 2031. Things have changed on this front. However, the plan has yet to go to consultation (January 2015) and it’s clear that all areas will rightly fight their corner on housing allocation numbers.

Once again you can hear the meeting in full below. Panshanger People will continue to follow developments closely.

Update: 15th October: Council  CHPP Meeting

The council’s Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel met tonight to hear the planning officers report on their current thinking about where 12,500 home should go in Welwyn Hatfield. The public turnout was excellent and very encouraging. You can usually count the resident attendees at these meetings on one hand, tonight there were at least 150, perhaps nearer 200 residents in attendance. The room was overflowing and there was not enough seating. Panshanger People heartily thanks the good many local residents that turned out to show opposition to the council’s current draft plan on this wet autumnal night.

Panshanger campaigners outside the meeting

A few of the Panshanger campaigners outside the meeting

 

As for the meeting itself several Panshanger related questions were asked at the beginning, they all received scripted replies and no further discussion on the reply was permitted. This is usual and is the same in all council meetings, debate and dialogue between resident and council committee is not permitted. No localism or social inclusion here unfortunately.

The committee councillors took turns to raise concerns about the plans presented and a few key themes soon emerged: coalescence of towns, uneven distribution around the borough, infrastructure provision, cooperation with East Herts, affordable housing numbers. All of these very pertinent to the proposal for Panshanger.  The big question is will any of these concerns result in a local plan that residents, Panshanger residents, can happily live with. Or, will they be aired at these meetings but ultimately ignored when it comes to signing off the final local plan next year? We hope not, and will continue to make our case in objection to the Panshanger proposals as they stand. We hope you will too!

The meeting was well mannered with the public listening attentively. Panshanger People made its own audio recording of the meeting. New government guidelines permit all council meetings to be recorded by the public, as far as we know this is the first time this has happened at WHBC. We hope that meetings are recorded and broadcast as a matter of course when the new council chamber opens, this is already happening in other neighbouring councils.

Anyhow, if you couldn’t make the meeting please do listen to it below. The recording is an mp3 file just over an hour long…ideal bedtime or commuter listening 🙂

October 10th: Important Update.

The public report (131 pages)  is now available on the WHBC website which outlines the current approach regarding where the new figure of 12,500 homes in Welwyn Hatfield will be located. There are a few other documents also worth reading, they can all be found here: http://www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan

This will be discussed for the first time in public on 15th October at 7:30pm and we urge people to attend to hear what is said and make it known that we are keen to participate when such large decisions are to be made about our area. Details of the meeting are on the front of this website.

Here is what the new report says about Panshanger:

WGC4 Panshanger Aerodrome has been designated in the Welwyn Hatfield District Plan as an Area of Special Restraint (ASR) since 1993. At the last consultation in  2012, WGC4 was identified as a suitable Broad Location for Growth.

 This gave rise to a number of objections about the loss of the aerodrome from local residents, aviation groups and Sport England. Sport England view WGC4 as a strategically important site for aviation, that is of at least regional importance to air sports. There are no proposals to relocate this facility elsewhere in the region and the redevelopment of the site will therefore result in the loss of a facility and an opportunity to participate in the sport.

 The Council has received a number of representations expressing concern about the safety implications of closing the airfield which have been passed onto the land owners.    Two different reports about the economic potential of the airfield have also been received. Including jobs off-site one report estimated that 43 full time equivalent jobs were associated with the airfield , while the other estimated that there were 20 jobs.

 One report and several representations to the Emerging Core Strategy consultation pointed out the potential for business people to fly into the airfield for meetings with local companies. No response has been received from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with regards to this site but it is not referred to in the Strategic Economic Plan for the county as a key asset.

 One of the reports considered that, for the airfield to have expanded its role, there would have needed to be significant investment. It suggested that the airfield’s future could be secured by developing its role in business aviation increasing the number of flights without involving significantly larger aircraft or jet aircraft, but with limited helicopter operations and improved hangars.  This report also suggested that, to facilitate these developments, the runway could be realigned to reduce its noise impact.

 The owners of the airfield have been asked to consider providing a new runway aligned to the north of the existing one which would allow for the provision of some housing development on part of the existing airfield site.

Environmental issues

     • A number of representations expressed concerns relating to the loss of a  wildlife habitat. The site is not designated as a wildlife site. An ecological survey will be required to inform the masterplanning stage. The requirement for a        structural landscape belt will provide an enhanced woodland habitat.

   • Its elevated position gives rise to potential for polluted runoff into the river  Mimram and impact on Tewinbury SSSI. Use of appropriate sustainable urban  drainage should address this issue.

     • The landscape has been assessed as medium sensitivity and medium capacity  however its elevated position on a plateau and its proximity to Panshanger Historic Park and Garden and associated Repton landscape, the potential listed   mess room will have to be taken into account in the masterplanning.

     • No viable minerals within the Homes and Communities Agency portion of the site. No evidence has been submitted from Mariposa with regards to this.

Accessibility and Infrastructure issues

     • Accessible location but size of site results in eastern end being more distant from facilities. Should land in East Herts come forward this part of the site would  be accessible to new neighbourhood facility. The Emerging Core Strategy        proposed a convenience shop at eastern end, links to cycle and footpath  network, contribution to public transport and links to Panshanger Park. Several bus stops exist within 400 metres of the site.

     • Infrastructure – site adjoins Springmead School which has potential for an  addition 1form-of-entry, contributions will be required to mitigate impact on highway.

Deliverability issues

     • Site in two separate ownerships who will need to work together as site needs to  be comprehensively developed in particular to address access and structural landscape belt. A masterplan for the site would be required.

 Conclusions

 With an estimated capacity of 700 dwellings the site is capable of making a significant contribution to the Objective Assessment of Need, affordable housing, and the provision for Gypsy and Traveller pitches. There are also opportunities to provide a link between Welwyn Garden City and Panshanger Park which would deliver a strategic objective. However its redevelopment would result in the loss of a valued facility which is likely to be designated of regional significance. The site is considered to be finely balanced.

There are several points to be made here. The report categorises each location for possible development thus:

“each site is categorised as either ‘more favourable’, ‘less favourable’ or ‘finely balanced’. The maximum potential capacity of Green Belt and Safeguarded Land sites is 10,030 dwellings, of which 7,903 dwellings are categorised as ‘more favourable’ or ‘finely balanced’, compared with a ‘to find’ figure of 7,637 dwellings… Before any sites can be formally allocated for development they must be subject to public consultation and examination in public by an independent inspector.”

It would seem that their conclusion of finely balanced is more on the side of more favourable than less favourable, looking at the above. Which could translate as more likely to happen, in their view. However, many of the reasons given to justify finely balanced are open to question. For example, the site was not designated a wildlife site because they chose not to do so. It’s abuntantly clear to anyone who’s been to the area that it is a wildlife site with ground nesting birds, owls and other animals. Some of the area is also unimproved grassland habitat which is rare in this part of the UK. None of this is taken into account.

It also appears that they feel one distant corner shop and one class of 30 primary children is enough to satisfy the demands of probably around 2000 new Panshanger residents if this goes ahead. This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of infrastructure woes, but these comments above show that they have still not grasped the massive gulf between the needed infrastructure, and the total lack of provision for it thus far.

Also worth pointing back here to the planning inspectors comments the last time the local plan was updated. In 2004, the last time the planning inspector looked at this his report contained the following about the Panshanger Airfield area:

“ I note the site has been safeguarded since at least 1993 and it seems to me that it would now perform poorly against many of the criteria” (planning criteria as was in force in 2005)

 “The ASR appears to be poorly located to any public transport facilities and the majority of the town’s services and facilities and has poor linkages to the town’s main highway network”

 “ The sites proposed by objectors as alternatives ASR’s at Welham Green and Cuffley appear to be more suitable and sustainable locations as safeguarded land for housing”.

Much of the above remains the case today, and yet even though this was the inspector’s official findings back then it is not addressed or referred to at all in this report.

So Panshanger is finely balanced, the question is what evidence led to that classification and was it accurate and current? We suspect it may not have been.

Please consider coming to the meeting on 15th Oct where all of this will be discussed!

 

20th September: The council’s report pack for the meeting on the 25th September contains some interesting new information.  On page 22 it states:

“The Emerging Core Strategy  Sustainability Appraisal Report (2012) and its appendices provided a detailed assessment of three of the distribution options… only options 4 and 6 were considered to be deliverable. The proportionate approach is simply a mathematical construct  and does not take into account environmental constraints, infrastructure issues  or where land is available. The appraisal identified  a number of negative and positive impacts associated with the  options but overall option 6  performed  better than option 4 . This is principally because option 4 provided  for  very limited development within the excluded villages in the borough.  The Sustainability Appraisal raised  concerns that this would  be insufficient to meet locally generated housing need from within the communities, and that this in turn could have an impact on  the viability of local shops and services, and the ability to deliver jobs to support rural communities and businesses.”

You may remember that even though the officers’ proffessional view was that option 6 was recommended (this being the option to spread new housing across WGC, Hatfield, and larger villages) the elected cabinet agreed that it would be “perverse” to go with this professional recommendation and chose option 4 instead! This option restricted new housing to only Hatfield Garden Village and Panshanger WGC. It has been asked why the cabinet decided upon this many times but no satisfactory answer has ever been given. For the reasons given by planning professionals, option 6 was clearly better.

The document goes on to say:

“Given the scale of the need for housing ;  the fact that there are suitable locations in sustainable locations around the excluded villages;  and the requirement ‘to leave no stone unturned’ in meeting the need for housing,  it would seem prudent to explore  the potential for  a strategy based on a more proportionate approach to the delivery of housing.
It is proposed that when members consider the options for identifying land for housing Table 1  should be a guide as to what  would be an appropriate level of growth   for each settlement  taking account of existing permissions and
assessments of site suitability.  Such an approach would be consistent with maintaining the current role of settlements as set out in the Emerging Core Strategy. “

Hooray! What we have been advocating since 2012 is now being proposed; that housing is allocated more fairly across the borough,  without Panshanger having to taking such a huge  proportion of it.  However, last time around the cabinet were able to go against such recommendations, which meant the option of having more than just two sites was excluded from the last public consultation. We expect that this time round things will be much fairer, and a full explanation given if the planning professionals recommendations are to be ignored, again.

Table 1 referred to above can be seen below. These are in no way definitive figures but a projection based on current statistics and trends, they will change by an unknown degree. However, they do indicate that current thinking is that about 25% of new housing allocations could now be outside WGC and Hatfield.

Possible proportionate allocations

Possible proportionate allocations

One last point, the cabinet looks set approve, on Oct 7th, the Northaw & Cuffley parish council application to have the entire parish designated a neighbourhood plan area. This means they then have to draw up a plan as to what sort of development they wish to see in that area. It’s probably safe to assume they won’t be pushing for new housing developments. The council document comments on this and states on page 1:

“At this stage it is unknown what topics the Neighbourhood Plan will cover but it is possible that it could help to deliver Priority  3 Our Places. ”

Part of their Priority 3 definition can be seen below:

“The construction of more homes with the council’s Housing Association partners remains a high priority. The council’s ambitious affordable housing programme will deliver as many new homes as possible, subject to land availability,economic viability and the funding needed to build them. “(see ref http://welhat.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=8110&p=0)

It would seem quite naive to assume this neighbourhood plan will help the council achieve their stated aim above. It seems more likely the neighbourhood plan would be seeking to limit any future housing, particularly affordable housing. Surely the executive member for housing, who’s name is at the top of this document is well aware of this apparent contrast?

September 10th: The Welwyn & Hatfield Times picked up our reports about the future of the airfield, which are available on news section of this website of course. It was good to see the issue featured in their A-frame boards around the town this week, see the picture below. The flying school will cease operations next weekend, the end of a chapter in Panshangers very long aviation history. However, it remains a designated airfield until the borough local plan is adopted, which will be at least a year away. With a goverment report due in a few months time, that specifically looks at how airfields can be better protected from speculative development, all is not yet lost.

WHT Poster 100914
Local paper posters outside newsagents this week.

 

30th August: This week we have been very busy. We sent an email update to all our supporters, and sent an email to council planning chiefs and all cabinet councillors, presenting them with the expert technical reports we have had commisioned on Panshanger Airfield.

You can find the reports below:
1. Click here for the Kember Louden Williams report.

2. Click here for the York Aviation report.

The context of the reports is explained in the supporter email which you can read below, this was sent to our 1,100 supporters. The email gives a comprehensive update on the current state of play and will hopefully be informative to any reader.

Dear Supporters,

This email is going out to all our supporters, well over a thousand people now, to let you all know about some important meeting dates and other milestones in our campaign to save the airfield together, with adjacent fields, and get the best deal for Panshanger residents.

The next few months will be pivotal in how the future of Panshanger will be decided. As you probably know the Flying Club will cease to operate as of September 20th. The land owners, Mariposa, want to make the site available for a development proposal sooner rather than later. At the same time the council is currently finalising what the next draft local plan will contain and where they propose to put all the new required housing up until 2031.

Currently the airfield site and Hillyfields meadow could end up as part of that plan, or it could be removed due to ongoing local opposition i.e. us! We have commitment from all three Panshanger councillors that they want the airfield site removed but that alone is far from enough.

At some considerable expense we have commissioned two technical planning reports about the airfield. They each focus on different aspects of the site and both highlight its current and future potential as a local asset and set it in the context of the new national planning regulations. They were produced by recognised experts in the field and are not overly long or jargon heavy but together make a very good case for the preservation of the airfield. We have made them available for you to read

1. Click here for the Kember Louden Williams report.

2. Click here for the York Aviation report.

3. In addition there is ongoing government work on the future of General Aviation in the UK and how we can preserve a network of strategic airfields – click here for a link to Flyer magazine’s coverage of this.

These have been sent to the council’s head of planning and strategy and we are now sending them to all Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel and Cabinet councillors. We hope these reports will be given due weight by them as they finalise the next version of the local plan. We are also hoping it will motivate them to exclude the aerodrome from the draft local plan and make it clear to the owners that Welwyn Hatfield will instead retain it for the community.  We are asking them for their commitment to this.

It now appears certain that Mariposa will decide to make a planning application in the very near future for housing on the site, outside of the local plan process, in order to avoid any further delays in achieving their goal. Even if that is the case they will still have to go through the Council’s planning process and go before the same councillors, so the above reports above will still carry significant weight.

We would encourage you to read these reports, and if you have the time, to write to the relevant councillors. You could raise the key points made in the reports and call on them to support the positive retention of the airfield for the borough, and its removal from the draft local plan.  Details of the email addresses for the relevant councillors can be found here. The WHBC website also has postal address for each under their entry here. The more letters/emails  councillors individually receive the greater the impact will be.

There will soon be a series of meetings held by Welwyn Hatfield Council to discuss and agree the version of the local plan that will go out to public consultation. The dates for those are currently:

1)  25th Sep – Evidence base for overall housing numbers and retail, employment requirements etc. Note: We hear the overall  housing target number could rise from 7,200 to around 12,500 homes in the Borough. Possible discussion of sporting facilities – will this include aerosports?

2) 14th Oct – Discussion on sites in Welwyn Hatfield  as all sites should be revealed. This is the KEY MEETING! Is Panshanger in or out?

3) 23rd Oct –Discussion on village sites, plus possible follow up from the 14th.

4) 29th Oct- Reserved date for continuation of discussions for all sites.

5) 13th Nov – Presentation of further evidence on transport, infrastructure and utilities.

6) 11th Dec – Draft local plan finalised for agreement by the Council’s Housing & Planning panel.

7) 17th Dec – Special Cabinet meeting for ratification of the draft local plan to go forward to public consultation in new year.

Like all council meetings these will all be open to the public. However, they will not be public debates. There will be an opportunity for the public to ask a pre-submitted question at the start of the meeting, which will likely receive a pre-scripted answer. No response to the answer given is permitted, unfortunately those are the rules. We can though lobby the local councillors to ask questions on our behalf at these meetings and we expect them to represent us as Welwyn Hatfield constituents.

To demonstrate the strength of feeling on this issue locally a good public presence at some or all of these meetings is essential, particularly the 14th October. Let’s make the councillors understand how many people support the removal of this area from the local plan.

The meetings will probably be held in Salvation House, 2 Mundells court, Mundells and the start time will probably be 7:30pm. If the dates, location or times change we’ll let you know.

Donations:

A huge thank you to all the people who have given generously so far, it is all very much appreciated. The expert reports we have commissioned are costing a very significant sum on their own, and there will be more funds needed as things move along. Therefore we would like to remind anybody considering a donation, however small, of our bank account details:

Nationwide (WGC Branch)

Account Name: Panshanger People

Sort Code: 070093

Account Number: 33333334

Please quote the following reference when making an online payment or the funds will be returned: 0614704207743

At this point any amount you can spare would be helpful. Please also feel free to email us about your donation as we cannot easily tell where money donated to the account has come in from.

Finally,

A huge thank you to all our leaflet deliverers, the leaflets have prompted a rise in visits to our website and supporter numbers have been increasing every day.  Jerry  Larke, our leafleting coordinator also deserves a special mention here. All this also puts us in good stead for raising awareness of the next public consultation and what it could mean for Panshanger and the airfield.

As of now we know that over 450 people have sent the email to all the Councillors and Planning Officers via our website. The objection letter templates we put on the website for people to use have been downloaded over 1,100 times now. We have had about 10,000 visits to the website since we began leaflet deliveries locally and began promoting the writing of objection letters. All of this is great news and helps us make sure that Panshanger residents know what is being planned for our area, and what they can do to get their voices heard.

Our website will continue to be updated as things develop, so please keep an eye on that. Please also send this email on to any friends or others who you believe are supportive of our aims.

Regards,

Panshanger People Committee.

____________________________________________

 

July 27th:  New planning minister Brandon Lewis is quoted in a Telegraph artcle as saying:

“Since 2010 there has been a dramatic swing in public opinion about house building,” he said. “Now that local people have a bigger say over where new housing goes they are much happier to support housing building in their area.”

and:

“The new planning system puts local people in control, so if they want to build more homes, they will.”

According to the article however this view is not one shared by by many communities or the head of the CPRE who said “The new minister suggests Nimbyism is dead but we know lots of communities are very concerned about poorly-sited housing on their doorsteps.”

Many people in our area would agree with the CPRE view.  We may have had a say about where housing goes in the last public consultation, but as we know we were only offered two sites across the borough. The question as to whether we want all this new housing in Panshanger has never been asked. Many many people asked for the Panshanger site to be removed in that consulation, if it is now included again in the forthcoming plan we will know for that local people are not being put in control of where housing goes in their community, making Mr Lewis’ words somewhat hollow.

Finally, this statement from Mr Lewis is worthy of comment “Regional Strategies have been scrapped, thousands of pages of Government ‘guidance’ have been streamlined, and local communities have been put back in control.”

In our area the reverse seems to be the case. The Regional Strategy in our area was thrown out by the High Court which meant the planned huge developments could not go ahead. Now, under the new system, the housing numbers are higher, and although we might get a say through consulatations about where they should go, we can be ignored quite easily. Previously it was local councils who got together and went to the High Court to have the regional plan overturned. It seems unlikely under the new system that our council will consider taking itself to court because it wants to overthrow its own development plans!

Read the whole article in the Telegraph here.

 

May 3rd: The East Herts district plan draft consultation is open for your comments until May 22nd.  This includes proposals for the Lafarge “Birchall” development and potentially hundreds of homes within Welwyn Hatfield. Just as with the last WelHat consultation we urge anybody with concerns about this to comment on it (before May 22nd). The Friends of Panshanger Park have submitted their own response document which highlights several concerns they have. It can which can be downloaded  here: EHDC District Plan Consultation APRIL 2014.

It appears that so far there has been little cooperation or  joint working between East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield, even though that is mandated in national planning policy.  We suggest individuals might add their own comments, this can be done by clicking on this link.  To comment you have to register first, you can do that by clicking here.

As of early May there are 411 comments on the consultation, the final count will hopefully be far higher, our consultation had over 6000 in the end. You can input your comments regardless of where to live.

__________________________________________

April 2014:  Council’s latest E-update is released concerning the housing proposals for Panshanger. Read it below or download here: Local Plan News Issue 4 April 2014

This does not appear to be on the council website anywhere currently and is not mentioned in their press release section. The link given on page two for the new timetable and latest report did not work at all originally, it now does but there appears to be no new timetable. In addition the link given for the Statement of Community Involvement is rather convaluted and you have to wonder why they cannot put a direct link straight to it. However ,we can, you can dowload it here: Adopted_Statement_of_Community_Involvement_(3_December_2013)

This document states the council considers it important to consult local community groups, and involve them in the plan making process. Panshanger People is very happy to be consulted but has not been approached. We know that important aspects of the plan that affect Panshanger residents are currently being developed, but we’ve not be asked to contribute so far. The SCI policy above is full of good intention but it does not reflect reality as far as we can see.

The council have been criticised previously for not doing enough to raise awareness of the housing proposals to residents, judging by the above very little has changed.  Readers will notice that this update does not make it clear at all that this is all about 7,200 new houses in Welwyn Hatfield and the sacrificing of a large chunk of the Green Belt. To the uninitiated the update is jargon laden and very vague.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Front page April 2014

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Back page April 2014

Regarding the new timeline of note is the fact that the original timeline in the Core Strategy consulation (October 2012) included the line “We hope the strategy will adopted in 2014”. We can see above that this has now slipped out by two years. Partly due to the flaws in the original plan that were pointed out by residents in the public consultation. The council realised that a lot more technical work had to be done before any plan would be passed by the planning inspectorate. The criticisms around only selecting the two large sites for all future growth, and not acknowledging the role of Panshanger Airfield, as planning policy dictates, are only two of many flaws raised by the public.

We hope that the council will improve their overall communication strategy on this subject and that it will feature prominently on their website and publications in clear plain language.

__________________________________________________________

A potentially misleading flyer delivered to Panshanger residents in December 2013:

 

Landing on a doormat near you!

Our view:

With one of the three Panshanger ward councillors up for re-election in just over 4 months here is what seems to be the opening salvo of the assault on our letterboxes in Panshanger. It raised many eyebows and looks of astonishment among the Panshanger People committee.  Come the May election we urge people to make informed choices about who they vote for, based on fact and track record.

To that end we point out a few facts below to counter the possibly misleading impression the above flyer may give:

  •  The headline ‘Our Opposition to build on the airfield site still has time to be heard’  – At this point this group has heard nothing from Cllr’s Bennett or Johnston about where they stand on the airfield proposal, we lobbied all councillors about it when the consultation was open but heard nothing from them. Cllr Trigg, one third of the ‘Conservative Team for Panshanger’ who sent out the flyer, voted in the Panshanger 700 homes proposal as  member of the council cabinet in October 2012. The alternative option that would have included housing in Brookmans Park, Cuffley, and Welham Green,  which could have greatly reduced the Panshanger figure, but was rejected by him and his colleagues. The Cabinet Minutes can be found here. He may have had a change of heart on this for the moment, but the next key vote on all this will be after the May election of course.

 

  • As the Core Strategy and housing proposals plan moves forward we will be covering developments on this website. Many people have told us how difficult it is to find anything on the council’s own website so we will make sure all the relevent information and links are clearly presented here. According to the Council’s website none of the three councillors have a website of their own on which to update residents. Although that may change in the election run-up of course – they have appeared prior to elections in the past. The 1,400 name petition that is mentioned on the flyer had nothing to do with any of the councillors, and was not promoted or supported by them at the time, as far as we know.

 

  • The final statement “Supporting your concerns by campaigning  against building homes on the airfield” is very welcome. We look forward to their campaigning,  as our representatives in Panshanger they should have picked up the ball on this a year ago. Making claims and promises in the run up to an election isn’t enough, we need action and pro-active lobbying so that the views of local groups and people are effectively heard at the local government level.

 

  • The revised version of the Core Strategy is currently being written. We want all our councillors to contribute to that process in their capacity as our representatives.  Panshanger representatives need to counter other councillors who may be quite happy to see 700 homes dropped on Panshanger while other  sites in other parts of the borough, that are both available and suitable, escape the spotlight. As has been the case so far.

 

  • Panshanger People is happy to work with any councillor, existing or new,  regardless of party, who genuinely wants to speak out for Panshanger and give our area a voice within the local council decision making process. We will support anyone who will help ensure that Welwyn Hatfield’s agreed local plan is fair, sustainable, and representative of  the view of most Panshanger residents.

________________________________________

The joint schools  firework display at Springmead School was quite spectacular last night,  watch a clip of it below:

Bericot Way care home proposal:

The proposal by Quantum Care to build a care home on the green at Bericot Way has been reworked and is now being promoted by a London PR company. They have organised a public meeting in advance of their revised planning application on the 19th and 20th of November to seek feedback from local residents. They have written at letter to householders in the vicinity about the meeting, you can read the letter below. We would encourgage people to go along and talk to them about the revised plans. It does appear that the crtiticisms made of the last proposal have been acknowledged, although to an unknown extent at this time.

Letter to householders

Letter to householders

 

[note color=”#e3fafc”] October 5th: Council report comes out against designating the airfield as a heritage area.

The survey that the council have commisioned Atkins to undertake regarding the heritage value of the airfield is now completed. Their report is due to be discussed at the next Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel next Monday (14th Oct). The findings of the Atkins report can be found in the big document for that meeting, the report starts at page 99 of the document which can be downloaded from this link.

The document says that the council officers will be recommending to the elected cabinet that the council does not designate the airfield site as a heritage area. The cabinet will no doubt follow this recommendation.

The conclusions from Atkins as stated in the document can be read below:

Atkins conclusions

This is of course not what many residents, concerned with preserving our green space, want to hear. Although it is not entirely unexpected. It still needs to be discussed at the council meeting on the 14th (7:30pm) as of coure anybody is free to attend that meeting to observe proceedings. We always encourage people to go along and see what happens at these meetings which can be so important to our area.

[/note] [note color=”#f4e0c2″] July 24th: The first episode in the new series of Who Do you Think You Are featured Una Stubbs. Her great grandfather was Ebenezer Howard, founder of our town and the Garden City movement. The programme contains a lot about Howard and how our fair town came to be as a result of his pioneering work.

You can watch the programme on Iplayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b037lfg6
Most of the WGC footage can be found from about 30 minutes into the programme. It’s a great introduction to Howard and his life’s work if your unfamilar with the achievements of this man from humble beginnings.

[/note] [note color=”#e3fafc”]  A local residents group from Congleton in Cheshire has been in touch to tell us about an official petition that challenges the government’s new planning strategy, the NPPF. The petition is clearly worded and asks for the NPPF to be amended to allow local communities everywhere a greater genuine say in what development should take place in their area. The link to it is here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49495   Please have a look and sign it if you feel so inclined, others locally have done so.

[/note] [box title=”Local Plan Update” color=”#333333″]WHBC have released their second e-update concerning the next steps for the Core Strategy. They say the end date has now slipped out to an unspecified date in 2015, because of the additional work that needs to be done to get it right. You can read the update by clicking here: Issue#2 Sep 2013 Local Plan News.

The update also contains a brief definition of Social Housing, a more comphrensive and slightly different definition of Social Housing can also be found on the charity Shelter’s website by clicking HERE.  As far as we know the council has no plans to build or own any of the new properties being proposed on the two sites in the borough (but we stand to be corrected).  It’s worth noting that government figures show that in the year until  to June about 115,000 new homes were built nationally, but of those only about 1,400 were built by local authorities, a little over 1%  of the total number of new homes built.

[/box] [box title=”Core Strategy Responses” color=”#333333″]WHBC have released their analysis of the thousands of comments into the Core Strategy Consultation which ended in January. There are almost 300 pages of it, but don’t let that put you off! We urge everyone to take a look and we’d welcome any comments you have. You can download the 6Mb PDF file by clicking HERE.

Headline changes to the Core Strategy timeline:

  • Proposed next consultation of the  revised Core Strategy is now autumn 2014, it was autumn this year.
  • Final adoption of plan is now sometime in 2015. Previously it was winter 2014.
  • More work will be done to re-evaluate how many homes are needed in the borough, the total number therefore is likely to go up or down. More information will also be sought from local land owners and those responsible for building new infrastructure.
  • The technical work around Panhanger airfield and the Green Belt review is expected to go on until Spring 2014.
[/box] [note color=”#FFCC00″]
Yellowhammer in Panshanger
Yellowhammer spotted at dusk on July 3rd

This slightly blurred picture of a yellowhammer was taken as it sat singing at the top of a hawthorn between the airfield and the Hillyfields meadow area.  The yellowhammer is a ‘red listed’ species, this means it is globally threatened and is in  servere decline in the UK. If you are out in the area listen out for it’s song, a sample and more info is available on the RSPB site here.

[/note] [note color=”#f7fae1″] July 20th: Our Council’s latest Welwyn Hatfield Life Magazine has a small article about the new plans for developing the Core Strategy. You can read it below:

Welwyn Hatfield Core Strategy

The article as appearing in the Summer 2013 edition just out.

[/note] [note color=”#e3fafc”] June 13th: A local residents group from Congleton in Cheshire has been in touch to tell us about an official petition that challenges the government’s new planning strategy, the NPPF. The petition is clearly worded and asks for the NPPF to be amended to allow local communities everywhere a greater genuine say in what development should take place in their area. The link to it is here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49495   Please have a look and sign it if you feel so inclined, others locally have done so.

[/note] [note color=”#f9f7b9″] June 13th: We were told at a council meeting on the 13th that all residents comments on the recent core strategy consultation are now on the council’s consulation portal. Why not check yours is there?

We were also told that there will be an official response to the letter we jointly sent to the council on the 18th June, that letter is available on this site and asks many concerning questions.

We asked for an updated time line of the Core Strategy as the original dates were missing from the council’s recent e-update. No update was given, only that there will more information in some future e-update, at some point in time. [/note] [note color=”#FEE4B0″]

May 25th: WHBC have just released an email update on the Core Strategy/Local Plan development. It appears that the timeline has been extended. The update below has been sent to every email address the council has on their consultation database. It seems we are still many weeks away from all the consultation comments being made available on the database. It also appears that the next, and probably final, public consultation about this issue will not now be until next year sometime. This is of concern as developers can theoretically submit planning proposals for areas that are not covered by any Local Plan and if they qualify as ‘Sustainable Development’ the council is duty bound to consider them. Regardless of whether they are suitable and appropriate for a Garden City or not. Not exactly Localism in action. Please read the council’s update below:

Click here to read Issue#1 May 2013 Local Plan News

May 21st: We have just emailed our latest newsletter to our growing email list. If you want to join the list just send us an email through the site and the latest edition will be sent to you – simples!

May 3rd: We have been jointly working with the Hatfield Garden Village Preservation Society, and the Welwyn Garden City Society, to write a letter of objection to the Chief Executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. The letter makes clear our joint objections to the process undertaken when selecting areas for growth in the council’s Emerging Core Strategy.  The decision making process that led to only two locations being put forward for new developments outside urban areas is challenged and evidence cited. Residents concerned that due process and transparency should be at the heart of these difficult decisions about our area’s future are urged to read both the letter the Chief Exec, and our two letters now published  in the Welwyn & Hatfield Times:

  1. Joint letter to the Welwyn & Hatfield Times printed May 1st

  2. Joint letter to the Welwyn & Hatfield Times, printed 24th April

  3. Joint letter to the Chief Executive of the council

So far there has been no response to the letter but we anticipate a robust and detailed reply which answers the questions asked.

Also, the Save Panshanger website has been updated and refreshed. It is now focused on the campaign to save Panshanger Airfield from development for housing.  This is a sister site to Panshanger People and we encourage people to look at the site: www.savepanshanger.co.uk 

The site also has details of a new initiative to designate the airfield site as an asset of community value, you are welcome to email us if you would like to support that initiative. Please note that if you already receive emails from Panshanger People there is no need to also join the mailing list on the Save Panshanger site, as they are one and the same.

[/note]

 

[note color=”#E8F2FB”]

April 20th: The questions we asked at the council meeting on the 11th April, along with the official answers from the council are available to view here: ECS Public Questions with Answers 11th April 2013

The committee will of course discuss these answers as they are very relevant to what happens next regarding the Core Strategy and 700 homes proposal.  This document  is well worth a read, there is clearly still a long way to go in this saga. We are very interested in any comments or criticisms of these answers and you are welcome to contact us with your views. Panshanger People seeks as much public engagement with this process as possible.
[/note] [note color=”#98BCDB”]

April 20th: Friends of the Mimram have a new newsletter out, you can download it here: FOM Newsletter Apr 413.

Also, they have an Open Meeting on Wed. 24th April at 7.30 pm The meeting is free and will be held at the Tewin
Pavillion, Upper Green, Tewin, AL6 0LX. The aim is to find out what Affinity Water’s future plans are and how they affect the Mimram and to learn about the river’s past.

Why not go along and find out more about the possible future of our only nearby river!

[/note] [note color=”#E8F2FB”]

Members of the group have now attended three council meetings in order to ask specific questions about the rational behind the Core Strategy. On the 12th of March we attended and asked 10 separate questions, answers were read back to us. We now have those in print form and they can be downloaded by clicking here.    We are very interested in any comments or criticisms of these answers and you are welcome to contact us with your views.
[/note] [note color=”#FCCC45″]

Residents’ comments as submitted to the consultation are still being added onto the council’s planning portal. There are now around 2,700 which is close to the 3,000 total number as advised by the council. Recent additions include those those by Lafarge Tarmac where they propose a development on the WGC5 site for around 2500 homes. They have submitted a number of colourful documents with artist’s impressions of the site in a traditional Welwyn Garden City style. You can find all these by clicking on the links to the PDF appendix documents on this web page. These are just conceptual proposals at the moment, the reality could be vastly different of course.

Other notable recent comments come from the Campaign to Protect Rural England who say that the “consultation is flawed and if the Core Strategy is based on this may be unsound.”. Their comments are here.

Landform Estates Ltd have also made a detailed submission in the PDF file which you can find here.  Their objections are   similar to those of Panshanger People in some areas, to quote them:

In  its current  form  the  Core  Strategy  is  not ‘justified’ on a robust and credible evidence base and it is not ‘consistent’ with national planning policy guidance.

Overall it is our consideration that the emerging Core Strategy is non compliant with
objectives and tests of soundness.

This  paper  has  already  explained  that  without  an  objective  housing  needs
assessment,  the  core  strategy  does  not  meet  the  requirement  of  NPPF  paragraph
47.

Herts County Council have also made submissions relating to gravel extraction. Stating in essence that any site chosen for development in the sand and gravel belt (which is probably all of them) may be required to have gravel extracted before any development can take place. It notes that this should be included in the Core Strategy proposals. It also says that this extraction could take some considerable years in some cases. They state:

“In order to prevent the sterilisation of minerals, consideration should be given for the need to extract any underlying sand and gravel, prior to future development taking place.”

Their full submission can be read here.

[/note] [note color=”#ED1C24″]

Tesco at Moors Walk: See the separate new page about the alcohol licensing application by Tesco on the menu above. The period for objections has now closed and there will be a hearing to decide on the matter on April 19th at the Campus West. [/note]

Just for fun, we recently got  into the spirit of April Fools. Our post and picture on this site caught out the unwary, you can see it here.

Our first newsletter can be downloaded  by clicking here.  The next one will be released soon.