Consultation for North Herts housing options 2013 – Objections

We have put together an example of objections and discussion re the new larger development around Baldock.  You can use all or some of it in your letter.  The deadline for this to be submitted to NHDC is Friday, 2nd August.  We have also made the feedback form as a downloadable PDF.  Please use it as every objection counts, even if you submitted objections to the original proposal of 419 houses this has to be done again.

Comments are very welcome on the website.

Downloadable feedback form (This is from NHDC)

Word Document version of letter (This is the same as below)

 

 

NAME –

ADDRESS –

 

 

EMAIL –

 

DATE –

Housing Options 2013

 

North Hertfordshire District Council

PO BOX 480

M33 ODE

 

 

 

 

RE – Consultation for North Herts housing options 2013

 

Dear Sir/ Madam

I object to the housing options in Baldock on sites B/r23, 1a, 11a , and 2a for reasons already submitted and also for the following reasons laid out below in relation to the options for sites 200-201 in Baldock .

 

I object to the housing options in BALDOCK – sites 200-201 for 3,500 dwellings for the following reasons –

 

A – NORTH ROAD TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN USE OF FOOTPATH –

How will North Road cope with the increased level of traffic – 3,500 homes (approx 2+ cars per home) has an impact of potentially 7,000 more cars in just this part of town. The railway bridge and traffic lights at the junction (North Rd – Royston Rd) is already a dangerous bottleneck for vehicles. In rush hour times North Rd has static traffic jams that lead out of sight and beyond, creating pollution. The footpath used under the bridge by pedestrians is inadequate (the highways agency have assessed the possibility of safety barriers for pedestrians under the bridge and deemed it ‘too narrow for safety barriers’). Pedestrians cannot pass safely under the bridge. Wheelchairs, prams and pushers come too perilously close to the curb edge when using the footpath. Lorry wing mirrors are a constant hazard as they over hang the pathway. These dangerous problems will only be exaggerated with the added footfall from the extra homes built to the North side of the railway bridge.

 

B – RAILWAY BRIDGE – 

In 2011/12 alone there were 8 ‘Bridge strikes’ by high vehicles hitting the LOW Railway bridge on North Rd – this causes further delays and hold ups as the bridge has to be assessed for safety. There have been sensors now fitted to the bridge for bridge strikes (as they are so common). If these 3,500 homes are adopted on Arable Greenbelt land – then the railway bridge would have to be rebuilt to accommodate all the safety and traffic congestion concerns raised above.

 

Ci – OTHER INFLUENCES ON THE TRAFFIC IN NORTH ROAD BALDOCK – 

Requests for a ‘no left turn for lorries’ at the junction of (A507 North Rd and Royston Rd) have been refused by the highways agency. Sat Nav manufacturers have been lobbied to update and guide vehicles away from this side of the town and keep them on the A1 to junction 9 – so they filter onto the bypass. This too has been met with no success. Further reasons why enlarging this area would put immense strain on the road network around The North East of Baldock.

 

Cii – ROAD CONGESTION – A KNOCK ON EFFECT – (Local)

If the proposed development site at Claybush Hill (between Bygrave and Ashwell) is adopted – this in turn will add even further to the number of vehicles using the dangerous, blind junction of Bygrave Road and North Road to access the Town and beyond. Salisbury Road would in turn become a natural ‘rat run’ for vehicles in both directions – Salisbury Road is neither wide enough nor clear enough from parked vehicles for this to be a safe viable option. Residence safety will be compromised.

 

D – A WIDER EFFECT – (North Herts)

If the all of the proposed sites in Baldock were adopted (4,000+ homes) how would the town (as a whole) cope with an estimated 8,000+ extra cars?

How will the A1 cope with the increased traffic of tens of thousands more vehicles from Baldock, Letchworth, Hitichin, Stevenage, Knebworth etc.

At peak times the A1 is already heavily congested. What is the solution to this inevitable problem?

How will the Lister Hospital cope with such a huge influx of new residents to the region?

 

 

E – UTILITIES – 

How will the utilities handle such a massive development? How will the sewage and water supply be affected?

All the existing roads and pavements will need to be dug up to lay new pipework and drains etc.

The pumping station/sewage works near Ivel Springs will need to be developed and enlarged.

 

F i– HISTORY & NATURE – 

Directly opposite the proposed sites in North Road is Ivel Springs nature reserve here described by the NHDC –

 

QUOTE –   Ivel Springs Local Nature Reserve is a 15 hectare (37 acre) open space just north of Baldock.

The site has a history stretching back more than five thousand years and a rich diversity of wildlife.

 

This will be under threat by a constant stream of static vehicles having a detrimental impact of pollution and noise.

 

Fii – ARCHAEOLOGY – 

As well as the Ivel Springs there is a site in and around there with scheduled ancient monument status – this again is located next too and will be impacted by any further developments and increase in traffic.

There is a wealth of archaeology in and around the whole town, none more than The North side of Historic Baldock  –

Regarding the 200-201 areas –  these proposed sites fall in or close to, defined areas of Archaeological Significance and are covered by the relevant Local Plan Policy.   When Salisbury Road was built records show, there were considerable amounts of Roman pottery, indicating a substantial settlement.

Information from the North Herts Archaeological Society 

In their opinion ‘The whole proposed site has significant archaeological potential and should be evaluated fully in the field prior to any decisions being made.’      The National Planning Policy Framework also applies.

 

G – DOCTORS SURGERY

How will our doctor’s surgeries cope with such a huge influx of residents?

With the closure of our local Police station and the announcement of a Police presence in the community centre, how will the inevitable demand on the already overstretched Police force be met with the increase in urbanization?

How will the Lister Hospital cope (when all the minimum 10,700 homes – and now more we are told – are built?)

 

H – EDUCATION – 

The planners have indicated that there maybe up to two further junior schools – One In the North East – ‘Bygrave side’ and the other South East – ‘Clothall side’, to accommodate all the extra children in the proposed housing. Currently there are no plans for the senior school of Knights Templar. Baldock prides itself in its extremely high standards of education, Knights Templar school is already over subscribed (without any of the new homes being built). How do the planners resolve such a dilemma? I feel that there will be only one outcome, a drop in standards of education that we are all so very proud of in this town.

 

I – RAILWAY –

Our railway station is small and the parking is (and will continue to be) a problem should the proposed developments around the town happen.

The car park is grossly inadequate already and with the recent development on land next to the car park in Station Rd, has no further chance of being expanded on that site. This was an extremely short sighted view by the planners who approved that development – as the plans for this current development proposal was well underway by then. The new commuters would then flood the streets in and around the station area creating a problem; this will then expand out as a ‘ripple effect’ further into the Town centre – resulting in charges being introduced to counter this. That will in turn impact our already failing high street.

 

 

J – FARMLAND – 

The land suggested in 200-201 areas is all working arable farmland in the Greenbelt. These are worked on by tenant farmers and have been heavily invested in with time and money; these farms are now at risk from this development. It is completely unacceptable that these people’s livelihoods should be so undervalued. With the ever-growing population in this country, British Farmers will become evermore important and relied upon.

 

K – GREENBELT 

Here is the definition of Greenbelt as stated by The Collins English Dictionary –

‘A zone of farmland, parks, and open country surrounding a town or city: 

usually officially designated as such and preserved from urban development’

Why is greenbelt land being considered for such a development?

As the definition above states – ‘PRESERVED FROM URBAN DEVELOPMENT’ This is a huge mistake to consider this area. ALL possible brownfield sites must be considered first and should there not be enough to satisfy the numbers then other alternatives should be considered – NOT GREENBELT.

 

L – NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK

With regard to several of the points discussed above I do not consider that the proposed siting of 3,500 new dwellings in this location are in line with the NPPF  Commitments.  These state that sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Removing farmland to support a housing development seems to be contrary to NPPF statements and out of step with supporting a prosperous rural economy since the development seems to be for the benefit of commuters rather than rural workers.

 

Local planning authorities should set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively and proactively encourages economic growth.  However these proposals are for dwellings to meet the numerical needs for North Herts and are unrelated to the needs of Baldock in terms of business and economy.  There is no local business to support the employment of the additional houses and therefore car travel on congested surrounded roads would seem to be the only option.  Looking at the industrial areas around Baldock and Letchworth alone, it is shocking how many units and factories are empty.  Where are all the jobs for so many new residents unless they are to commute?

 

The NPPF says planning should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate.  The proposed sites do not support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion as there is no suitable public transport.  Walking and cycling are to be encouraged but the town’s amenities are not within easy reach by these means due to dangerous congested roads and it assumes a certain level of physical capability.

 

Planning should take account of the different roles and character of different areas, promoting the vitality of our main urban areas, protecting the Green Belts around them, recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it.   I do not consider that enough consideration has been given to the  value of the Green Belt countryside which is threatened by these proposals, the richness of its wildlife, the recreational and revivifying use made of it by the community.

 

M – COST

Aside from the infrastructure required to provide water, gas, electricity, sewerage etc for this proposed development there will also be a need for all amenities to be provided – schools primary and secondary, doctors surgeries, health clinics, community services and centres, policing, recreational provision and MAIN   ROADS into and out of the development to allow access to the town and the jobs beyond it whether by road or rail.  These amenities would be a major extra cost to the existing community and many would not be provided until the need had been demonstrated i.e. until problems/ demands have arisen over provision of medical/ educational needs etc to the whole of the enlarged Baldock.

Access from the north would necessitate the equivalent of a bypass road, crossing the railway and joining the current bypass and A505 and A507 I suggest that the present rail bridge will not be sufficient.

 

Finally – Remember that arable greenbelt is sacred and once it has been levelled with tarmac and concrete, it can NEVER be undone.

I feel that Baldock has had its fair share of development over recent years and I cannot see any positive points that such a proposed new development would have on this Quintessential Historic Market Town.

Please consider my view as a resident and someone who will be directly impacted by these proposals.

 

Yours Faithfully,

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3 Responses to Consultation for North Herts housing options 2013 – Objections

  1. Martin Impey says:

    Just to let everyone know, I have put a poster up in the Community Centre and The Library. There are copies of the letter we have dropped through doors around Baldock. These are versions of the above and only require the name, address and signature adding. There are also instructions on where to drop them off should you want them delivered by hand on Friday at NHDC offices.
    Thanks to everyone who volunteered to print and deliver! We also apologize to anyone who did not receive a letter through your door (it wasn’t for the want of trying’). Please do reply to this matter it is so very important to every single person in a beautiful historic market town.

  2. Ross Lawley says:

    You can even make representations online and it only takes a few minutes:

    http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/dpdataonline/webpages/aconetcgi.gov

  3. Luke Callan says:

    Have also made reference to the National Planning Policy Framework in my response. Have included it below. Please feel free to include in your own responses. Unsure what impact it will have on the proposal, but fingers crossed.

    National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Committments
    We believe the current proposed sites are failing to meet the requirements as set out under the NPPF 2012.
    I would challenge how NHDC believes the current proposal would support low carbon when there is no local business to support the employment of the additional houses and therefore car travel on congested surrounded roads would seem to be the only option. The proposed sites do not support reductions greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion due to lack of public transport options. The only feasible public transport option is the railway station which unfortunately now has limited car parking and is already overcrowded even after introduction of 12 car services by FCC.
    The Framework states that allocations of land for development should prefer land of lesser environmental value with the proposed sites’ current arable use and archaeological potential. I would challenge whether NHDC has fulfilled its undertaking in this respect especially when no brownfield sites seem to be selected in this proposal
    I note the NPPF supports the development and diversification of agriculture for a prosperous rural economy. Removing farmland to support a housing development seems to be contrary to NPPF statements and out of step with supporting a prosperous rural economy since the development seems to be for the benefit of commuters rather than rural workers.
    Would support assigning Bygrave Common Local Green Space status due to the public bridleway and the ability to appreciate its tranquility and richness in wildlife while using the bridleway. I am surprised that the current landowner, Hertfordshire County Council, did not take this into account when notifying NHDC of its availability

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