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 www.lovebengeo.org.uk 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.
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:
Providing a pedestrian route on both sides of Beane Road to improve access to the station.
Managing parking in the vicinity of pedestrian crossings (i.e. at dropped kerbs) at junctions.
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.
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:
Including a photo library and detailed use of mapping to optimise conservation opportunities.
Using the disused railway land in lower Bengeo as a cycleway and footpath.
Having a community garden and or aviary amongst other ideas.
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.
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.
The Businesses Working Group is trying to get some further feedback from Bengeo Ward businesses. Therefore we are now asking all local businesses (big and small) that we know of to respond to our very brief 1 page survey so that we can get further views on what the Bengeo Ward businesses would like to see in future Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan.
Please download and fill out the Word document below and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A County Council team has been appointed to improve pedestrian and cycling facilities on North Road, Beane Road, Hertford North Station surrounds, Port Hill and Hartham Common. The scheme proposes localised footway widening and improvements to existing facilities, vegetation clearance, kerb realignment to reduce pinch points, and new pedestrian refuge and right turn pocket for cyclists on Beane Road.
As part of this initiative, the council are asking residents to fill out a questionnaire. The consultation runs until Monday 20th November 2017.
Business owners in the Bengeo Ward are invited to attend the next meeting of the BNAP Business Working Group on Thursday 9th November at the Millbridge Rooms in The Wash.
The Business Working Group seeks to gather input, opinion and advice from all of the business owners within the Ward to ensure their views, ideas and needs are accurately represented. In short, it is your opportunity to ‘have your say’ and help shape Bengeo Ward for businesses both now and in the future.
We have five working group meetings currently scheduled.
Our Natural Environment and Green Spaces Working Group will discuss considerations such as the disused railway, Bengeo quarry, leisure & recreation and play areas in Bengeo Ward on Tuesday 26th September (venue TBC).
Our Homes & Development Working Group will meet at The Greyhound in Bengeo Street on Wednesday 27th September at 8pm.
Our Traffic & Transport Working Group will meet at The White Lion in Bengeo Street on Wednesday 27th September at 7:30pm. Some of the key considerations include the sustainable transport in Bengeo (cycle lanes, bus services, etc), parking issues, pedestrian concerns, speed limits, B158 and through Bengeo traffic, etc. Volunteers who would like to be involved in looking for future solutions in Bengeo are most welcome to join.
Our Business Working Group will met at 3-5 Cowbridge on Friday 29th September at 6pm. We would like to hear from businesses, retailers, and employers big and small in Bengeo Ward (which includes St Andrew St, north of North Road, and Three Lakes). Have your say and help shape the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan for the next 15 years.
Finally, our Culture & Community Working Group will me at The Greyhound in Bengeo Street on Thursday 12th October at 7:30pm.
Please get in touch if you are interested in either of these Working Groups.
On Tuesday 12th September a workshop for volunteers of the BNAP working groups took place at Hertford Theatre. The five working groups focused on the areas of
Home and Development
Culture and Community
Natural Environment and Green Spaces
Transport and Traffic
The workshop was led by Hertford Town Council Planning consultant, Jacqueline Veater, who will be guiding BNAP through the drafting of the neighbourhood plan.
Now that the area of the Bengeo Ward has been officially designated, the next stage will be to prepare a draft for the plan. Over the course of the workshop, Jacqueline outlined the different stages of the development of the neighbourhood plan and the vital role of the working groups in the process.
As a starting point, the groups were asked to identify a future vision for the Bengeo Ward; volunteers discussed what they most value about living or working in Bengeo ward and areas that could be improved.
Some of the key topics which were discussed include:
Access to green spaces
Maintaining the sense of a village community whilst also having a strong central area for people to meet
Quality of schools
Support for Local businesses to encourage business enterprise
Green travel/ initiatives
The working groups broke off into their topic areas to discuss key issues which will then be formed into practical objectives which will help BNAP to formulate an action plan and gather evidence to support the policies. As a guide, volunteers are encouraged to come up with objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Realistic and Time bound (SMART).
The objective outcomes and discussions from the working group meetings will help us to write questions for a detailed survey that will ask Bengeo Ward residents about all the issues that matter to them. The questionnaire will be one of the most effective ways for us to gather views from a large percentage of residents/businesses in the area. The responses that we receive will help us to write policies that will shape the future of the Ward.
The next step in the process will be individual meetings for each of the working groups within the next few weeks. These meetings will allow the working groups to focus on their specific areas and continue identifying key objectives which will be presented at the next steering committee meeting on 5th October.
This initiative is an exciting opportunity to improve our local area and we welcome your feedback and involvement. If you would like to join one of the working groups or volunteer in any other way please get in touch.