Proposals for No.7 Cowbridge

Photo of no.7 Cowbridge

We have submitted our comments on proposals to convert No.7 Cowbridge to residential use.

The proposal is for: “Change of use from Class A1 (retail use) to create one four bedroom dwelling; alterations to openings and fenestration; new roof light to second floor; creation of new side entrance way; car-parking space to side and installation of railings and plinth walls to front and side.”

Although the application involves a change of use from retail to residential, the premises has been empty for many years. So, while it is a pity to lose a town centre commercial space, we judge that it is more important to preserve this beautiful, grade 2 listed building than to attempt to keep it as a commercial property. Furthermore, the conversion of the frontage will fit in well with the rest of the street.

We also welcome the removal unsympathetic changes – the removal of the shop window to be replaced by a smaller one in the original historical position.

We note that this building contains swift nests, a bird on the ‘red’ list of endangered species (BTO/RSPB). Swifts migrate back to the same nest each year and any disturbance is very problematic. We, therefore, strongly urge the developer to include swift bricks in any construction work and to take expert advice on the siting of these.

We do not consider the addition of railings at the front of the property to be necessary or desirable. We do not think that they add to the sense of history of the building as railings would not have been a historic feature, or that they are in keeping with the rest of the street. So, we would prefer to see this element omitted.

Our full response can be read here »

Courtyard Arts planning application

Courtyard Arts Centre

Courtyard Arts Centre in Port Vale have submitted a planning application for a “single storey rear extension and single storey partially glazed infill extension”.

We broadly support this application, although we note the regrettable loss of car parking spaces.

You can read our full submission to the planning application by clicking the link below.

Courtryard Arts planning application comments »

Response to Travel Pack for Bengeo Nursery development

Developer Durkan have submitted a planning application for the discharge of the planning condition requiring a Travel Plan to be provided for the residential development on the former Bengeo Nursery site in Sacombe Road.

We have responded to the application, making the observations below.

Our full response can be found here:

  1. The Travel Pack information has incorrect information on the 333-bus service. The circular Hertford Bengeo 333 bus services is provided by Trustybus, not Centrebus. The link to Centrebus should be replaced with a link to the county council’s Interlink page – which provides the latest bus travel information in Hertfordshire (subject to links being current at the time the travel pack is issued to residents). The ‘Centrebus’ label, on the image of the bus, should be removed.
  2. It’s noted that the revised travel pack includes scannable QR codes for local walking and cycling routes. In the ‘Walking’ section of the pack, reference to Hertfordshire Health Walks should be included.
  3. Information on local cycle shops could be included in the pack. We recommend that Paul Basham Associates seek advice from Kirstie Feasey at Hertford Cycle Hub on this, and that they confirm that the Cycle Hub is operational at the time of going to press with the travel pack.
  4. The map in the ‘Walking’ section of the pack should include walking routes from the HERT4 site to Hertford North Station. This could include a route along The Avenue, down the ‘Molewood steps’, along Molewood Road and on to the station via Beane Road. Alternative walking routes to the station should be included, avoiding the steps.
  5. Given traffic volumes in the Neighbourhood Plan Area, the pack should make it clear that the lower Bengeo roads via Cross Road and Beane Road have ‘except for access’ restrictions, with additional, time limited, ‘no right turn ‘ restrictions from Bengeo Street onto Cross Road.
  6. The pack could include links to the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan website and to the Love Bengeo Facebook page.

What is a Travel Pack?

Local authorities often make it a condition of planning approval that developers provide “travel packs” (also known as “travel plans”).

The aim of a travel pack is primarily to promote and encourage a move
toward sustainable travel by those moving into new residential developments.

Throughout the planning process, and in line with current government planning policy, measures that would aim to develop sustainable links from new developments, including extended bus service provision, improved cycling and walking links and access to travel information, are agreed to by the

With the physical infrastructure in place, the intention is that each new resident is made fully aware of the travel choices available and is given the best possible opportunity to consider more sustainable modes of travel.

Through the Residential Travel Pack, developers should aim to provide sufficient information that would allow residents to make informed travel choices, and be given the incentive to try new modes of travel either via discounted travel passes or travel vouchers.

Additionally, as a means to encouraging modal shift away from private car use, the health and economic benefits of non-car based travel should also be identified.

What does it mean to “discharge” a planning condition?

There are often conditions attached to planning permissions that need further details to be submitted and approved by the council at certain stages of the development. This process is called ‘discharge of conditions’.

Land at Carmelite Monastery

Photo of land at Carmelite Monastery

A planning application has been submitted for the construction of a new three-bedroomed  home in Ware Park Road, on land owned by the Ware Carmelite Monastery.

We have submitted the comments below on this proposal.

It’s noted that the site is within the Metropolitan Green Belt and that the proposed dwelling would be on undeveloped Green Belt land, in a different location to the existing agricultural building. Paragraph 4.79 of the Neighbourhood Plan says: “Rather than encroach on the Green Belt, or reduce the volume of green spaces, it’s preferable to re-use industrial land or disused buildings for housing, leisure, employment or enterprise”. Although the proposed dwelling would be single storey, and marginally smaller in volume and floor area than the existing agricultural building, it’s considered that its proposed location could have an unwelcome impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

The site is within an area identified in the HERC Ecological Network Mapping as “high priority for habitat creation”. Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBN3: Nature Conservation says: ‘Proposals to create new natural areas and wildlife habitats, or to enhance or expand existing provision, will be supported’. Should planning permission be granted, we would endorse the recommendations of the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal for the replanting of young native fruit trees in the adjoining orchard, supplementary planting of existing boundary hedgerows with native woody species, wildlife friendly soft landscaping, and the integration of bird and bat boxes. As a fruit tree would be removed during the proposed development of the site, we would recommend replacement as per Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBN3 which says: “Replacement of trees with native species, in suitable locations, will be encouraged where the development results in the unavoidable loss of trees on the site”.

Fantastic referendum result for the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan

More than 3,000 residents participated in the 6th May referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan and it received an incredible 94.8% ‘YES’ vote.

This means that the lovely green spaces, important views, community facilities, and special buildings in the Plan will now have additional protection from inappropriate development. Our community policies will help shape local development, and contribute to improving local travel conditions, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. The Neighbourhood Plan will also support local community initiatives and projects, like those listed on page 60 of the Plan.

The Neighbourhood Plan has had incredible community support, from the first meeting in Bengeo Primary School in 2017, through to the 2021 referendum. Along the way, there’ve been workshops, exhibitions, drop-in events, Working Group meetings, leaflet drops (to around 3,500 homes), and lots of late nights
pulling the Plan together.

A huge ‘thank you’ is due to everyone who’s helped to make the Plan a reality.

Referendum flyer

We are now distributing our referendum flyer to homes across the Bengeo ward ahead of the vote on Thursday 6th May. If you’ve not yet received the flyer you can click on the link below.

Referendum Information Statement

The referendum on the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan has been formally announced by East Herts District Council. A defined area of Bengeo Field (5.7 hectares) is one of 8 green spaces included in Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBN1: Local Green Space Designation.

Image of referendum statement

The full statement reads as follows:

A referendum relating to the adoption of the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan will be held on Thursday 6 May 2021.

The question which will be asked in the referendum is:

“Do you want East Hertfordshire District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Bengeo Neighbourhood Area to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

The referendum area is identified on the map which is included with this information statement.

The referendum area is identical to the area which has been designated as the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan.

A person is entitled to vote in the referendum if on Monday 19 April 2021:

  • He or she is entitled to vote in a local government election in the
    referendum area; and
  • His or her qualifying address for the election is in the referendum
    area. A person’s qualifying address is, in relation to a person
    registered in the register of electors, the address in respect of
    which he or she is entitled to be registered.

The referendum expenses limit that will apply in relation to the referendum is £2,722.77. The number of persons entitled to vote in the referendum by which that limit has been calculated is 6,114.

The referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures which are similar to those used at local government elections.

Copies of the specified documents, that is those documents listed below, may be viewed at: Paper copies of the specified documents are also available for
inspection at East Herts District Council, Wallfields Offices, Hertford, SG13 8EQ – between 9am and 5pm.

The specified documents are:

  • The Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan 2019 – 2033;
  • The independent examiner’s report;
  • A summary of the representations submitted to the independent
  • A statement by the local planning authority that the plan meets the
    basic conditions and complies with the relevant legislation;
  • A statement setting out general information on town and country
    planning including neighbourhood planning and the referendum;
  • This information statement.

Published: 24 March 2021
Richard Cassidy, Counting Officer
East Herts Council, Wallfields, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8EQ

Referendum announced

The referendum on the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan will be held on Thursday 6th May 2021.

Residents of Hertford Bengeo Ward, who are on the electoral register, can vote on whether they want East Herts District Council to use the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan to help decide planning applications for the Plan Area.

It will be a simple ‘Yes/No’ vote.

A majority vote is required to enable the Neighbourhood Plan to be adopted and to be used to help determine the outcome of planning applications over the life of the Plan (up to 2033). A map of the Neighbourhood Plan Area is on page 7 of the Plan. Since October 2019, around 20 Neighbourhood Plan responses to planning applications have been submitted to East Herts District Council.

If residents vote in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan, the policies in the adopted Plan will be given equal weight to those of the East Herts District Plan in determining the outcome of planning applications in the Plan Area.

Further Tree Heritage Nursery plans

Photo of tree nursery
Tree Heritage nursery in North Road

A further planning application has been submitted for the Tree Heritage Nursery site south of Waterford.

This is the third application in less than 12 months.

The first application in April last year was for 3 three-bed bungalows at the front of the site 3 four-bed traditional boarded barn style dwellinghouses set behind. The properties would have featured designated off-street car-parking. This application was refused and is now the subject of an appeal to The Planning Inspectorate.

The second application was submitted in October and was for 2 three-bed bungalows at the front of the site and 3 three-bed bungalows behind, similarly all with off-street parking.  The application was granted planning permission in December.

The new application retains the 2 three-bed bungalows at the front of the site, whilst the three properties behind have been redesigned to include 4-bed properties with first floor accommodation within the roof, with a chalet dwelling design.

We have submitted a response to the new plans, highlighting the significant and unwelcome impact on the openness of the Green Belt, particularly when viewed from Waterford Marsh.

Read our full response here

The Two Brewers

Photo of public houseA planning application has been submitted to convert The Two Brewers public house in Port Vale in to two residential properties.

The pub is included on a list of community facilities in Appendix E of the Neighbourhood Plan. The appendix is linked to Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBC1: Enhanced Community Facilities. Criterion I of this Policy says: “Existing community facilities, as listed in Appendix E, should be retained and protected. Loss of facilities will only be acceptable where alternative provision is of a scale and standard equivalent to, or superior to, the existing facilities”.

We have submitted a planning response to the District Council setting out our view on this planning proposal.

Read our full response here