Meeting of Baldock Councillors at St Mary’s School, Monday 22nd Sept 2014, 7.30pm

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This meeting was called to discuss recent information regarding the proposed 10,500 houses in Hertfordshire.

Councillors attending were:
Michael Weeks, John Harris, Michael Muir, Jim McNally, Andrew Young

Michael Weeks introduced the meeting.

Jim McNally – it was inevitable that there will be some development in Baldock; he was not against all the houses.

Andrew Young – explained the process from now on

Originally 10,500 houses were needed out of 30,000 potential sites for houses.
This has since been reduced to less than 20,000 sites for the 10,500 houses

The distribution of the 10,500 houses (up to 2031) were given as potentially
45% to Baldock (4725 houses) (current size – 9900 people)
Assuming 2 people per house, 4725 new houses will more than double the size of Baldock to 20,000 people.
John Harris – John gave the timetable for the housing plan as follows

27th November 2014 – Draft Local Plan goes to the North Herts District Meeting, currently scheduled to be held at Letchworth Offices, Gernon Road, 7.30pm
The Public (Residents, Voters & Tax Payers) are allowed to attend this meeting
Any petitions need to be with the council by 12th November

5th December – Consultation Period starts, until 30th January (open to the public for comments)

30th January 2015 – Consultation Period ends 

End May / Early June – Results of Plan made public

Subsequent Open Forum:

Possible Ways to object:
Public pressure through letters and emails, posters, getting the media involved
It was mentioned that we could raise points with the Inspector, after the plan was published.
The ‘Inspector’ is unknown at the moment and will be appointed as the plan is published.
We will publish these details when available

Questions were asked about the infrastructure – Hertfordshire County Council is responsible for upgrading the infrastructure.

Any petitions signed by more than 120 signatures entitle the instigator of the petition to speak for 3 minutes at the planning meeting in November, providing they have given two weeks’ notice.

What to do next was discussed in open forum:
1. Set up an Action Group

2. Write / lobby (with objections, etc,) to everyone where possible.  MPs, NHDC, HCC, Demonstrate there is a large public feeling against the houses.  Try to raise something new.  Paper letters best because they can’t be missed, emails in addition because it is easy to send the same email to lots of people at once.  Try to raise something new.  Need to demonstrate there is a large public feeling against the large number of houses for Baldock.  45% increase in houses is unfair and disproportionate.
Pinch Points and Green Belt were concerns raised by the audience.

3. Contact Newspapers, etc, with letters and regular articles.  Keep a high profile with the Baldock houses situation. The councillors said there were very few letters to the Comet & Mercury, which was disputed by one of the audience. The councillors said write letters because there weren’t many from Baldock residents.  Some of the audience thought they weren’t effective

4. Raise points to the Inspector (who will be appointed after the plan is published).

The councillors pointed out that roads, sewage systems and schools were part of the infrastructure maintained by the HCC (Herts County Council).
Other local concerns were part of the portfolio of the NHDC (North Herts District Council)

Contact names and addresses –
A list of email addresses was provided.  The names & roles of each person were given verbally during the meeting. We were advised to –

Write to…
Chief exec of NHDC Council – david.scholes@north-herts.gov.uk
Leader of NHDC Council – lynda.needham@north-herts.gov.uk
Planning Committee Portfolio Holder – david@dlevett.co.uk
County Development Officer – derrick.ashley@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Senior Planning Officer – richard.kelly@north-herts.gov.uk
Chief Executive and Director of Environment at Hertfordshire County Council – john.wood@hertfordshire.gov.uk

And copy (cc) to…
oliver.heald.mp@parliament.uk    – MP keen to hear views of Baldock residents
mikay.weeks@virginmedia.com   – Michael Weeks
ayoungd7@gmail.com –  Andrew Young
john.harris@north-herts.gov.uk   – John Harris
jim.mcnally@north-herts.gov.uk   – Jim McNally
michael.muir@hertfordshire.gov.uk  – Michael Muir

Newspapers:
The Comet  –  news@thecomet.net
Mid-Week Mercury – mercury@hertsessexnews.co.uk

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There is also a list of the councillors and their contact details on the SRB ‘Council Info’ page (including postal addresses to send written letters of objection, which was encouraged)
– http://www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk/?page_id=17

The main thrust of the meeting seemed to be:
– If we don’t do anything we will get swamped
– Utilise Save Rural Baldock as an effective action group (www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk and the Facebook page)
– Write/lobby (with objections, etc ) everyone where possible –
MPs, NHDC, HCC, newspapers, etc copying in the ‘copy list’ people above.
– Try to raise something new
– Demonstrate there is a large public feeling against the additional 4725 houses

4 Responses to Meeting of Baldock Councillors at St Mary’s School, Monday 22nd Sept 2014, 7.30pm

  1. Paul Davis says:

    Hi Alan …. if you can deliver the flyer (Baldock development flyer Sept. 2014) to Barley Rise and/or any other roads that would be great. So far Eisenberg Close and Rye Gardens have received them, someone is going to deliver in Bush Spring and I believe Alison is covering Larkins Close. To avoid doubling up in any of the streets, could you put on a note on : http://www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk/?page_id=433 to let everyone know which roads you have/are intending to cover. We will be out again just as soon as the new printer inks arrive!

  2. Alan Gordon says:

    Great. I’ve emailed all these addresses. Next stop is the Prime Minister. Then I’m going to follow it up with actual paper letters (as they are harder to ignore/delete).

    I could drop leaflets around Barley Rise or a couple of the other Clothall Common closes this weekend, if that made sense?

  3. Michelle Godfrey says:

    I am opposed this plan and think its do injust for Baldock.I am willing to help in any way.

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