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I cannot believe that we are now in September! I sincerely hope that you have all enjoyed your summer holidays - it is just a shame that, as usual, the weather since the chidren started their summer holidays has been, shall we say, disappointing. Roll on Christmas!!!

As has been expected for some time Bovis have submitted to EHDC their application for 400 dwellings on land adjacent to the by-pass. The Civic Society will work hand in hand with Buntingford Town Council and the Buntingford Chamber of Commerce to formulate a concise response to said application. Without pre-judging I think it fair to assume that our response will strongly oppose the application.

I personally think that this is one application too far - enough surely is enough. Whatever the pressures on EHDC to comply with government house building targets, they have a duty of care to their residents. Consider what has already been approved by EHDC and Government Inspectors - all without any real upgrade to Buntingford's infrastructure:

Taylor Wimpey - Land north of Hare Street Road - part occupied - 160

Wheatley Homes Area 1 - Land south of Hare Street Road - part occupied - 105

Wheatley Homes Areas 2 & 3 - Appeal allowed February 2016 - approx. 180

Redrow - Land west of Ermine Street - under construction - 180

Fairview Homes Housing, plus first school - part occupied - 316

Moult Walker - Land east of Aspenden Road - not yet started - 56

Total applications already approved = 997

From the above it can be seen that permission to erect 997 dwellings has already been given to various developers, almost double the figure of 500 identified for the town in the emerging East Herts District Plan. If the Bovis application is approved this will bring the total to 1397, nearer treble the preferred options figure. And the figures above do not include the provision on the original applications for a 65 bed care home at the Fairview site and a 60 bed care home on the Buntingford North site (Redrow).

If you have strong feelings either way on this Bovis application I would urge you to make your comments known to EHDC. You can do this either on their planning portal on the EHDC website using reference 3/17/1811/OUT or by email to Kevin Steptoe at EHDC kevin.steptoe@eastherts.gov.uk quoting the same reference. Comments must be received by 8th September.

Most of you will have noticed some changes on Market Hill. Another tree has gone - it was diseased and had to be removed - and our Victorian pump has disappeared!!! The pump was unfortunately knocked over by a 'white van man' and is currently being restored - again. It will be back in situ shortly. Costs for the restoration will hopefully be covered by insurance. The diseased tree, plus two others previously removed, will be replaced. The Civic Society are working with the Town Council and HCC to identify the best replacements.

It is gratifying to see some real action on clearing of footpaths and rights of way and our thanks to Councillor Jones for chasing this. What is less obvious is whether a long term regular cleaning cycle is in place. We will have to monitor this.

It was gratifying also to see how the 100th anniversary of the dreadful WW1 Battle of Passchendaele was remembered, and particularly poignant as one of Buntingford's own was killed on day one of the battle.

Graham Bonner, Chairman, Buntingford Civic Society

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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