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 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.

Draft Plan submitted

Today, Hertford Town Council submitted the updated Neighbourhood Plan (Submission Draft – Regulation 15) to EHDC. The Consultation Statement and Basic Conditions Statement were also submitted.

The Plan will now go through an EHDC consultation (Regulation 16) followed by an independent examination. Final revisions to the Plan may be required before a public referendum.

Separately, consultation responses are being submitted on the the County Council’s Rail Strategy, the District Council’s Affordable Homes consultations and the County Council’s Sustainable Travel Town programme. We have also met with a HCC Rights of Way officials to discuss local foot and cycle paths, and are meeting EHDC officials to discuss our proposal for a community garden.

Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan Submission Draft (Regulation 15)

Consultation Statement

Basic Conditions Statement

Draft SEASR Now Available

The draft Strategic Environment Assessment Screening Report is now available.

The introduction states: “This report sets out a draft Screening Determination for the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (referred to as the Neighbourhood Plan) and has been prepared for Bengeo Community Steering Group and Hertford Town Council (HTC) by Govresources Ltd. It is based on the Pre-submission version of the Neighbourhood Plan.

“The Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared for Hertford Town Council as the accountable body. The Neighbourhood Plan Area was designated on 27th June 2017 for the Hertford Bengeo Ward. It will help inform planning decisions to 2033.

“The purpose of the screening report is to determine whether the Neighbourhood Plan is likely to have any significant environment effects and so require a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). ”

» View Report (PDF)

Final Pre-submission Draft Now Available

The final pre-submission draft of the Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan is now available following approval by the town council’s Development and Leisure Committee at their last meeting on 6th June 2019.

Cllr. Sally Newton and Cllr. Peter Ruffles, from the Hertford Town Council’s  BNAP Working Party, kindly attended the meeting and commended the Plan to the committee, and Joseph Whelan, the Town Clerk, praised the community’s efforts in producing it.

There will be a public consultation from 15th July to 15th September 2019, with 2 drop-in events on the evening of 14th August and the morning of 7th September.

The summary document is being delivered to every household and business in the ward.

» Neighbourhood Plan (summary)
» Neighbourhood Plan (full)

Transport Working Group – Update

Travelling around some areas in Bengeo can be frustrating, particularly recently.  Certain times of day and specific areas have issues that members of the Transport Working Group are keen to address.

Our work is based on the objectives previously agreed as priorities by the working group following the survey and first exhibition.  We hope to encourage developments that will improve air quality locally and improve the health and wellbeing of local people.

A414 dual carriageway between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City

We will be looking at ideas from  A414 Corridor Strategy currently out for consultation and any Sustainable Travel Town Plans that might be adopted.

We are developing policies around the future impact of new developments in the ward on traffic.  We are keen to encourage walking, cycling and green travel plans.  We plan to consider parking issues both for residents and related to use of Hertford North Station.

Hertford North Station

We are preparing draft policies and project plans for consultation at the 2nd exhibition in March.

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