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Housing Development in and around Buntingford

Last month’s Buntingford Journal contained several entries relating to the planning appeals held last December concerning proposals to build 160 houses north of Hare Street Road (Taylor Wimpey) and 100 houses behind Snells Mead (Wheatley Homes). Unfortunately, the Planning Inspector found in favour of the Developers, despite the valiant efforts of those from BARD and the Town Council (financially supported by the Civic Society) who worked so tirelessly to present the case against the developments.

In reaching his decision, the Planning Inspector took into account the lack of good transport links, the limits of local services and the lack of local employment opportunities. However, these were outweighed by the fact that East Herts Council did not have an approved Local Plan and could not demonstrate a five year housing land supply. In these circumstances, the current planning guidance given by central government to the planning inspectorate is that they should find in favour of housing development unless it is definitely unsustainable. The Planning Inspector did not regard this to be so for the 260 houses proposed. A copy of the Panning Inspector’s Report is available here and on the BARD website at www.bard-group.org.uk

East Herts Council, our local planning authority, is preparing a District (Local) Plan which covers the period to 2031. A draft version of this plan is now available here. There will be a twelve week consultation period (27th February to 22nd May) in which everyone has the opportunity to comment on it. Each household in East Herts should be sent information on the plan and how responses can be made.

The draft plan suggests that there will be the development of some 300 houses plus work units on the Sainsbury site and 180 houses between Ermine Street and the A10 to the north of Park Farm industrial estate (the latter having already been granted conditional approval). These 480 houses will be in addition to the 260 mentioned in the first paragraph above and the 270 already built or granted permission since 2011. If, as seems likely, this all comes about, Buntingford will have approximately 1000 more houses than in 2011 – an increase of just under 50% on the size of the Town. If you have views on this matter and consider it to be unsustainable, you have a chance to let East Herts Council know by taking part in the consultation on the Draft District Plan.

District Councillor Mike Carver, who is responsible for planning policy at East Herts Council, has agreed to be the speaker at the Civic Society AGM on 15th April and will discuss the consultation process. Come along and let him know your views.


Bob Jackson.

BCS AGM on 15th April - click here for more information.

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