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

Reponse to North Road planning application

We have submitted a planning response to East Herts District Council in response to a planning application to alter access to land at 190/192 North Road.

The land falls within the boundary of the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan. The Examiner’s report on the Plan was published on the 11 December 2020. Subject to final approval from East Herts District Council, the Plan will be put forward for public referendum, scheduled for the 6 May.

It’s noted that the proposed access alteration would require the regrettable removal of trees, close to the junction with North Road. It’s understood that the Scots Pine, on the access land, is dead so may need to be removed, regardless of the outcome of this application. Additional tree removal, associated with this planning application, would have a negative visual impact on the tree-line along that section of North Road and could set an unfortunate precedent for further tree removal in this Green Belt location.

Criterion III in Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBN3: Nature Conservation says: ‘where development results in the unavoidable loss of trees, replacement of trees, in suitable locations, will be encouraged’.

Response to 11 Port Hill plans

Photo of 11 Port Hill, Hertford

A planning application has been submitted for 11 Port Hill.

The proposal is described as: “Removal of detached garage. Proposed single storey side extension. New 1.8 metre high boundary wall with timber gate. New 1 metre – 2 metre high wall to replace fence. Widening of vehicle crossover and creation of one additional off street car parking space.

We have submitted a response to the consultation for this application. We have no particular concerns about the proposals, other than the loss of trees. The electric car charging point is welcomed.

Read our full response here

Proposals for 13 Port Hill

A planning application has been submitted for a site behind 13 Port Vale.

The proposal is described as: “Demolition of existing structures; change of use to residential (C3); erection of two one bedroom dwellings and one three bedroom dwelling; and creation of 4 parking spaces“.

Photo of access to Austin's funeralcare depot behind 13 Port Vale

We have a number of concerns about this planning application, which are detailed in our response to the District Council. These include a lack of detail in the application documents, siting of bins, parking and site layout.

Red our full response here

Response to Sacombe Road planning variance

We have submitted a response to an application to vary the approved plan for the construction of 8 homes in Sacombe Road.

The proposal is: “Variation of conditions 2 (approved plans), 9 (Landscaping), 10 (Fencing and hedges) and 12 (external materials) of planning permission: 3/18/0572/FUL (Construction of 8 sustainable homes on land previously used as storage depot and associated vehicle / machinery workshops) – Provision of gables, bay windows and timber framed porches. Internal layouts amended.”

The response of the Bengeo Area Neighbourhood Plan is:

  1. The land above is within the Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan Area. The draft Plan is currently at the  Examination stage. 
  2. On the 6 October 2020, a response to application 3/20/1809/NMA was submitted to  East Herts District Council by the Neighbourhood Plan Chair. 
  3. The applicant’s request for a variation to Conditions 2, 9,10 and 12 of planning permission  3/18/0572/FUL is noted and we await the planning department’s decision. 

Response to Revised Tree Nursery Plans

Photo of tree nursery
Tree Heritage nursery in North Road

Revised plans for the tree nursery in North Road were recently submitted to East Herts District Council.

It is noted that this application has revised the volume of dwellings down from 6 to 5, and that they are now all single storey. It’s also noted that the cumulative volume, and the gross external floor area, is marginally less than that of the existing commercial buildings, though two of the proposed buildings would be closer to  North Road than the existing buildings.

Despite the reduced ridge height of the proposed dwellings to the rear of the site, the negative impact on the  openness of the Green Belt, particularly when viewed from Waterford Marsh, remains a significant concern.

The Neighbourhood Plan supports the appropriate development of Brownfield land over encroachment on the Green Belt. Residential development on this site, particularly given its proximity to Waterford Marsh,  described in Hertfordshire County Council’s ‘Local Character Assessment’ as ‘one of the best examples of wetlands in Central Hertfordshire’, would set an unwelcome precedent of such encroachment.

Response to office conversion plans in St.Andrew Street

Photo of 46-48 St.Andrew Street

A planning application has been submitted to convert offices at 46-48 St.Andrew Street to residential flats.

The property falls within the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan boundary. The Regulation 16 consultation on the draft Plan closed on the 10 September and the Plan is currently at the Examination stage.

It’s understood that the commercial space within this building has been vacant for some time. Whilst the loss of commercial space is regrettable, it isn’t beneficial for buildings within the Plan Area to remain unoccupied for lengthy periods, therefore, it’s preferable for the building to be converted for residential use.

The submitted plans suggest that studio space (possibly a legacy from when the building was occupied as an art gallery?) is being retained. If this is the case, we would encourage its use as a community space.

The submitted plans indicate that there are 6 parking spaces to the rear of the building. It’s unclear whether designated vehicle parking spaces will be allocated to residents of the flats. It’s important that no additional on-road parking burden is placed on local roads. It’s strongly recommended as per criterion I c) of Neighbourhood Plan Policy HBH3: Landscape Design, that sufficient, secure, covered, cycle parking is provided for occupants of the flats, to encourage active travel.

Land Adjoining Sacombe Road

A planning application has been submitted for land adjoining Sacombe Road, to vary plans that were approved in February 2019.

“3/20/1809/NMA | A non-material amendment to planning permission ref: 3/18/0572/FUL – Variations to approved house types to reflect alternative method of construction. | Land Adjoining Sacombe Road Waterford Hertford Herts”

We have submitted the following response:

  1. The land above is within the Bengeo Neighbourhood Plan Area. The Regulation 16 consultation closed on  the 10 September and the draft Plan is currently at the examination stage. 
  2. Residents have expressed concern about the condition of this land and are keen for progress to be made in  it being developed for housing.  
  3. The proposed revisions, including the replacement of the two-bedroom dwellings with three-bedroom ones,  the use of different building materials, and the revised external designs, look to be materially different to  those approved under planning application 3/18/0572/FUL. 
  4. A Neighbourhood Plan response was not submitted to the March 2018 planning application (Ref:  3/18/0572/FUL) as the draft Neighbourhood Plan policies were not published until June 2019.

Hartham Leisure Centre Response

We have submitted a response to the planning application for the redevelopment of Hartham Leisure Centre.

We consider the revised external design of the proposed two-storey extension, with its curved roof on the south elevation and some lighter timber-effect cladding, to be an improvement on the 2019 designs.

We also welcome the proposals to refurbish the pool hall and wet and dry changing facilities (including accessible changing), and the plans to extend the pool spectator area.

With construction scheduled to commence in April 2021 (subject to planning consent), it’s essential that works are completed on time, with minimal interruption to the provision of community facilities.

Read our full response here