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'Buntingford West'

Benson Hall was packed on Wednesday 4th February for an open meeting to discuss Bovis Homes' application, currently known as Buntingford West, to develop land west of Luynes Drive. The evening began with a presentation designed to further everyone's understanding of how the planning process works and to explain what the Civic Society, BARD and the Town Council have done, and continue to do, to try and influence decisions taken by our Local Planning Authority, EHDC. A lively Q&A developed but I think it fair to say the overwhelming mood was to oppose the application. The question is how?

Here are 5 ways you can make your view count:

1. Sign the petition at the Manor House.

2. Write to the responsible planning officer: Mrs H Izod, East Herts Council, Development Control, Wallfields, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8EQ

3. Email your views to: planning@eastherts.gov.uk

4. Click here and put in the application reference 3/14/2304/OP, then press search. After the page has loaded, press 'Make a Comment' towards the top right of the page. Ignore the closure date: it has been extended and your comments are still valid.

5. Write to our MP, Sir Oliver Heald QC; or ring 01462 486074 and ask to see him at his Buntingford Surgery; or email him at oliver.heald.mp@parliament.uk

The Civic Society is committed to challenging inappropriate and poorly constructed plans, but we believe our arguments must be evidence-based and relevant to the planning process. That said, the Society is keen to support any action group or individual that we believe is acting in the best interests of our community. It is sobering to consider that legal actions can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Civic Voice and 'Charrette'

Last week Civic Voice, the national body of Civic and Amenity Socities, launched its campaign to make a planning system known as 'Charrette' more widely known. This system, used originally to help regenerate riot-torn areas in the USA, involves the local community and developers collaborating BEFORE an application is made. Introduced relatively recently in the UK, Charrette has been used successfully as close to home as St Albans. If you are interested to learn more, you can download the pamphlet here

The Neighbourhood Plan

Our Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is nearing the point where it can be presented for public comment. A recent decision to refuse an application in Devizes, Wiltshire, in which the emerging NP was given considerable weight has encouraged the team to redouble its efforts in preparing our area plan. Moreover, there does appear to be growing recognition within Government that Localism needs more support and NP is the best vehicle to do it with. When adopted the plan becomes a legal document which will be used to guide future development. So please get involved and support YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN**.

Paul Spears, BCS Co-Chair

** The NP area includes Buntingford and the Parishes of Aspenden, Buckland & Chipping, Cottered,Hormead and Wtddial.

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.

BCS AGM on 22nd April - click here for more information.

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