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February 2015

What Have EHDC Ever Done for Us? - Not a Lot

Would you believe it, there are yellow lines and a pedestrian crossing point at the London and Aspenden Road junction. It may have taken us two years but to all those people who banged away at EHDC and Highways our hearty thanks, your ceaseless efforts have made a tangible contribution to road safety in our town.

Now wouldn't be great if in next month's Journal my Co-chair Graham Waite could report that the Wheatley Homes Appeal had been rejected? Anyone who attended the Appeal last week will have noticed that, not for the first time, EHDC did not turn up. Yes, you've guessed it, a back-room deal struck just two days before Christmas left Buntingford undefended AGAIN. Fortunately the town team, expertly fronted by Steve Baker and brilliantly supported by Graham, Bob Jackson and Steve Bowman, proved equal to the challenge. Undaunted but tired after many hours burning the midnight oil they mounted a compelling defence which obviously impressed the inspector. However, there were some big guns ranged against us, and we await his decision next month.

This is no way to conduct the planning process. All over our country I hear the same complaint that local communities are being rolled over by developers and the Local Authority either won't or can't defend them. Our town has been let down twice by EHDC and that's not good enough. It is high time our District Councillors insisted that once the decision to refuse an application is made it is followed through to its democratic conclusion and not decided on a technicality behind closed doors. As I write this we are preparing for the Aspenden Road Appeal on Wednesday 21st; all the signs are that EHDC will mount a defence, but you can never be sure!

And so to Buntingford West, the Wattsdown/Bovis proposal to build approximately 400 homes between the bypass and the existing Bovis estate, plus land for a school and a new access junction on the A10. Judging by the attendance at the Seth Ward exhibition, this is attracting a great deal of interest. To make sure your view is known to EHDC write or go online using the Planning Application reference number 3/14/2304/OP - comments and objections must be submitted by 12th February 2015. I note the proposal has no provision for any bungalows for residents wishing to stay in Buntingford but downsize. And that's a school site, not an actual school, with a play area near the sewage works!

Let's end on a positive note. I had the pleasure of attending Freman College Prizegiving in December to witness Kiana Salamian receive the Civic Society prize for Community service. I recognized Kiana from her involvement with the Library petition and in a brief conversation heard of her other achievements. For those of us given to carping about our youth, an evening at Freman College should set you right.

Paul Spears, BCS Co-Chair

If you have any queries about Buntingford Civic Society or issues you would like to raise, you can email the Chairman direct at chairman@buntingfordcivic.org.uk.

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