Natural Environment & Green Spaces – Update

Bengeo Ward has wonderful green spaces, rivers, woodlands, paths and panoramic views which we’re keen to preserve, protect and improve. Utilising feedback from the Neighbourhood Plan Survey and the first public exhibition in July, our Working Group have now developed draft policies and action plans. These have been set out in a draft chapter for the Neighbourhood Plan.

These policies and plans will support our group’s key objectives and address issues, specific to Bengeo Ward, on nature conservation, air quality improvement, outdoor play and recreation, green travel, and valuing, improving and protecting all aspects of our natural environment and special green spaces.

We’re now refining and strengthening our policies and action plans in readiness for a second public exhibition in the New Year.

Here are two of Bengeo’s important views.

View over Beane Road marshes from Beane Road bridge
View across ‘Three Lakes’ to west Bengeo

Public Exhibition

The Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan is organising a public exhibition at Bengeo Primary School on the weekend of the 7th and 8th July 2018 from 1pm to 5pm on both days.

This exhibition is the next stage in the public consultation driving the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (BNAP).

Come and see the results of work so far to develop the future of Bengeo ward:

  • Learn more about the Neighbourhood Plan and its process
  • Hear about the results of the BNAP survey conducted earlier this year
  • Discuss the initial ideas emerging from consultation so far about:
    – Built Environment – housing, community buildings
    – Green Spaces – including Bengeo Field
    – Sustainable Transport – traffic, parking, walking, cycling
    – Community and Culture Quarter
  • Get involved – let the BNAP team know your own ideas about how you want the area you live in to evolve over the next 15 years.

Bengeo History Exhibition

Hertford’s oldest building –  St Leonards Church in Bengeo – is currently hosting a local history exhibition entitled “Bengeo: A century of change 1840 to 1940”.

A similar exhibition four years ago proved highly popular and many people asked for it  to be put on again, so the parish has taken the opportunity to use the church before it opens for its summer season. It will be open on 5th, 6th an 7th May, 12th, 13th,19th and 20th May from 10am to 4pm, with free entry.

Whilst the main focus will be on the years of huge growth and change 1840 to 1940 there will be some information going back further.

There will be a large selection of then and now photographs comparing postcards and images from the past to what is there now.

There will also be information on the history of individual roads and some more prominent houses for those who live within the parish of Bengeo but its hope will also be of interest for visitors from the surrounding area as well.

Take Part In Our Survey

Bengeo Neighbourghood Area Plan together with Hertford Town Council are inviting all residents of Bengeo ward to complete a survey to give your views about how you want the area you live in to evolve over the next 15 years. This is a chance to shape policies which will emerge over the coming months from an analysis of community feedback (such as this survey) and feasibility assessment.
Please visit for more information (including a Bengeo ward map). The survey is open to Bengeo ward residents aged 10 or over. It is important that each household completes the survey, and individual members of your family may complete their own responses if they wish. The deadline for completing the survey is 18 March.

» Click here to take part in the survey

Travel & Transport Update

The Travel & Transport Working Group is focused on making Bengeo a place for people where they can enjoy walking and cycling for their everyday journeys. This is in keeping with Hertfordshire County Council’s draft Local Transport Plan.

Our aim is to identify issues that currently affect these types of journey so that BNAP can set out policies to ensure they are addressed. We will also be looking at more strategic issues that will improve connectivity, both within Bengeo and to other local areas, for example the town centre.

Whilst walking and cycling are a focus, it is also recognized that we all need to drive for some of our journeys. Traffic issues also form part of our research, the obvious issues such as through-traffic and on street parking are possibly the most significant. We are again identifying issues and reviewing how our local traffic network might look in the future. An example of this is the Old Cross junction, it seems to be a barrier to both pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles so we are considering how it could be improved.

We are also identifying measures that will ensure reliable and good quality public transport links are available to Bengeo. This would apply to all types of traveler, commuting into London, maintaining train access to Stevenage or bus services to the town centre and other local towns.

Key aims are to:

  • Maintain and enhance sustainable travel links within, to and from Bengeo.
  • Reinstate the transport hierarchy.
  • Give pedestrians priority back over cars.

Possible projects include:

  1. Providing a pedestrian route on both sides of Beane Road to improve access to the station.
  2. Managing parking in the vicinity of pedestrian crossings (i.e. at dropped kerbs) at junctions.
  3. Investigate and improve congestion on Hartham Lane, when vehicles exit the Hartham Leisure facilities and Sainsburys. This would include creating a safe crossing arrangement for pedestrians.

Natural Environment and Green Spaces Update

The Natural Environment & Green Spaces group aims to look at every type of green space within Bengeo ward including woodland, farm land, nature reserves, Hartham Common, allotments and Children’s Play areas.So many people in Bengeo love the area because of its semi-rural location and open spaces. It is a key characteristic of our ward. Whether it be looking after an allotment or walking out on a pleasant afternoon across one of the many country walks that surround the area. The sense of openness and mixed land use is key to the area’s identity.

We in the Natural Environment and Green Spaces Working Group have been thrilled by the positive responses we have received while discussing our local green spaces, and the key role that many people feel these spaces play in their lives. Once, not so long ago Bengeo was a small rural village, but despite much growth the area has managed to keep that semi-rural atmosphere. We feel this is part of who we are.

The key aims of the group are to:

  • Promote and protect rights of way around Bengeo including cycle tracks, walking routes and common land.
  • Enable sustainable use of Bengeo green spaces.
  • Maintain and protect wildlife habitats within Bengeo ward.
  • Promote use of our natural environment for recreational activity for all ages.
  • Protect Bengeo ward from poor air quality by protecting and increasing green lungs and corridors.

The groups is currently evaluating the following projects:

  1. Including a photo library and detailed use of mapping to optimise conservation opportunities.
  2. Using the disused railway land in lower Bengeo as a cycleway and footpath.
  3. Having a community garden and or aviary amongst other ideas.

Waterford Wick

Tarmac ecological houses proposal on the land off the Sacombe Road (past Vicarage Lane) is now officially called The Waterford Wick. If you are interested to find out more about the most recent developments with the proposal – there is a stakeholder meeting in Bengeo Parish Church Hall for Wednesday 17th January – for a meeting from about 18:30 – 20:00 hrs.

More information is available on the Molewood Resident Association website at:

Culture & Communities Update

Former school in Dimsdale Street

The Culture & Communities Working Group aims to encompass a very wide view of “culture” and include all community groups such as the churches, youth organisations, arts organisations, community centres, leisure and recreation initiatives and others. It is culture in the widest sense. In the words of the 2016 Culture White Paper the value of culture is threefold: intrinsic, social and economic. The social benefit is clearly linked to physical and mental well-being. The lower part of Bengeo down to the Town Centre has been identified in the Hertford Urban Development Strategy as Hertford Arts Quarter. There are plans to regenerate the Old McMullens Brewery and Old British School in Dimsdale Street as a Hertford Arts Hub with support from the University of Hertfordshire, Hertford Town Council and Arts Council England.

A community with a strong set of cultural activities is a healthy community and this is especially important for young people – for whom there is too little provision in Bengeo and Hertford generally.

Three key aims are to:

  • Encourage and develop all cultural activities within the BNAP area by developing a community portal of the Love Bengeo website and engaging with local cultural groups.
  • Ensure access to the widest possible variety of activities for all age groups and abilities by promoting existing premises and activities and encouraging fresh initiatives.
  • Improve communication amongst current cultural activity suppliers.

We will explore the types of activities and event spaces that might be made available by the redevelopment of the Old British School.

If there is a desire for a dedicated community centre within Bengeo and where that might be located.

The development of a heritage trail through Bengeo, with key sign-posting and/or permanent notice boards.