Working Groups Workshop Report

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
  • Business

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.

Join Our Working Group Meetings

We have two working group meetings coming up – for Natural Environment & Green Spaces and Culture & Community.

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 Culture & Community Working Group will meet on Tuesday 19th September. We also warmly welcome representatives of organisations, churches, scouts, art organisations, associations etc.

Please get in touch if you are interested in either of these Working Groups.

Workshops for Working Group Volunteers

Local residents are invited to a practical workshop for members of BNAP Working Groups and Steering Group at 7:30pm on Tuesday 12th September 2017 at Hertford Theatre. Places are limited so please confirm your attendance.

The workshop will be led by Hertford Town Council’s Planning Consultant and it will focus on:

  • Turning the issues that have been raised so far into draft objectives and a vision
  • Formulating questions to be included in the Neighbourhood Plan survey
  • Collecting evidence to support the planning policies
  • Practical hints and tips on good practice for neighbourhood planning.

We look forward to seeing you then.

Steering Group Agrees Next Steps

The Neighbourhood Plan Community Steering Group met last Wednesday evening,  9th August. The attendees included 5 local councillors, representatives of local Resident Associations, residents and a representative of the business community in the ward.

The meeting provided an important opportunity to discuss a number of areas arising from the previous meetings and feedback received to date and crucially agree the next steps and priorities for BNAP. The key topics covered included:

  • Finalising the steering group’s governance and structure
  • Initial analysis of the Neighbourhood Plan feedback received to date
  • Establishing a Communications Group to concentrate on, among other things, maximising the outreach to all stakeholders in the Hertford Bengeo ward
  • Initiating a set of volunteer Working Groups to start looking at topics that have been identified in feedback and consultation to date.
  • Identifying key milestones to enable smooth progress with preparing BNAP.

The key priorities now are to consolidate the formal structure of the group and to start the “real” work of getting the Working Groups into full swing so that consultation feedback can be transformed into draft policies for the plan.

Based on the feedback received so far the initial Working Groups are:

  • Homes and development
  • Natural environment and green spaces
  • Culture and community
  • Transport and traffic
  • Business

We are now calling for all volunteers interested to be involved in the discussions, consultation and presenting proposals for each of the Working Group. If you have not done so already please get in touch with us and let us know your interest – or

There will be initial discussions within each Working Group in August/September. A training session for Working Group volunteers is planned on Tuesday 12th September evening.  More detail to follow.

Preliminary Working Groups Discussions

40 volunteers who live or work in Bengeo Ward attended the interactive session focused on the current status and main themes of Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (BNAP). The meeting organised last Wednesday by BNAP’s interim Steering Group provided an opportunity for the participants to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan and potential ways of supporting it and getting involved.

Mark Lynch, the Co-Chair of the BNAP Steering Group, opened the meeting by explaining the current status of the BNAP and outlined the process and key stages of creating BNAP. County Cllr Andrew Stevenson, also the Co-chair of the BNAP Steering Group, provided a brief explanation of the structure and the governance of this community-led initiative, which is supported by Hertford Town Council. The designated area of the Hertford Bengeo Ward has now been formally accepted by East Herts District Council.  

At present the interim Community Steering Group includes Chairs of all the existing residents’ associations and other representative groups, including Hertford Civil Society and Councillors. Hertford Town Council have established their own Working Party to monitor progress and assist as appropriate. Membership of the Community Steering Group is open and there is a need to have a balanced representation of the community within the Group.

A Neighbourhood Plan consists of a number of chapters, each of which articulate specific issues of concern to the community, and should respect the District Local Plan for development. Continue reading “Preliminary Working Groups Discussions”

Inaugural Meeting

We would like to invite you to the inaugural meeting of BNAP Working Groups on Wednesday 26th July 2017 at Bengeo Primary School.

The Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (BNAP) is an opportunity for local people to shape the development and growth of the area and set planning policies to determine planning applications.

We are now looking to establish Working Groups to focus on issues identified as important in recent public consultation. Residents, organisations and businesses are welcome to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan process, help us determine the initial themes for BNAP Working Groups, and volunteer to join a Working Group.

In the consultation so far, issues raised included:

  • residential developments
  • affordable housing
  • the need to protect green spaces
  • transport
  • parking
  • culture hub
  • leisure/sport amenities
  • community services.

We would like to set up a number Working Groups to begin the work of looking in detail at each of the areas that people have told us are important, drawing up a good picture of the current position on issues, and then considering options, which we can take forward through the Neighbourhood Plan.

This is your opportunity to have a say about the future developments in your community. Come and help shape the future of Bengeo Ward!

Please let us know if you are planning to come – this is an interactive session and it will help us to know if you are coming. Please also let us know if you are interested to join the working groups but can’t come to the launch event so we can keep you posted – the form is here.

District Council Supports Plan

Following a meeting of the District Council’s Executive Committee on Tuesday 27th June, the Council has approved the designation of Bengeo Ward  as a Neighbourhood Area.

County Councillor Andrew Stevenson commented: “The timeliness of developing a Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan is important because there are a number of significant planning and transport consultations and events during the next 9 months. The timely development of a Neighbourhood plan will enable a co-ordinated input into these activities, even if the formal aspects of the Neighbourhood Plan has not been concluded. These consultations and activities include:
East Herts District Local Plan adoption, Hertfordshire Local Transport Plan and Hertfordshire Minerals Plan consultation. the Govia consultation on their 2018 rail timetable, and this include a proposal to remove the rail link between Hertford and Stevenage , which would have a substantial adverse effect on Bengeo and beyond.”

Give Us Feedback. Get Involved.

We’d like to find out more from the community about how residents and businesses would like to shape the future for Bengeo.

If you’d like to take part and provide us with some initial feedback on development in Bengeo, please fill out or SurveyMonkey form using the link below.

Click here to fill out our feedback form

If you’d like to get actively involved in the Neighbourhood Plan, please tell us more about yourself and how you like to help.

Click here to fill out our volunteers form

Residents Turn Out For Meeting

120 residents and representatives of businesses and organisations attended the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (BNAP) meeting on 24th June. The meeting focused on three main themes:

  • Communication: informing the local community about what Neighbourhood Plans are, their benefits and how they are created.
  • Consultation: the fundamental basis of the plan is that it reflects community concerns, ideas and aspirations – the “vision”. Much of the meeting consisted of a discussion forum in which the audience was asked to raise and discuss anything they thought relevant.
  • Contribution: the plan can only be successful if members of the community are prepared to contribute time to it – a good pool of volunteers is vital.

Mark Lynch, the Chairman of interim BNAP Steering Group introduced the three themes and explained that the aim of Neighbourhood Plans is to shape the vision of the area. It is proposed that BNAP will cover the entire Hertford Bengeo Ward, which is very diverse – in addition to the main residential areas on either side of Port Hill and Bengeo St, it includes St Andrew Street, the north side of North Road, Hartham, Folly Island, Great Molewood and rural areas along B158.

Continue reading “Residents Turn Out For Meeting”

Neighbourhood Plan Meeting at Primary School

The first Bengeo NAP community meeting takes plave at Bengeo Primary School this Saturday 24th June 2017 at 4pm. We will be joined by local MP Mark Prisk, Cllr Sue Dunkley (The Mayor), Cllr Steve Cousins  and Cllr Andrew Stevenson.

The community is invited to join the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan Steering Group, which is endorsed by local Residents’ Associations, to participate in creating a neighbourhood area plan for Bengeo.

Attend this first community meeting to find out how Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan can influence where you live and work, and to have your say on:

  • future residential development
  • countryside and open spaces
  • roads, cycleways, and parking
  • shops, community centres, health provision
  • heritage and culture
  • anything else you think is important.

This is an important, long-term community project that will shape the future of Bengeo and local knowledge and expertise provided by the local community will be critical to its success.

Residents, businesses and local organisations – please come along to the meeting to share your views and find out how you can get involved