Baldock Residents Discuss Local Plan – 9th January, Baldock Community Centre

About a hundred and fifty people filled the hall of the Baldock Community Centre to hear Cllr David Levett explain the Housing Preferred Options Plan.  The meeting was chaired by Cllr Andrew Young and Cllrs McNally, Weeks and Harris attended.  Cllr Michael Muir appeared briefly with Sir Oliver Heald who had been holding one of his “surgeries” in the Community Centre, before departing to a prior engagement at Knights Templar School.  Oliver Heald spoke to those present to say he was opposed to the overdevelopment of Baldock by building here 33% of the houses demanded by HCC for the whole of North Herts through to 2031 but that the Council had a very hard job ahead of them and that the residents would have to help them in the task of finalising the plans.  This was to be done by making objections clear to the inspector, citing valid reasons  for objections and making useful suggestions where possible by completing and returning their Consultation Forms.

David Levett answered a variety of questions from the floor including points about the numbers of houses required, the need for such an inequitable dispersion of houses around the county, the snarling up of the Royston Road and North Road which Cllr Levett acknowledged as inevitable if this plan goes ahead, and the provision of “affordable housing” if anyone could decide quite what that should be.  Not everyone was convinced that the Councillors had the answers and the questions continued to flow.  Many questions remained unanswered.

The evening was rounded off by the giving-out of Consultation Forms by the Councillors and help sheets prepared by Save Rural Baldock explaining how to fill in the form.  It is now up to each and every one living in Baldock to complete their form with their considered views and to return it to the Council Offices by 5pm on Friday 6th Feb (or 5th if delivering it to the library).

We hope to deliver one of each form to every house in Baldock over the next couple of weeks to encourage people to take part in the consultation.  We have arranged another meeting on 31st January and are in process of arranging a march.

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Please click here to download our guide on filling in the consultation form.


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Please click here to download the consultation form


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2 Responses to Baldock Residents Discuss Local Plan – 9th January, Baldock Community Centre

  1. Christine says:

    Hey look! Did you get a leaflet about the proposal to build or enlarge a waste facility near Cottered? It will increase traffic on A507 with HGVs taking waste from Baldock Letchworth and Hitchin and who knows where else? We don’t need MORE TRAFFIC on this already congested road!

    Look it up on https://cloud1.atriumsoft.com/HccePlanningOPS/FullDetails.do?aplId=23590
    Or HCC website though I had no luck with this!

    Just write to Mr Leech at spatialplanning@hertfordshire.gov.uk to object by JAN 23rd

    NOT MUCH TIME!

  2. Christine says:

    I thought the meeting on Friday was quite good. It showed
    a lot of feelings running high but not out of control. A lot of good questions
    were fired at principally David Levett and he couldn’t answer them all. In fact
    he deflected a lot by waffling and going off the point. But to be fair to him
    he did admit he didn’t know several times. I just don’t understand how he can
    think that is satisfactory and I want to know WHO IS GOING TO PUT A GOOD PLAN
    IN PLACE AND WHEN, to replace this legless one we have.
    Here are the questions I wanted to put to DL:

    • Suggestions have been made that Odsey would be a perfect spot for a
    new settlement, a New Garden City. Are the planners looking at this possibility
    again and if not why not? We know it would mean cooperation with Cambridgeshire
    but why are we not pushing them for this? After all HCC has shown itself willing
    to indulge neighbouring counties itself – Luton and Stevenage? And if
    Cambridgeshire do not want to cooperate then why are we not going for our part
    of Odsey on our own?
    This suggestion was immediately put down by David Levett
    and Andrew Young who said that we didn’t "own" very much of Odsey
    and we couldn’t do it. I was surprised since I had been told recently by another
    councillor that this could work. I was also told at the March yesterday that
    there is a farmer in Odsey who wants to sell for housing but Cambridgeshire
    won’t let him. Can anyone find out the truth behind this?
    We had good discussion about the traffic situation surrounding
    the new housing especially if the large Blackhorse Farm development went ahead.
    Whether or not they actually build a new "northern" bypass to exit
    traffic from the new estate to the north the traffic lights at Whitehorse Street
    will be worse than a nightmare. Back in the middle ages when the crossing of
    these two main roads was formalised, huge traffic volumes and immense oversized
    lorries were not even imagined.
    I wanted to ask:

    • It has been said that the Council has not carried out an appropriate
    traffic survey covering North Road? Why is this when North Road is the most
    likely to be adversely affected, even gridlocked, by the proposed new development
    at Blackhorse Farm with knock-on effects for Royston Road and the town centre?
    How long were the Council expecting to get away with this? Surely this means
    the plan is not deliverable?
    But I’d already wasted my time trying to expose David
    Levett’s LACK of ideas (though he professed to several) and our chairman refused
    to let me speak again until the very end. He had no useful ones he cared to
    share, by the way.
    So here are some more of my proposed questions which
    went unanswered, unasked. I should be interested to see whether anyone will
    answer them here or do some research on them as truly I still want the answers.

    • It must be tempting for the Council to build so many houses on the
    Green Belt north of Baldock, it would solve so many of their problems. However,
    it will generate others. So I’d like to know whether the council have
    exhausted all options to find other land to build on?
    Clearly not if the Odsey tale is true? Are landowners being canvassed
    in a positive manner to sell land for housing where Green Belt may not be an
    issue?

    • In the light of the news today in the Times concerning the funding of
    housing zones on brownfield sites which will, in the words of Brandon Lewis,
    “have the chance to build homes for local communities while continuing
    to protect the green belt” are our council now committed to using ALL
    brown field sites in North Herts before redesignating Green Belt so that it
    may be used for development? If not, why not?

    • We are told that the numbers of houses required in the county will probably
    be revised upwards very shortly. How will this affect the Plan and the process
    that is being followed? And yet many people are saying
    the numbers are already much higher than needed

    • How are the Council expecting Baldock Railway station to cope with the
    huge increase of commuters we might expect from such a large population “explosion”
    of 83%? No matter that we are told a bridge will be built over the railway at
    the Royston end of the development people will be coming to Baldock station
    to catch their trains. And at the march I was told that
    in 2018 ALL trains will be 12 carriage trains so where does this leave Baldock
    station which, we are told, cannot be extended and upgraded and certainly has
    no provision for users of wheelchairs or buggies.
    – Where will the water for the 3,591 new properties be taken from? I understand
    that Baldock and Letchworth get water from the aquifer near Weston. I don’t
    know about Hitchin but that would add to the problem. That aquifer also supplies
    water to the River Ivel and the Ivel Nature Reserve. This water has already
    dried up three times in the last few years endangering the reserve in terms
    of both wildlife and environment and therefore is critical. Have the council
    considered water sourcing in their viability studies?
    So dear friends I have enjoyed writing to share my unanswered questions. What
    are yours? I should love to see some answers.
    And do you know what? I’m going to get down to deluging the planners and councillors
    with these questions and more. Why should they get away with this lazy half-cooked
    plan? What worries me most is
    IS ANYONE TRYING TO WRITE A BETTER ONE?

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