Hartham Leisure Centre is within the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan (BNAP) boundary. On the 15 October 2019, the BNAP Community Steering Group submitted a response to the initial Hartham Leisure Centre planning application (3/19/1882/FUL).
On the 8th January 2020 the Development Control Committee of East Herts District Council voted to defer a decision on the planning application to enable Officers to liaise with the applicant in respect of the visual impact and the sustainability of the proposed development.
Substantially revised plans have now been published and a public consultation launched.
We welcome the proposals outlined in this consultation to:
- integrate a ‘living wall’ on the south side of the building
- recycle masonry from the old building within the gabions and surrounding landscape
- aim to achieve an ‘excellent’ BREEAM sustainability accreditation
In our response to the original planning application, we expressed concern about the exterior design of the proposed extension, particularly its impact on the surrounding landscape. The inclusion of a ‘living wall’ in the revised design should go some way towards softening this impact and, as such, we consider it to be an improvement on the initial design. More, however, could be done to ensure the external appearance of the building sits well within its Green Belt setting, and alongside the proposed refurbished Hartham play area.
We look forward to the publication of the revised planning application and will submit a response to it.