Comments

Share your opinions and questions about the proposed development with others.

166 Responses to Comments

  1. Michael Warren says:

    Has the wildlife depending on the arable lands outside Baldock been researched and presented as part of the campaign? Visiting family last weekend, whose house backs immediately onto the land under threat, I discovered many pairs of skylarks establishing territory reading to breed, at least two pairs of corn buntings, and yellowhammers. These are red list birds, three of the many farmland species that are seriously under threat nationally, with major population crashes in recent decades.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      The land on the Royston road has been looked at, to my knowledge on bygrave road it hasn’t. We are very proud as farmers to wake up every morning to sky lark song, Also in the last 20 odd years we have doubled the number of grey partridge , and hares are increasing to!. Long may it continue

  2. Peter Foxworthy says:

    BRILLIANT! My hat off to all those brave souls who, along with Mick Balls and I, said “Sod the snow!” and got on with the protest march today. I saw people not really prepared for the conditions striding along, toddlers enjoying the exercise; not forgetting our councillors and of course, Sir Oliver Heald. Lots of banners, placards and posters. Credit to SRB for organising this event, the marshalls, Police and St. John Ambulance medics, in fact everyone who participated in this remarkable event despite atrocious weather conditions. Now this campaign is gaining some real impetous, let’s keep the pressure on!

  3. Peter Foxworthy says:

    OK, so our councillors have explained their reasons for abstaining, and I for one, accept those reasons (whilst being disgusted at the threats of censorship from the central “party”!). So let’s move forward. I’ve heard mutterings that, after the meeting on 31st January, there should be a march around Baldock; are we up for it? Letchworth did themselves proud on 10th January, we owe it to ourselves to take to the streets on 31st January and show that this mis-conceived plan is not acceptable!

  4. Peter Foxworthy says:

    Trevor Martin; I cannot believe your comment. Yes, of course we are gutted, having been assured by our councillors that they were 100% behind our cause, only to find when push came to shove, that they abstained!! Do you REALLY live in or around Baldock?

  5. Julian Richards says:

    Apart from Michael Muir, our Cllrs have now shown their true colours by wasting their vote and abstaining on the 27th Nov – we should now be pressing them to justify this decision and explain to us why they shouldn’t be resigning their posts…

    • Trevor Martin says:

      Julian

      Councillors represent all the residents’ views. How arrogant of you to suppose that yours is the only view and that anyone failing to represent your views should resign.

      • Julian Richards says:

        Actually Trevor, I am in favour of development – it’s essential for our future success – but it needs to be proportionate, sustainable and in the right place. The Council, as a whole, aren’t representing anyone’s views. They are just doing what they want to do – in the same fashion that they approached Churchgate in Hitchin. They are weak-willed individuals scared of challenging peers and obsessed with the money this could generate for them (HCC won’t be the sole beneficiary believe me!)…

        It is a councillor’s moral duty to represent the majority view of their residents – and, by abstaining, they failed in this obligation.

        So, while I understand the political game They have chosen to play, I don’t think it unreasonable that we question their tactics!

      • D L J Hughes farms says:

        The councillors that abstained, should remind them selves that the democratic system that chose them to represent us runs on ,OPINIONS!, ARGUMENT!,AND DESISSIONS!. Abstaining in any situation shows, weakness, indecision and inability to do the job .If your out numbered by the yes vote. Vote NO!, at least it shows your electorate some backbone and fighting spirit, what ever there opinion on development around Baldock is.I would imagine Churchill,LLoyd George and others look down and think “WHY DID WE BOTHER”

  6. Peter Foxworthy says:

    This follows my reading of p.36, ‘The Comet’, 4th December. How do we in Baldock set about coming under the jurisdiction of Central Beds Council? I ask because our NHDC seems hell bent on dumping an extra 3,500 – 4,000 homes onto Baldock, irrespective of the fact that it would destroy this historic little market town; however, Central Beds Council has REFUSED the building of a mere 93 homes on land behind Henlow High Street on the grounds that “it would harm the character and appearance of the area”. Their councillor Nigel Young proudly states, “I am extremely pleased with this outcome. This is a triumph FOR LOCAL PEOPLE AND FOR LOCALISM” (my caps). I do hope all those NHDC councillors who voted to proceed to the next stage in the desecration of our town read this and hang their heads in shame. Henlow’s case is a glowing example of a decent, caring Council and a councillor blessed with a real backbone!

  7. Alison Magee says:

    I wrote this in my frustration last Friday and sent it to the local paper. I’ve only just got round to posting it on SRB now…

    Last night (27 November) I attended my first full North Herts District Council meeting as an observer to hear the discussion about the public consultation on the Local Plan Preferred Options paper to meet the area’s housing needs until 2031.

    I heard arguments against the Draft Plan from local residents and local organisations. Strong, factual, balanced and deeply convincing views were expressed.

    I heard Councillors views. I watched a presentation by David Levett (Strategic Director of Planning, Housing and Enterprise Portfolio Holder) about the whys and wherefores of the Consultation Paper. The strength of feeling and the views of the residents (who appeared to be mainly from Letchworth and Baldock) was obvious.

    By his own admission, David Levett said the document was flawed. He said that brownfield sites had not been taken into consideration. He spoke of using Green Belt land around the towns (the lungs of our towns in my view) but putting it back in other rural areas of the District. So residents, please don’t worry, we may get hemmed in with concrete, but somewhere else in the District, the Green Belt land will be ‘repaid’ and the overall Green Belt figure for the District will increase. Isn’t it great what you can do with numbers?

    The proposals in the Options Paper tick the boxes for the District Council and the County Council on so many levels. I know we need to have a Local Plan. I know we need housing for our children and our children’s children. 35% (or is it 40%? The figures keep changing) of the proposed housing will be affordable. What exactly does that mean? Will our children be able to afford a mortgage or a partial mortgage as part of a shared ownership scheme? Many of them are currently unemployed or on a low income…

    One Councillor (David Levett again) commented that the number of interested parties who went along to the meeting was somewhere between 200-300; a tiny proportion of the 130,000 residents in the District who, by not attending, were presumably not bothered about the proposals.

    One of the strong arguments that Baldock residents put forward was the lack of parity between the proposed numbers of houses for Baldock compared to those for Letchworth and Hitchin. David Levett’s response to that was that Hitchin and Letchworth were once small towns like Baldock. Great answer David! You really have your finger on the pulse of local residents.

    Councillors wished to get this document out to the public to get their views and suggestions and to avoid local land owners and speculative developers coming in and blatantly ‘raping’ our area.

    The matter was debated at length and amendments were proposed and voted out.

    The final recorded vote was taken shortly before midnight; what we had all been waiting for. It was an overwhelming vote for the adoption of this paper for public consultation with a handful against and a couple of abstentions (what a waste of a vote). What disgusted me was that the Council voted for a document in the knowledge that (even by their own admission) was flawed.

    Our Councillors have the responsibility to put out to consultation the best document possible. By their own admission, last night they debated probably one of the most important issues in their time to date on the Council. In my humble opinion, I believe they have voted for a house built on stilts and I have no faith that they will make the right decision in this matter going forward for the residents of North Hertfordshire, their constituents.

    If they are happy to approve something that is so obviously flawed, what hope is there for us when it comes to putting forward the Submission Plan to government? Will it be acceptable to them then to submit a flawed Plan? It give me little faith that they will do the right thing.

    I’m not suggesting that we don’t have a Local Plan, I’m just asking why we can’t have something built on a firm footing, something that makes the most of all the permutations, with numbers that we feel are right for the growth of North Hertfordshire. This is the document which should be put out to public consultation. But sadly it will not be what we see.

    This is our future in the hands of this group of Councillors. God help us.

  8. Jenny says:

    Where are future generations going to live? Planners have not plucked the housing needs figures out of the air. They are based on robust and thorough evidence. We need more housing to meet this need. It’s not a matter of playing with the evidence to make the numbers smaller. Baldock will end up with an ageing population of people living in large housing, with no young people – your children and grandchildren – able to afford to live here.

    If planners can’t identify enough viable land for development that meets the objectively assessed housing need then the planning inspector will find the Local Plan unsound. We’ll end up with much larger and inappropriate housing development in the Green Belt going through on appeal. But no-one talks about that.

    I have a lovely view of fields from my bedroom window. This has been identified as land for development. I agree that some development would be inappropriate – such as high rise flats – but I trust the planners and the planning system to provide appropriate housing that fits with the local landscape. Section 106 money is then used to make sure there is enough schooling, doctors surgeries etc.

    This NIMBY behaviour is unacceptable. Everyone needs to take the need for more housing seriously, and not simply try to push it to another area.

    • Alan Gordon says:

      I left my 2 week old son at home in order to come to the council meeting on the 27th Nov. No one could be more affected by these plans than him. Choices and pressure on schools and services will affect him dramatically, and when he grows up what sort of town will Baldock be? A thriving historic market town or a dormitory suburb of London (by which point many people will have migrated back to the cheap empty housing in the northern half of England).

      At the meeting we had to listen to councillors, many of whom seemed to have made up their minds long before he meeting, referring to us as NIMBY’s as they try to stand up for a plan they themselves unanimously referred to as flawed and a bad starting point. Anyone who reads through the comments on the website will see that people are not opposed to development, nor even to large development if proper and lengthy consultation takes place. From the comments you will see the very many nitty-gritty and very real concerns that people have with the feasibility and impact of trying to double the size of Baldock in just 16 years. And of course singling out Baldock for massive expantion to deliver such a large proportion of the estimated housing need is disproportionate in the extreme.

      The fact that these plans have been cooked up behind closed doors with zero consultation so far does not bode well either. At the meeting we heard of a large scale development in Hitchin that after 14 years and £1 million of council tax payers money is finally being scrapped and replaced with something smaller – and yet a large scale development at Baldock is somehow to be the right and successful solution to North Hertfordshire’s housing need? Let’s be clear that NDHC has had years to develop the Local Plan and could have developed a 5 year land release plan to avoid the manufactured urgency of the vote at the meeting. As with the wasted £1 million, the shambles of our Local Plan that looks set to destroy my town is a direct result of the leadership of NDHC and they need to be voted out.

      I am not a NIMBY, I want development at Baldock, perhaps even an aerospace or software science park. If the housing need in North Hertfordshire is as great as suggested then the solution is to build a new Garden City, perhaps at perhaps at Odsey, or between Stevenage and Luton. Destroying Baldock will not fix the problem. Instead, my son will come of age in a town no one wants to live in and a local area with an even more acute housing need, and perhaps then, far too late, the right solution will be implemented.

    • Christine Watson says:

      What is a NIMBY? This is a “clever” little acronym which if we are not careful may be thrown around without any real thought as to a person’s reasons for thinking and acting as they do. I am not a NIMBY but someone who wants more careful consideration of this housing situation than appears currently to have been taken.

      We all agree there is a need for housing, it’s a matter of whether we need the quantities demanded where currently they are being proposed. It is a question of whether or not building 3,414 houses in Baldock is just an easy option which councillors from other parts of North Herts like because it lets their areas off the hook. I think it is. Clearly, as a plan, it was not applauded by ANYONE at the meeting on the 27th including the proposer, David Levett who unforgettably described it as the “best of a bad job”. So how can it be the right option to consult on?

      Public Consultation is a Catch 22 device – unless the proposed plan is put forward public consultation cannot take place, we have no say. But once the plan has been put forward IT IS THE PLAN AWAITING CONFIRMATION and our comments are sought but the clock is ticking. By then it is largely too late for our comments to be effective. That’s where we are right now because the Council has the fear of hostile development bearing down on it. What a stupid system. Wouldn’t it be better to get ideas and comments first? You’d think!

      I have lived in Baldock for about 40 years. I have watched it grow slowly at first then in leaps and bounds with the development of Clothall Common which greatly increased the population over the last 25-30 years. It is untrue to say Baldock is a small town because we have had little development, as Councillor Levett suggested.

      I would rather we didn’t have another huge rise over the next 15 years (80%up?) UNLESS THE NEED FOR SUCH A DEVELOPMENT IN SUCH A PLACE (grade 2 farmland) can be justified by REAL DEMONSTRABLE NEEDS. I remain unconvinced.

      I do NOT trust the council and planners to do the right thing without considering the fairness of this plan. As Bob Dunn from Baldock said at last Thursday’s meeting, if the same proportion of housing (as being proposed for Baldock) were given to Letchworth and Hitchin resulting in an extra 11,000 homes for each of them and 5,300 for Royston, would the councillors have approved it? Would the residents be in favour or up in arms as we are? Hitchin residents campaigned successfully for the removal of Priory Fields from the plan. Were they NIMBYs or concerned residents looking after their area?

      I have no personal axe to grind as my children have left school and moved away. I personally stand neither to gain nor lose much directly by this proposed development. But I can see that for the majority of Baldock residents this proposal will be a huge worry, a grinding inconvenience and could be a disaster – the school already takes children from other areas where there are insufficient secondary schools or they never materialised, the doctor’s surgery is full, the congestion is dreadful and unlikely to be improved because of our historic layout with A roads through the centre. The new development is likely to be another dormitory for commuters who will bring little if anything to our town. I am very worried about the probable effects on the local community.

      We are all entitled to our opinions and perhaps the Council and Inspectors will listen to all our comments and use their newly acquired wisdom of Solomon to provide us with an equitable plan they and and we can be proud of.

      These are my opinions. You have yours. But do not call me a NIMBY.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      Of course your argument hold water, we do need some more housing , more importantly affordable housing.one of my arguments concerns the planning for the original bypass, the planners wanted it across Weston hills, after weeks months and years or back and fourth statements .bore wholes dug all over our farm on Bygrave common , it was decided that the sub soil is so wet and insecure that it would be impossible to build a road on this route .Why then all of a sudden is it correct to smother it with housing?. Ask the homeowners in the west country whose new houses flooded last year weather they trust the planners.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      Why not push it to another area? your little utopian world doesn’t exist. WE don’t need just houses ,we need AFFORDABLE homes! If government were suggesting covering the area with social housing, you could see the benefits ,however not many young ordinary residents of Baldock will be able to afford these private homes. With inflation virtually at a standstill interest rates almost nothing, wages standing still, but homes inflating as they are . lets see where we are in say 2 years time!

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      I see at last the government has stated that new entrants will be helped to buy new starter homes, as far as I understand it young people will receive 20% of the money required. Why cant they just admit that homes are just far to exspensive,at least by 20%,personaly I think nearer 50%. for years a family home was roughly speaking 4 times average wage , this in my mind equates to,120ish thousand pounds, nothing will change economically until this parity is achieved again.problem being,if equity in homes drops by 20 -50 %. we are in very deep do do!The only thing we can all say governments and councils have kept cheep is talk. Everything else there up a couldersack of there own making.

  9. Julian Richards says:

    How do we force Needham and her cohorts to listen to us – do we hijack every council meeting they have from now on until they agree to engage properly with the LOCAL community (get the irony Mr Levett!)?

  10. Marina says:

    Just a few of points from tonight’s meeting…. Some a little on the lighthearted side, some really quite salient ( cllr Levett, that means important).

    I, and others I spoke to after, felt that the general attitude from NHDC, was not one you expect from public sector, elected councillors representing that electorate. More, weary teachers, speaking down to uncompliant children.

    The fact that certain councillors were actually quoted as saying, to vote no against the amendment would be a vote against democracy, rather takes the democracy out of the vote.

    We were actively discouraged to ask questions.

    Levett’s “and the rest of it” referred to the National Planning Policy Framework, which is the basis for all developments as dictated by the government. Sorry, that is, central government.

    When Mr Muir was reading the response Sir Oliver Heald received to his question in the House of Commons, Lynda, what’s-her-name, was seen to smirk and shake her head. Golly, must be all,those ministerial meetings she attends which are quite clearly superior to questions in the Commons.

    Madam Chair lady, doing a Betty Boothroyd impression and declaring that a councillor could speak, “at her discretion” undermined by the fact that she later said, “Mr Muir, or whoever it was that last spoke”…… Was she indeed, reading the Daily Mail on her iPhone when she should have been listening to one of those councillor people?

  11. Susan Shepherd says:

    Today’s Times newspaper has a very relevant piece http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/construction-property/article4276470.ece
    Brownfield sites are not being developed because it is more expensive, so we continue to deplete our countryside, while devaluing our built environment by leaving derelict sites.

  12. Doug Neath says:

    Down at Ivel Springs this morning. There is a signed petition attached to the gate leading from ther car park. Has anybody arranged to collect this and hand it in?

  13. Jane neal says:

    Peter, you are absolutely right, indeed it is a great concern that NHDC are accepting housing from Luton but as I have mentioned before this is not a legal obligation and North Herts are within their rights to object to these figures. However after several letters to Mr Levett, (who shows true NHDC colours and obviously knows this to be true but avoids any correspondence) and Mr Heald amongst others, nobody seems to want to answer the question but we wait while they find figures to legitimise their actions. We do need to find a way to expose this sham.

    • Paul Davis says:

      I note in the latest waffle from NHDC and others, any mention of the need to assist Luton and other areas has been dropped. Yet the house numbers have remained the same. I suspect any talk of assisting Luton and others in relieving their housing needs has been whitewashed out in the hope we may forget what their real intentions are. When do we appeal to Mr Pickles regarding the councils proposed illegal use of Green Belt land?

      Still no mention of increased medical facilities. What we have at the moment is at bursting point.

      Also a small point but where is the funding coming from to staff and run the new neighbourhood centre? Where are the teachers and staff coming from for the schools? There is already a shortage.The council seems very excited about the proposed increase in their property portfolio for free, but it all needs running. With 40% of the build marked for affordable housing, I don’t see the money coming from the increase of council tax receipts!

  14. Peter Foxworthy says:

    Following the advice in the most recent “Baldock Mail”, I sent an e-mail expressing my concerns to the list of addressees and those to ‘copy’; have so far had three replies, one from Michael Muir, one from Sir Oliver Heald, but the one which concerned me most was from Richard Kelly, Principal Strategic Planning Officer at NHDC. His reply included this: “The population evidence is based on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s household projections (which take into account births and deaths, changing household sizes and existing migration patterns). The evidence we hope to publish next week explains how these have been translated into the housing target in the draft plan, INCLUDING THE ALLOWANCE TO MEET NEEDS FROM LUTON WHICH THEY ARE UNABLE TO MEET.” This sounds awfully to me as if the Luton issue is pretty much a ‘done deal’ and makes a mockery of previous Council claims that the 4,500 dwellings are to ‘meet the needs of North Hertfordshire’.

  15. Alan Gordon says:

    There are a couple of important points about schools which people may also be very concerned about. If there is a massive increase in the population of Baldock, either via a new ‘settlement’ to the north or via massive development around Clothall Common (either is as bad for Baldock) then a new secondary school will be required. This will become the school for anyone not adjacent to Knights Templar (i.e. north and south of Baldock) and importantly anyone from the surrounding villages (or Letchworth). Are the people from these areas aware that their children will no longer have access to Knights Templar? Moreover, I fear we may have little control over what kind of school is built – it might be a free school of dubious quality or a religious school of a denomination not currently catered for in this part of North Hertfordshire. Of course, slow growth would mitigate against these concerns as current facilities could adapt and new facilities could be planned without unnecessary urgency. (I personally believe that Baldock could, just about, adapt to an additional 1000 homes spread evenly over the next 17 years, as long as no existing greenbelt is built over, but it seems the current plans are all about building over greenbelt.)

  16. mario may says:

    Meeting tonight http://www.ttletchworth.org/ transition town Letchworth to discuss sustainable housing development and planning. Would be of great interest to all Baldock campaigners and in the entire region. It’s not a Green Party meeting – Transition movement is non-affiliated and they have great ideas and interesting discussions. Mrs Howard Hall 7.30 28/10/14

  17. Marina Alvarez says:

    A precedent set?

    Residents rejoice as Royston town council opposes plans to sell of Royston’s heathland for housing
    Cambridge News ‎- 9 hours ago
    Jubilant residents rejoiced as town councillors gave the thumbs down to proposals to sell off part of Royston’s heath for housing. More than 70 …

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      Response to Royston being allowed to keep there heath. The large expanse of grass baldock side of Royston is infact Therfield heath, has Therfield been asked?

  18. Marina Alvarez says:

    Another important consideration is how this settlement and Baldock are to be policed. I would think that there would need to be a police presence based in Baldock? It can already be a little intimidating outside our large supermarket after 9pm. The police are in the community centre on a Monday, I for one, would like to ask them how a town twice the size of Baldock is policed…..

    • Albert Sillwood says:

      Since the Nov 27th meeting, I have started to attend the local NHDC councillor meetings, to start to put names to the 49 councillor faces at the Nov 27th meeting. Also to observe their comments and attitudes. At the Overview and Scrutiny meeting in Letchworth on Dec 9th, there was a presentation by the Chief Constable for North Hertfordshire. During the presentation a councillor asked about increased numbers of police for the new housing developments. The Chief Constable said that police numbers were under pressure, and no new officers had been recruited for the Great Ashby development in Stevenage. She intimated that the same would be true for the planned North Herts developments.
      Attending the Baldock Community Centre last week I noticed the police (in their new police location) are available to the public for two hours a day, 3 days a week. It will be interesting to see if their presense increases over the coming years.
      Another comment during the presentation was that it is possible to ‘plan out crime’ in future developments, and a lot of crime was not caused by the local community, but people travelling through the area.

  19. Chris Bassett says:

    we live in a democracy, or so I am left to believe. It is becoming increasingly clear that quite a few people do not want a massive expansion to our town. Could we as a town organise a referendum that would be presented to the council on the 27/11/14 with the outcome of the towns vote? I know we have a petition and Twitter and Facebook pages, but could this be another way of telling these faceless individuals how we feel?

    Just a thought

  20. Richard Meredith-Hardy says:

    It is just wrong for NHDC to say in their commentary to item 1. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS :
    The landscape here is considered to be of low to moderate sensitivity.
    when the same document says for the much larger part of the area north of the Bygrave Rd as a ‘primary constraint’:
    ” is of moderate to high landscape sensitivity”
    The same conclusion is in the landscape sensitivity report and map their consultants provided.

  21. Marina Alvarez says:

    Should the site be considered a special area of conservation? I must stress that I am not being a NIMBY, but the sheer scale of the development will permanently destroy this land, taking into account the new road that will be built, as well as the additional land needed for a neighbourhood centre(?) and school. Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – JNCC jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-23 21 Aug 2013 – Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive. The Habitats Directive requires … UK SAC site list – Text only – Earth science SSSIs – Northern Ireland

  22. Marina Alvarez says:

    The purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development. Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations. Development means growth. We must accommodate the new ways by which we will earn our living in a competitive world. We must house a rising population, which is living longer and wants to make new choices. We must respond to the changes that new technologies offer us. Our lives, and the places in which we live them, can be better, but they will certainly be worse if things stagnate. Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment. Our natural environment is essential to our wellbeing, and it can be better looked after than it has been. Habitats that have been degraded can be restored. Species that have been isolated can be reconnected. Green Belt land that has been depleted of diversity can be refilled by nature – and opened to people to experience it, to the benefit of body and soul. Our historic environment – buildings, landscapes, towns and villages – can better be cherished if their spirit of place thrives, rather than withers. Our standards of design can be so much higher. We are a nation renowned worldwide for creative excellence, yet, at home, confidence in development itself has been eroded by the too frequent experience of mediocrity. So sustainable development is about positive growth – making economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations. The planning system is about helping to make this happen. Development that is sustainable should go ahead, without delay – a presumption in favour of sustainable development that is the basis for every plan, and every decision. This framework sets out clearly what could make a proposed plan or development unsustainable. In order to fulfil its purpose of helping achieve sustainable development, planning must not simply be about scrutiny. Planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives. This should be a collective enterprise. Yet, in recent years, planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this has been a result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote from them. Dismantling the unaccountable regional apparatus and introducing neighbourhood planning addresses this. In part, people have been put off from getting involved because planning policy itself has become so elaborate and forbidding – the preserve of specialists, rather than people in communities. This National Planning Policy Framework changes that. By replacing over a thousand pages of national policy with around fifty, written simply and clearly, we are allowing people and communities back into planning.

  23. Marina Alvarez says:

    Marina Alvarez
    Yesterday at 20:14
    In a statement of 6 September 2012, the Government encouraged local councils to use existing laws to review the extent of green belt land in their local areas. As an incentive to use these powers, councils who review green belt land in their local plans will have their local plan examination process prioritised. This policy has been criticised by the CPRE. In January 2014 the Government said it was considering the case for changing planning policy and practice guidance to strengthen green belt protection in regard to traveller sites. Online Planning Practice Guidance issued by Government in March 2014 aims to make clear that “unmet housing need (including for traveller sites) is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm to constitute the “very special circumstances” justifying inappropriate development on a site within the Green Belt”

  24. Marina Alvarez says:

    http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/2._matrix_for_north_baldock.pdf

    In this report it states that the land is Greenbelt, and that the area affecting north Baldock meets 3 of the of the 5 objectives of Greenbelt as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

    A majority I think?

  25. Paul Davis says:

    Are our councillors about to break the law by approving this development? Interesting article on the media page about Eric Pickles ring fencing green belt land. Where does it say the wants of a council out trumps the law of the land?

    Well done SRB for spotting that article. The last two paragraphs fly in the face of the Baldock plan as per Mr David Levett.

  26. Paul Davis says:

    I am sure many of you have received notification today from David Levett.

    I have noted that whilst he claims we need these homes for “Our” Families, he also writes in the report:
    The draft plan will include 12,100 homes for North Hertfordshire’s needs over the
    period to 2031. It will also consider how we respond to the needs from the Luton area
    that cannot be met within Luton’s borders

    I am totally at a loss, why are we trying to solve another county’s problems? The plan has gone ahead loading Baldock with a devastating amount of housing. Yet no mention of additional medical facilities or police station! I am disgusted by our councillors who obviously have already discussed this behind closed doors and agreed the proposal sent out by Mr Levett. Frankly we need a public vote of no confidence and they all need changing at the next election.

  27. Paul Davis says:

    I would like to thank Cllr David Levett the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise for North Hertfordshire District Council for his email which I am sure many others received this morning.

    His platitudes and repeated attempts to put distance between himself (as a council officer) and any developer may be well meaning but does not hold water when all other factors are taken into account.

    I think we all understand NHDC is not a developer and does not build houses, but it does grant permission for houses to be built and will make money and gain infrastructure benefits from this project!

    40% of this development will be so called affordable housing. yet there has been no argument that ‘our families’from this area actually needs that amount of affordable homesin fact I read in the council’s own report that any local need can probably be met by existing facilities.

    This is in direct contradiction to the latest email received from the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise for North Hertfordshire District Council.

    Besides define affordable housing. The infrastructure which will be provided free by the developers will not in fact be free to the residents of the developments. The cost of roads/schools/community centres/shops etc. will be shared evenly over the development and added to the cost of each affordablehome.

    These homes are being built not to meet our needs, but the needs of other over burdened councils as it states in a report as published on NHDC’s own web site.

    When you read what is available on NHDC’s own web site and then read Mr Levett’s email I find too many differing accounts. I suggest we do not need this development in Baldock in any format!

  28. Neil Gaskell says:

    Latest guidance on the Green Belt from Westminster.

    http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/general/news/stories/2014/october14/091014/091014_1

    Also links to the guidance on the Housing Land Availability Assessment Stage 5 methodology which may also be worth a read.
    “In decision taking, can unmet need for housing outweigh Green Belt Protection?
    Unmet housing need (including for traveller sites) is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm to constitute the “very special circumstances” justifying inappropriate development on a site within the Green Belt” for example.

    http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/housing-and-economic-land-availability-assessment/stage-5-final-evidence-base/#paragraph_044

  29. Peter Foxworthy says:

    To those who have given brave assurances that no ‘infrastructure’ problems are anticipated; over the last seven days in two different national newspapers I have read that the country as a whole is struggling to find G.P.s to staff its surgeries. This being the case, do those giving these assurances really believe that Astonia House can cope with an extra 8000+ bodies? (Current leadtime for an appointment is about 2 weeks!)

    • Paul Davis says:

      The infrastructure argument sadly is a non starter Peter. That is not a consideration for the planners. They will counter the lack of health care argument with The NHS are obliged to provide sufficient cover, so no problem there. (As one councillor claimed in the meeting) Mere details such as a shortage of doctors and a perfectly logical arguments will not stop the march of this dreaded building expansion.
      I am not so sure the NHS are obliged anyway, besides GPs and their surgeries do not work for the NHS!
      The points you make are very valid ones. But as I said earlier, it will not hold water with the powers that be.

  30. Paul Davis says:

    The more we research things the more contradictions we find. In the report I used in answer Councillor Levitts post it does say that employment can be found in Baldock town for the new population (Promise! LOL! If I did not laugh at this I would cry!)

    However in another report (see here http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/idp_final_130116-2.pdf)
    It states and this is despite the fact in an early point it stated Baldock has an aging population4.12 It is clear that North Hertfordshire contains a high number of working age residents with a high level of qualifications. However the level of knowledge based jobs in the district is relatively low compared to the rest of the County, meaning that there is much out-commuting. It has been estimated
    that 49% of all North Hertfordshire residents who are in employment commute out of the district for work (Census, 2001).
    4.13 This level of out-commuting of higher skilled professionals means a low percentage of the workplace population are at higher or intermediate management grades compared with the County and the UK. Much of the difference is accounted
    for by the a higher proportion of semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers.

    Which leaves me to ask
    1. Where are all these semi skilled and unskilled going to work? They will find precious little in Baldock.
    2. Why do we need so much “Affordable Housing” if many of the professional new residents will have to commute anyway. (All squished up from the old train station I note from a previous report) because most professional couples do not buy low cost affordable housing!
    Unless………… (and this is pure speculation)
    3. In the area that is classified as industrial use only along the A505 next to the scaffolding yard there are plans for a new retail park? Nothing about which true to say I have found so far.

    • Paul Davis says:

      The Planned growth section is also worth a read, where another number of 10,700 new homes is mentioned. I suspect as the horror of what County Hall and North Herts D.C. unfolds land owners from other areas have rushed for the hills, leaving the two authorities lumping everything into Baldock. Because traditionally we a peaceful community who don’t complain much!

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      I agree with all of these comments , the point that I would like to make is, who actually says we need all of the houses ? when we drive around the country there’s building everywhere ,huge developments around Bedford ,Cambridge ,and local towns as well, after world war 1 when the government had watched the Russians turn on there leaders, they panicked thousands of poor fed up men coming home to the same situation they had left. Someone had a great idea , lets build them a home fit for a hero! So nearly every city town village and hamlet had a few houses .This is one of the best ideas any modern government has had in my opinion. Why cant this be done again?. 6 in Bygrave 20 Ashwell 100 Baldock 100 Royston 200 Letchworth 300 Hitchin 6 Radwell 6 Clothall 10 Newnham, ect ect.Just think of the work for local builders ,utopia . It just keeps niggling in my mind that if you manage to build enough dwelling for all ,demand falls prices slump, the money lenders collateral slumps, basically wongas problems would seem like a walk in the park. Britian bust!!

      • Paul Davis says:

        Ah, you have missed an important point DLJ Hughes. Small scale building is not cost effective or very profitable as the money is dissipated over too wide a distribution network and not to the big business developers. Don’t forget both Labour and Conservative/Cameron have promised new houses recently. Secondly, there would no profit for either of the councils or the developers, thus no infrastructure will be provided (Roads, Schools, Community Centres etc.) and built free of charge for the Councils. Except it won’t be free because the cost will be divided up on a per home basis and added to every house the developers build. Which will add quite a large sum to the cost of each home including the “Affordable” houses

        Makes you laugh really, we are being miked by developers and Councils alike as cash Cows. The Councils are very happy to pass the cost of this infrastructure onto the people who live here. Plus what we will end up with is another Marsh Farm or worse, an outright ghetto.

        • D L J Hughes farms says:

          Paul, I agree absolutely, I did say that small scale building would be utopia. I should have put to much like common sense. your point on infrastructure, is interesting. Remember this is only my opinion!Baldock has got a fantastic community centre, bang in the middle of town, sizable car park behind. Common sense tells me ideal place for doctors surgery. No its shoved right at the top of the high street ,difficult to get in and out of ,let alone park. Its almost worth parking in the huge car park opposite, BINGO, there’s even a pele crossing to get you safely across the high street and back. It pains me to say that in the community centre there’s room for , nip in clinic, but BINGO ,that’s actually in the big car park. so you see infrastructure is probably covered. Unless the big store is tucked up more than it admits, It dose tend to lie a lot

  31. mario may says:

    http://www.sustainableletchworth.org.uk/
    Sustainable Letchworth meeting with Jonathan Porritt at the Spirella ballroom 7.30 16 October. Free admission but you need to book a place.

  32. Councillor David Levett - Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise says:

    Thank to all of you who have sent emails and I am in the process of replying to them all, please note correct email address for me at the end of this post, the NHDC one a lot of people have been using is out of date, the emails do usually get forwarded but can take a while.
    In the meantime here is the latest position statement:

    North Hertfordshire District Council Draft Local Plan Housing Numbers
    Statement on current position in relation to Baldock.

    There has been much speculation in the last few days with regard to the number of new dwellings to be included in the Local Plan, particularly in regard to Baldock much of which is speculation based on out of date or inaccurate information.

    The Local Plan is still in preparation and a first draft version, known as a Preferred Options Paper, is scheduled to be published in December after it has been agreed by Council on 27th November. This is the version that will be open for public consultation during December 2014 and January 2015. Following that consultation a final draft will be prepared for public consultation and submission for examination by the planning inspectorate later next year.
    At the moment there is no consultation document and no firm proposals for any site in Baldock or anywhere else in North Hertfordshire.

    North Herts District Council is currently reviewing all the sites contained in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) last updated in March 2014 t allocate sites that sustainable, viable, and deliverable to meet the housing needs for North Hertfordshire for the period 2011 to 2013. The total number of dwellings required to meet this need is around 12,100.

    At present, indications are that the number of dwellings identified for sites around Baldock (including a large new development north of the town, Blackhorse Farm), is substantially less than those figures currently being quoted in the press and elsewhere.

    It is important to remember that North Hertfordshire District Council is not building any houses anywhere in the district. The Local Plan identifies areas of land that are the preferred sites from the SHLAA, (which were the sites put forward by developers and land owners and which meet the test of being sustainable, viable, and deliverable) and will only be built on if and when they are brought forward for and gain planning permission. Included in the Draft Local Plan will be a policy which ensures that all the major sites will be subject to a “Master Plan” which will required to ensure that these sites will deliver the infrastructure required to support them such as roads, schools, shops, recreation facilities and transport links. In addition further policies within the local plan specify the amount of affordable housing, parking and density of dwellings on any particular site. All of the requirements of these policies must be taken into account as part of any planning application.

    North Hertfordshire District Council has an obligation under the current legislation to provide for projected growth within its area. The Local Plan is our chance to provide for that need on our terms and get the best solution for the whole of the District. Without it we run the risk of having sites imposed on us with no say in where they go, the number of dwellings or the infrastructure that will be needed.

    We need new homes to meet the needs of our families and for the future economic prosperity of North Hertfordshire, it is essential we have a Local Plan for local people and we have our say in what is included in it that is the best for them. It must include homes that are affordable for our families, the schools to educate them and all the infrastructure to support them but only on terms that are acceptable to our residents and when the preferred options paper is published for consultation we encourage everyone to respond, all the comments will be considered before the final version of the Local Plan is prepared for approval and adoption.

    Cllr David Levett
    Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise
    North Hertfordshire District Council
    david@dlevett.co.uk
    29th September 2014

    • Paul Davis says:

      I must disagree with Councillor Levitt when it comes to the housing for the people of Baldock, or to use his words:
      We need new homes to meet the needs of our families and for the future economic prosperity of North Hertfordshire, it is essential we have a Local Plan for local people and we have our say in what is included in it that is the best for them.

      According to North Herts own study available on line there is no need for this development.

      See here. http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/2._matrix_for_north_baldock.pdf

      I quote the report: There is unlikely to be a housing need within the existing settlements in this area to justify a development of this scale. However, this site could make a contribution towards meeting the potential housing need arising from North Hertfordshire or other towns in the housing market area.

      So they do plan overspill from other problem areas. This is not required for our own needs as per Councillor Levitt’s post/letter I note was repeated in the Comet this week.

      The report also notes:
      Viability of development to provide key infrastructure
      This site would need to provide a new primary school, local centre and other
      on-site facilities. If a new railway crossing to secure access from Royston Road is required, this would have an impact on viability

      Which I read as “No new station and No new bridge.” And not as per the meeting where it was glibly announced “If we need one the responsible service providers will provide it” Hmmm…….Obviously not!

      I also note from the report
      The site could be accessed from a number of different existing roads including North Road, Royston Road and Bygrave Road. The site is approximately 600m from the town centre and the existing employment area. The site is 1km from existing medical facilities. Schools and a local centre would be expected to be provided within the development

      No mention of a new medical centre then! So obviously the powers that be believe there is sufficient health facilities to meet the new demand once this lot is built. I also note this report was asked to factor in 3700 homes and not 4500

      Please follow the link and read this report. It flies in the face of much of what Councillors have told us and let us all know how you read that read that report.

      Methinks there are other agendas here, what I am hearing from certain quarters is just blatant propaganda. Judi and I will keep digging!

  33. mario may says:

    This was Oliver Heald’s response. He must know because I told him, that the Greens do not oppose new housing but we want it to be sustainable and affordable.

    Dear Dr May,
    Thank you for this. I share your concerns, although the figure of 10,000 homes is greater than other constituents have mentioned. The most common figure is 4,500.
    Planning is a District Council matter and the draft Local Plan will be the place where we are informed of proposed land allocations. I understand this draft Plan will be decided and published in November and then consulted on with local residents and stakeholders. I am in touch with local Baldock Councillors, who are as concerned as I am at what may be proposed. As you know, they recently called a meeting in the town and have briefed me on the strength of views of local residents.

    Most people agree there is a need for housing in our area, something you refer to, but I do think it is important that overall numbers should be limited in order to protect our local environment and that proposed development sites should be allocated in an equitable way across the District. I would be concerned if the Green Party locally argued against all development in North Herts. This would seem to be against the party’s national policy to build affordable homes and basic Green principles that people should be able to live sustainably near their work.

    I have made my concerns for Baldock known to the Leader of the North Herts District Council and will forward your correspondence to her.

    You may know that Labour are suggesting that Stevenage and Luton should have the ‘right to grow’ and this would involve even more building, because North Herts would not only have to provide for its own housing needs, but theirs too. I will oppose this at any planning inquiry.

    Best wishes,

    Sir Oliver Heald QC MP

    Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire

  34. mario may says:

    This was the email I sent a few days ago to the key people. So far only one response from Oliver Heald to say it would ‘only’ be 4500 new houses. So that’s OK then…
    Dear Sirs
    I was horrified to read in the Comet and to hear at the public meeting in Baldock last Monday night of the plans to build over 10000 houses in Baldock. This will double the size of the town, ruin its character and pose an intolerable strain on the existing infrastructure. Obviously new homes are needed, but to make one town bear so much of the strain is grossly unfair. I urge you to abandon the plans and to ask local government associations to team up and prepare a co-ordinated response to the housing crisis in London and the South-East. This piece-meal approach will not work. Central government has a key role, also, to play in a national review of housing and the over-heating of the southern economy. For that reason I have copied in Oliver Heald, MP for North-East Herts, so that he can raise the matter in parliament.
    Yours faithfully
    Dr Mario May

  35. Jane Neal says:

    I am somewhat bemused by the current flippant attitude of North
    Herts District Council with regards to its willing enthusiasm to
    accept the development of a further 3500 dwellings in Baldock thereby virtually
    doubling the size of the town. As any property student will tell you
    – “for the size of an urban area a rational pattern of land use will
    evolve”. Have the council not considered any of this sound logic in
    their proposals, now well documented as increasing road traffic, noise
    pollution, social pressures of additional schooling, doctors etc. as
    well as the impact on the environment.

    It is also a well-schooled thought that the location of any
    activity is determined either by the desire to maximise profits in
    respect of business users of land, or to maximise (or obtain
    acceptable) service from the land in the case of residential and other non-business
    users. Will developers be forced to buy the land at a fair price taking into consideration all the other associated costs such as schools and roads that they are apparently willing to accept ? Will developers, profits and land transfers be transparent and clear for all to see ?

    So, are we to assume that if the initial costs of highways construction,
    road servicing equipment, lighting, schools etc. will be paid by the
    developers, that the profit from the sale of the land will be used
    by North Herts Council towards the more direct costs of dealing with
    the additional congestion costs from the increased traffic as well as
    the environmental challenges of maintaining the surrounding rural
    environment. Can North Herts purchase any additional land needed to accommodate the additional road capacities required ? Investment must take into account
    present costs and future needs. Although direct costs are predictable
    benefits may not be. Information is required on how road development
    affects traffic speeds, delays, travelling costs, accidents, the
    environment, property values and industry. Where do the Parish and Town councils of Bygrave and Baldock, who as independent councils have their own right to submit documentation against this proposal, stand in this matter ?

    We know that private and public land uses are mutually dependent and
    that the value of private land may be increased by changes in the
    public land use infrastructure. It can be argued that the planning
    laws can be a means of increasing the profitable uses of land. It will
    be of great interest to us all I am sure to watch the clear and transparent interaction of land owner and developer within the planning regulative environment. We can only hope that democracy and the planning process will win the day.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      May be of interest to all to explain land use at present.NB areas in round figures, H.C.C Baldock farm estate was set up after w w 1 to provide young families a way into agriculture .The exact details are exsplained on HCC rural estates web page. When I was a ram lamb in the 60s there was 21 individual units , now there are 5 farmers on the area. I know three as friends and one as an aquantance.I do know after forty years in practical farming that every one of them is at the top of there game and very very compitant!. There are lots of people entitled to say that five families could be exspended to find homes for thousands. But lets look at it another way, If by some awful happening something of fictional proportions happened, myself and my four fellow farmers , using there expertise knowledge and hardworking experience, in my opinion useing last harvests results, and yields, could and more importantly would produce enough basic grub to sustain the residential population of Baldock for twelve months If such an event were to happen, heaven forbid , some of you must be ready to loose an inch or two off the waste line, and dibs my best mate, Horris(my sheep dog) gets all the left over bones.

  36. Paul Davis says:

    Just got back from Tesco, and the man from Tesco he say “NO” They do not wish to be seen endorsing the protest.

    I trust not too many of us will wish to contribute to their market share worries and not wish to be seen endorsing Tesco by not going there.

    Oh so many negatives!

    Anyway we need now to appeal for people who are happy to assist in collecting signatures by giving a little of their time.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      The big store doesn’t want to help!!This helps to endorse the theory I have thought for a long time, and commented on earlier, I would have thought helping albeit in a very small way would be giving there customers, WHAT THEY WANT .I make no apologies for sounding a very cenacle farmer , because im not really!

    • Peter Foxworthy says:

      So, Tesco don’t want to be seen as endorsing the protest – how do they justify the week-long presence of a table and display for Paint Balling? Is that of greater community benefit and significance than an issue which threatens the very fabric of an irreplaceable and unique rural market town? How many of us are there? Could we not refrain from shopping there for, say, a week (open to negotiation) and pop to Sainsbury’s (wait till Lidl re-opens!)

  37. Peter Foxworthy says:

    I recall some years ago, the late, great Sir Nigel Hawthorne, then residing at Radwell Grange, commenting on his dismay at what he perceived to be the “ugly, sprawling mass conurbation” threatening this beautiful rural area – this when Great Ashby was commenced. He duly relocated! Had he only but known what is now being planned for this area, massive apoplexy would no doubt have accelerated his untimely passing.

  38. Jenny Oakley says:

    We tenant a county council small holding which surrounds Baldock, our business, my friends, neighbours businesses, our children futures, will be wiped out! Small holdings are rare in East Anglia & must be preserved, if these holdings disappear the future of the small farmer becomes extinct, no small farms will be created.
    Agricultural land is now far too expensive for a viable small business, the county council, the government are taking away choice & opportunities for future generations, there is no alternatives offered… This can’t be replace with money!!!

  39. Why are you still using the old map and not the more recent one? I’m all for campaigning but we need to make sure we have our facts straight or we look silly!

    http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/shlaa_2013_ap3a.pdf

    • admin says:

      Hi
      Because that was the map that was given to us at the meeting last week. We will look into it, thank you.
      SRB

      • Paul Davis says:

        Agreed Christine, but it was the only map that was handed out at the meeting. Judi has changed the flier and emailed the new one to Admin for possible updating.

      • D L J Hughes farms says:

        I have farmed on Bygrave common for a long time, Whilst doing so have on many occasions , like my colleagues, had to” GIVE “, beg pardon sell to supermarkets. When in this position it tends to concentrate the mind twards there antics, every thing im going to ask now, could be down to my imagination. But please indulge me. Has anybody else noticed that theres only “one” road into and out of the clothall common estate, at the first rondaout it would be wise to turn twards clothall and join the bypass, sorry cant do ,why!. you can turn right and join the queue,because for some reason the traffic lights are set to short term. no instead its far more convenient to go strait over the roundabout and head off along south road .incedently there used to be a brilliant fuel station on that round about, Where you could drop in buy fuel ,joke with the owner , run an account,ect. Unfortunately he had to stop supplying fuel because in his words “I was told by a large store ,Not far away that he will NEVER sell fuel cheaper than them. I digress. When you reach the round about on the west end of south road .BINGO!!!, fuel food goodies in abundance, some of us think, lets turn right and use the high street, but no Baldock high street, Which, I hasten to add has received stage coaches and vehicles of ever description for thousands of years of has been altered , gone is the easy parking ,most of the time is taken looking over your shoulder for traffic wardens waiting to pounce.Whilst trying to park, the mind strays away from the quality meat and tasty cakes intended to be purchased, BINGO!!! your back in the huge car park, queuing for anything that’s masquerading for quality that day, ALL of this rambling is for a reason, instead of asking for a space to hand out leaflets, which im surprised isn’t charged for. In these days of freedom of information ask WHO IS GOING TO FUND INFERSTRUCTURE, DEVELOPMENT AND MOST OF ALL WHO BENEFITS FROM MASSES OF NEW FAMILIES BEING DUMPED IN NORTH HERTS, it certainly wont be us.

    • D L J Hughes farms says:

      Regarding maps used. There s a slice of land, possibly 3 acres sticking out from the old north road, running twards ivle grange pointing to Needle hill. Why didn’t this bit get pencilled in! Has it important use, Can anyone find out who owns it, or if they own a lucky rabbits foot. Its on area 200b b the w

    • Alan Gordon says:

      My understanding is that the 2013 proposal is not what councillors will be voting on, on the 27th Nov. It will be a new one that won’t be published until 2 weeks before the vote. However, each revised plan has seen more proposed building around Baldock, not less. As I understand it councillors believe 45% of the proposed sites in the new plan will be around Baldock, approximately 4,500 homes – which is a vast amount, many more times than the size of Clothall Common and will double the size of Baldock. So I think the map that was given out in the meeting (seemingly of council owned land around Baldock) is the best approximation we have. If most of that ends up on the plan, then it would be likely most of that might be voted through. Once it is voted through I can’t see the overall proportions across North Hertfordshire being changed in the consultation process. So, we have somehow to make a big enough noise now to stop so much going on the plan in the first place. And if it does go on the plan we have to make enough noise that other councillors feel too embarrassed to vote it through without adjusting he proportions.
      I could be wrong, but that is my understanding.

      • Albert says:

        On Sunday 28th Sept 2014, I walked around the border of the land proposed for building 3500 houses north of Baldock. It covered 4 miles and took over 2 hours. My route started and finished at Salisbury Road. The route taken was east along the Royston Road to the bypass roundabout. Then north on the footpath over the railway line to Bygrave Road. From there, north up along the field boundary and down to the Drain path (close to Bygrave). From the drain, the route turned to the north east, across the fields, passing close to Ivel Grange farm, up to North Road. The final stretch was back down North Road to Salisbury Road.
        Lots of photos were taken, but the area was so vast, the camera could not take all the fields in, in one picture. A good place to takes photos is on the new mound next to the Bypass roundabout. Perhaps photos with the Comet could be taken here.

  40. Claire Higgitt says:

    Dear SRB, have you been in touch with CPRE recently? Also is there anyone with specialist planning/legal expertise who would be able to review the 2013 consultation process and documentation?

    I am no expert but I think the consultation could be open to challenge. The whole consultation was flawed as the information was not presented appropriately for a lay audience, the Baldock site was not fairly compared with the other strategic options due to its “late entry” into the process, and the transport modelling study on the Baldock option is seriously flawed.

    If you can find someone to pick the consultation apart, the whole thing could come crashing right down.

  41. Paul Davis says:

    I note whilst trawling the internet that the council were already thinking ahead and plan to move Luton’s inner city problems here, which no doubt prompted the Police to close the Police station and build a few houses on the site rather than re open the place. Smart piece of planning………..

    See the full report here http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/index/environment_and_planning/planning/planning_policy_and_projects-2/draft_local_plan_2011-2031.htm

    I quote the report.
    “This report also notes that the Local Plan will need to consider making an allowance for unmet needs for housing from elsewhere in housing market areas which overlap North Hertfordshire. Of the housing market areas which overlap North Hertfordshire the only one which at present may need North Hertfordshire to take further growth is the Luton housing market area. The Local Plan will therefore need to consider whether it is reasonable to make an allowance in North Hertfordshire for the needs of Luton.”

    Hmmm…….No doubt Hackney and Brent councils are casting a few glances over here as well. Currently they are re homing their problem benefit claimants all the way to Birmingham! because renting in London is costing too much for the councils to pay.

    Whilst talking to people today about this development, many residents here on Clothall Common still do not realise the extent of this development so regarding the lady who wants help whilst standing outside Tesco, this needs planning and printed material designed. I will tomorrow go and ask Tesco if we can have a table etc. outside their doors. If you wish to contact Judi or myself ask admin for our email addresses.

    • Paul Davis says:

      Went to ask in Tesco, the manager was far too busy to see me (Hmm…)

      But on a positive note I was told by a supervisor they would put the suggestion to the manager and if I gave them my phone number they would call me in the afternoon……….

      So pleased I did not hold my breath. (And that is why Mum’s gone to Iceland!)

  42. D L J Hughes farms says:

    The family has farmed Bygrave common , for4 generations, I took over from my father in 2000,On taking over, freeland farm could have been put into an entry level scheme cooked up by Europe one thought was an arcioligy scheme.So I got in touch with herts county council, our landlords at county hall, whereupon they sent a lovely lady by the name of Kate Batt, out , she undertook a complete survey of freeland farm, and warren farm Royston road, on finishing the report she spent two hours in the kitchin explaining to me how she was amazed at the importance of the area around Baldock.stating that the area was as important as the stone henge in Wiltshire,i distinctly remember the phrase because my fathers family came from that area! This to me is a report written by a Herts county council employee , so cannot be argued with I still have the report if it will help in any way to stop development

  43. Sarah Scott says:

    I shall print off some flyers and deliver this weekend to bygrave road and the village of bygrave, upper and lower. I am happy to stand outside tesco to get people to sign the petition if anyone would like to join me? One afternoon or evening next week……

    • admin says:

      Thanks very much for your help, this is great – please can you put this information on the Community Project page to let other people know what you are doing so that we don’t repeat ourselves (and hopefully so some more people will join you).

  44. Lee Perrott says:

    We moved to Baldock for 2 main reasons:

    1) Schooling – With 4 children, good schools were top of our priorities. The Primary (Infant/Junior) schools and Secondary school (Knights Templar) are fantastic.

    2) The balance of beautiful surrounding countryside and short distance to major towns – perfect.

    With Knights Templar school already over-subscribed (I believe some students are being rejected outside of Baldock), where are the children of all these extra homes supposed to go?

    As for the ‘balance’ I believe you simply eliminate the blissful, ‘removed from the bustle’ appeal of Baldock. To develop as has been proposed is to dampen the very character of the town we live in.

  45. Paul Davis says:

    Admin have kindly added the flyer to the website so feel free to download and hand it out. You will find it here : http://www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk/?page_id=443. It’s the Baldock development flyer Sept. 2014. It would be great if you could then list the streets you are distributing to on http://www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk/?page_id=433.

  46. Paul Davis says:

    Thanks very much Robert for the link. We too have just emailed the PMs office. Next stop are the Councillors. Have also created a flyer and Judi and I will distribute to Eisenberg Close and Rye Gardens. Hopefully just persuaded someone to deliver in Bush Spring too.

    Will now email the flyer to admin and ask them to put it on the site somewhere so others can print off and arrange for distribution in their street if they wish.

  47. Robert Scott says:

    I have just e-mailed the prime ministers office with my concerns. If you would like to do the same then see the link below. Next up is Oliver Heald.
    https://email.number10.gov.uk/

  48. js says:

    Never knew how amazing Baldock was!

    Bona-fide historians have noted in the past that “Earlier Iron Age remains have also been uncovered in the same general location, which may be the earliest town ever to develop in Britain”

    Wow! 🙂 This may be the earliest town ever to develop. 🙂

    That’s a good enough reason to leave it alone and the whole town should be listed! 🙂

    Surely lets leave it alone for future generations to appreciate the history and you never know what is yet to be found in terms of the archaeology.

    Last blog. Apologises for the spelling mistakes. I rushed my blog. Peace to all.

  49. js says:

    Another case for argument is the area is potentially on heritage, cultural and archaeological significance in Hertfordshire and the South.

    The below citation is from the source – Hertiage Action

    http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/archaeology-in-hertfordshire-recent-research/

    Quote

    Firstly to set the scene, a list of the Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries in 2013. Not so much here on places to visit, though my personal favourite ‘local’ henge at Norton in Hertfordshire is included here. Whilst there’s not that much to see on the ground at Norton, taking in the wider landscape of the ‘Baldock Bowl’ can reap some rewards, whilst a few miles away is the largest longbarrow in Hertfordshire, just outside Royston.

    Quote

    There are many more, much smaller henges to be found the length and breadth of Britain, many investigated to a greater or lesser extent, many known only from cropmarks identified via aerial or satellite photography. Sadly, many of these lesser henges are often ploughed out, almost to oblivion, such at the Weston Hill henge, near Baldock in Hertfordshire.

    From Wikipedia

    Quote

    There has been human activity on the site well before the modern town was founded. Prehistoric remains on Clothall Common date back as far as c 3000 BCE.[8] Many Roman remains have been discovered during building work in and around the town, and the core of the Roman settlement lies between Walls Field and Bakers Close. Earlier Iron Age remains have also been uncovered in the same general location, which may be the earliest town ever to develop in Britain.

    The area has much history yet to be discovered or researched. Old towns are worth preserving so in the future they can be looked back at on how things were. And perhaps looking back at how things were may inspire future generations rather than creating concrete jungles everywhere.

    Has Herts County Council looked into the land being offered for historical significance, in the past developers have been held up after works had started for such issues. Developers be aware!

  50. js says:

    Many reason not to overdevelop around Baldock.

    Below is another interesting fact. Any substantial developments will ruin what previously has been preserved not only by locals but by conservationists, the local council and history lovers.

    “Baldock is a historic market town in North Hertfordshire. The town is 33 miles North of London, 15 miles Southeast of Bedford and 14 miles North of Hertford. Even though it is the smallest town in the North Herts District is has more listed buildings than any others in the district”.

    How, bizarre then that it is allocate 45% of the growth in housing.

    I hope relevant arguments against the development are gathered and emailed to the powers to be.

  51. Luke Callan says:

    I received a response from Senior Planning Officer. He said that the draft Housing Plan is not due to be made public until 15th November and will be available on the NHDC website in time for the Council meeting on 27th November

    He was quite clear in his response that they have not published anything that may indicate where the growth is and stated that the councillors have been raising issues on what they suspect maybe in the plan but they are still in the process of drafting the housing plan.

    He did say when they publish the draft housing plan they will respond to comments raised in the consultation.

  52. Paul Davis says:

    In a conversation this morning it came up maybe using the power of social media we should all invite our friends for a cuppa and bickie over a chat on Clothall Common on the same morning. (maybe next April 1st?) This could add up to several thousand people all trying to get through Baldock at the same time. Not only would it get the attention of the press, it may also get local TV news teams here because the traffic chaos would massive! It would demonstrate what will happen every morning rush hour once the houses are built.

    Just a thought………call me Victor if you will but why I do want to launch a civil disobedience group…….LOL!

  53. Toni Milton says:

    had an idea today whilst at work. After attending the meeting last night why don’t we get petitions written up and take them door to door for people to sign. Fors saying there is a population of around 10,000 in baldock the turn out was pretty poor, probably about 250. I know alot of people probably wanted to go to the meeting but had other committments so it would be another way of getting signatures in line with the online one. Or another way is to stand outside tesco’s handing out fliers with the petition website on it.

    • Emma says:

      I had the same idea, standing outside Tesco. I wonder what their view is on the development. I imagine with so many houses that there would be another supermarket built.

      I think a lot of older people do not have computers so it would be good to give them the information on paper. The community center, town hall and churches hold various events and classes that may allow us to inform people more effectively.

      My husband suggested putting a bar code (he used the technical name) on the posters so people can scan it with their phones and get a direct link to the website or petition. Apparently it is easy to do.

      I ‘d like to be actively involved, is there a list I can put my name on or a meeting I can attend?

    • Shelley Brantigan says:

      A significant percentage of Clothall Common residents were unaware of the meeting. Myself and fellow neighbours have been discussing how to make sure that everyone on the estate knows and so are considering a leaflet drop. Something that not only informs but explains exactly what needs to be done, this may help overcome complacency. We could certainly add the petition website.
      Having previously petitioned my own road for a Tree Preservation Order, door to door can be time consuming (it was worth it though!). It would only need one resident in each road to help out.
      Flyers handed out outside schools could be effective too.

  54. Paul Davis says:

    My partner has just found this on the internet. published by North Herts C.C. it lists 1440 pages of objections! So Baldock has not been that quiet, the question is will the council ignore all the objections?

    See here http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/13_baldock_ho_reps_as_at_28062013.pdf

    On another front I note everyone has said this is council owned land. I am wondering about that fact. I am not so sure it is council owned. It may be council administered but owned? I cannot find online a list of Hertfordshire’s common land, but I can find other councils (no doubt there is one somewhere.) However in some cases common land can be exactly that owned in common. I remember about 40 years ago in a conversation with a local gamekeeper he mentioned this area was all once a royal hunting ground (Hence some of the names like Kingswood etc.) and whilst he bred pheasants and they had a paid for shoot over the land, (bordering the proposed area) technically (in law) he could not stop anyone from accessing the area because within the land deeds was a clause granted by the crown in the 1500’s (or there abouts)allowing the local population to graze their own sheep, goats, cows and horses as well as employing the use of ferrets and small dogs to catch rabbits to feed themselves……..

    The reason being for this charter is many of the population here were employed by the crown and feeding them all was an expensive problem, hence the charter so they could feed themselves! Tapping his nose he told me to keep that to myself!

    Just clutching at straws! You can see the definition here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_land

    Could we request to see the deeds of ownership to these proposed areas under freedom of information act?

  55. Luke says:

    Letters sent to NHDC Leader, CEO, Portfolio for Planning and Enterprise and Snr Planning Officer.

    Next stop is letters to Comet and Advertiser. Feel energised after last night’s meeting and looking forward to pulling together an action plan on how everybody in Baldock can contribute.

  56. admin says:

    Three hundred ish Baldock residents attended as did five councillors. We heard that Baldock is under threat of having up to 4,500 new houses built on Green Belt around us. This would double our housing numbers and population. It was decided to raise our profile and protest the unfairness of this through letter writing, marches etc. Keep looking at the website and join in. Make sure you sign the petition as we’ll be using that to keep people informed. (More to follow)

  57. Alan Gordon says:

    Hi,

    I moved into Baldock with my family a year ago. We have completely fallen in love with Baldock – it is just exactly the right size. Big enough to have a mix of people living here and a thriving high street, but also small enough and importantly rural enough to have retained it’s character and provide a way of live that isn’t solely urban.
    I accept that Baldock will likely grow over the coming years, but it is a small and unique town that certainly could not adapt well to rapid growth.

    I heard about these development proposals only yesterday and I am shocked. One possibility is thousands of new homes (on relatively small plots) including a new secondary school. Increasing the size of Baldock by such a large percentage and changing it from a town with one secondary school to a town with two, is a major change in the character of our town. This is a big deal for Baldock and I can’t believe that the recent consultations can have come out in favour of such a drastic change – surely a great deal more consultation would be required before pressing ahead with such a big change?

    I am particularly concerned by Br/12 which involves building on green belt, with archaeological significance, building up to the 505, enclosing an existing rural path popular with walkers, joggers, dog walkers and many others, building a new school and changing the character of Clothall Common from a well planned residential estate wrapped around parkland into an ill planned urban sprawl without extra amenities and far from the heart of Baldock, the high street and the railway station. I am not opposed to the smaller developments, just the much larger ones, which seem to take no account of the character of Baldock as real place.

    Is there anything I can do to influence the vote on these proposals, later this year? Is there anyway we can prevent Baldock from being spoiled permanently?

    Kind regards,
    Alan Gordon

    • Martin Impey says:

      Hi Alan,

      Yes there is something you and all of us can do – please attend the meeting on 22nd Sept at St. Mary’s school. Also please can you begin to rally neighbours and friends where you live to get involved. We will need leaflets dropping through doors telling everyone about the meeting, would you be able to arrange for a group to leaflet drop across Clothall Common?
      Thank you!
      Martin

      • Christine says:

        There is also a meeting of the Baldock Society this Thursday 18th (7.30 Community Centre I believe) which might be useful for spreading the word and getting support for protecting Baldock. I think this matter concerns the whole of Baldock and the surrounding villages.

        As I understand it this is the last opportunity for land to be assigned to residential building for 30 years so everyone around us is fighting hard to protect their vulnerable land. A development of this size will change Baldock irrevocably.

        • Christine says:

          I am told Baldock Society meeting this Thursday at Community centre is at 8pm but maybe arrive about 7.45 to ensure a seat!

          COMMUNITY CENTRE THURS 22nd at 8 pm

          • Christine says:

            Having just read Martins latest email to us all it would appear the proposed number of houses might be more like 4,500 stretching all round the Clothall sideThis would engulf the town of Baldock and I bet it would impinge on the surrounding villages like Bygrave and Ashwell so let’s get them on board too.

            Building would extend to the back door of Bygrave and impede access to Baldock, it’s rail station, and the A507.
            Ashwell would also suffer the same via Bygrave Road. And its railway station? And more bypasses?
            I would imagine Newnham and Hinxworth would also be affected to some extent? (A507 for instance)

          • Alan Gordon says:

            Hi,

            I’m sorry that I missed the Baldock Society meeting on Thursday, but I will definitely be at the meeting at St Mary’s on Monday.

            I live in the Clothall Common area. I am more than happy to distribute leaflets. We had the leaflet dropped through our door earlier this week, but if you need anymore dropped, I’ll be happy to help.

            I’m sure once word gets around about these plans there will be a massive amount of resistance. They surely cannot expect people will simply accept changes as drastic as this (whilst other areas are left relatively unscathed). I agree with the comments about the likely impact of this development on the surrounding villages and towns. If the expectation is that the new residents would work in Luton or Stevanage then massive road improvements would be required. If they were to commute by train south, then people in Letchworth can forget about getting a seat on train. Baldock simply isn’t equipped with the facilities or connections to be twice its current size – let alone the massive impact on the character of this historic market town. I also completely fail to understand how the small rail bridge linking the main town to the bulk of this development can cope with the increase in road and pedestrian traffic in the morning rush hour – it’s crazy.

            Alan

  58. Albert Sillwood says:

    In July & August 2013, Baldock residents were asked to comment on the revised plans for an additional 147 hectares of land being proposed to allow a total of 3479 houses to be built north of Baldock. The consultation period finished on 2nd August 2013, and a revised plan was due to be released for further consultation in January 2014. It seems this plan has now been delayed until later in the year, possibly in the Spring.
    I think it is important that we keep up the pressure for further objections to this development which would increase the number of houses in Baldock by 65%, from 5500 to 9000. There is a Baldock Councillors meeting on Monday 3rd March, at the Community Centre, 7.15 for 7.30.
    It may be useful to attend to ask if there is any update re the revised plans.
    The Baldock Society (www.baldocksociety.org.uk ) have also arranged a meeting with the councillors for Thursday 15th May, 7.45 at the Baldock Community Centre. Again it may be useful to attend this meeting and ask if there is any update re the revised housing plans.
    In the Baldock Society’s September 2013 Newsletter (see their website for the newsletters), Michael Bingham gave a comprehensive response regarding the inadequacies of the land north of Baldock for the proposed houses.
    Whilst it is excellent that the Baldock Society give a response to the building of houses to the north of Baldock, it is also essential that everyone (taxpayers / voters) give their own response to the Councillors and the NHDC planning department, to show the strength of feeling in Baldock against this proposed development.

    • Albert Sillwood says:

      Fo info re the The Baldock Society (www.baldocksociety.org.uk ) who arranged a meeting with the councillors for Thursday 15th May 2014, 7.45 at the Baldock Community Centre, the councillors were unable to attend this meeting.

  59. Martin Impey says:

    TUESDAY 24th Sept – Channel 4 news 7pm.
    Save Rural Baldock’s Hayley gives interview to channel 4 tv news about the outrageous plans to level, build and lose forever our precious sacred arable greenbelt around our historic rural market town. Well done Hayley!

  60. Ben Glover says:

    Hello,

    Im trying to contact Martin Impey. I am doing a dissertation on the proposed housing developments in Baldock and would like to ask some questions to help with my research. If possible it would be nice to have a face to face meeting to discuss the new housing.

    Also, if anyone else wants to share their opinions on the developments, you can contact me via my email.

    benjamin.glover@students.plymouth.ac.uk

    Thanks.

  61. Nigel Williams says:

    I like the website, well done on putting together credible arguments 🙂

    I must ask though, what is the alternative that the campaign is putting forward? Affordable housing is a requirement everywhere (note I said affordable, not “social” as others have incorrectly stated) and whilst it is easy to object to plans, it is far more difficult to get somebody to ignore you as a campaign when you have a credible alternative.

  62. Albert says:

    A few weeks ago the Highways department resurfaced the footpath under the railway bridge on the northbound side. This made the footpath under the bridge wider and more usable.
    Unfortunately they did not clear the path leading north from the bridge to the crossing point. The earth embankment seems to have slipped onto the footpath making it quite narrow for someone with a pram & toddler. I would estimate the path could be made a foot wider by just clearing the earth from the existing pavement. Have emailed Michael Muir to see if the Highways department could do this. Alternatively a residents working party could do it quite quickly, but our taxes pay for the Highways dept.

    • Albert Sillwood says:

      In July 2014 the entrance to the new allotments field was moved nearer to the railway bridge on North Road, opposite the new notice board at the bottom of the ramp leading up to Larkins estate. At the same time the path on the west side of North Road was widened (earth removed covering the existing footpath), up to the small island, which allows pedestrians, mother with prams and toddlers, and disabled people in wheelchairs to cross the busy North Road to the east side.

  63. Christine says:

    Just been to Councillor Harris’s meeting for residents of East Baldock which includes us and Clothall Common amongst others. Quite an interesting meeting though turnout not huge. Lots of little local issues discussed like lighting of a cut-through from the Clothall Common estate, cyclesways in Baldock, nearby dog fouling, the need for a disabled toilet in Baldock, “speedwatch”, and bulb planting, and also the housing proposals.
    After some explanations on how these will progress, particularly from Michael Muir, John suggested we have another meeting in 2/3 months time to discuss just these and in more detail. So more later!

    • Albert says:

      As Christine says, it was a very useful meeting. Michael Muir and Tony Hunter also attended. They are both councillors for HCC and NHDC, so they have a foot in both camps. NHDC have now received the HCC plan and should be putting out a new document soon. NHDC will be reviewing the returned comments over the next few months. John & Michael suggested a meeting in a few months where they may be able to give more feedback.
      Two notice boards were discussed, one next to the shop in Clothall Common. A second was suggested north of the railway bridge, potentially at the bottom of the path leading up to Larkins estate. Michael Muir plans to progress this.
      There were several discussions regarding dog poo, including putting a little flag in them (thanks Christine).

  64. Albert says:

    On the NHDC page http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/index/leisure_and_culture/tourism_and_travel.htm
    it describes North Hertfordshire as a predominantly rural district and contains interesting market towns and numerous picturesque villages and hamlets. It is an attractive area in which to live and work, and has a wide variety of attractions including •museums and galleries, •historic markets, •parks and areas of natural beauty
    Why do they now want to change this.
    Will NHDC amend their own website and change this description.

  65. Christine says:

    Last night I emailed a letter to every one of our councillors on the list on council info page. Two swiftly replied to encourage me, if I hadn’t already done so, to fill in the questionnaire or email (link on home page) as March 28th IS THE DEADLINE.
    As to social housing, Hayley’s Telegraph article shows this is not set in stone – except perhaps in North Herts?

  66. Sacha says:

    The planners are so out of touch. It is stupid that they insist the builder referenced above has to provide social housing. Like I said – if Wimpey puts in planning they always get it! The council don’t want to help small builders/small businesses! Why they don’t develop other concrete jungles before this I do not know. So annoying. I have a copy of the letter you have drafted – it is very good. Well done! I am going to add a couple of notes to it and then pop back through your door.

  67. Caroline says:

    unbelievable – great photo with the push chair – could they be moved to the gallery page for extra prominence?
    (Great site btw)

  68. Chris Honey says:

    This looks a positive campaign. To see others go to:-
    http://www.hitchinforum.org.uk/housing-options-theissues-for-hitchin/ also
    http://www.westhitchinag.org.uk for strategic proposals.

  69. Caroline says:

    Does anyone have any pictures of the pathway under the bridge as I think that is one of the main areas we need to highlight? A potential addage of 800 people (plus) trying to access a path next to such high volumes of traffic where two people walking in the opposite direction can’t pass without stepping in the road has got to be worthy of a photo?

  70. Albert says:

    Did someone say NHDC / HCC were planning to plant a Hedge in the field north of Salisbury Road. If so, when and why?. Paid for by the Taxpayer?

  71. Caroline says:

    I have many dealings with NHDC planning and the whole department is getting a very damaged reputation with those that have to try and work with them. They consistently hamper progress on sensible needed developments and then barge full steam ahead with thoughtless plans like these. NHDC’s new affordable housing threshold means that of every 4 Market Sale properties built, 1 has to be affordable (shared ownership) or General Needs (Council Housing). Not a policy adopted by any other Councils that I work with. This means that only the huge builders will be able to make any profit on a scheme like this and be sure, in order to do this they will squeeze as many little redboxes as they can on the site – of low grade cheap housing, affecting the saleability of the local area and Baldock itself. A local builder are attempting to build out a scheme on the High Street and the Council are insisting that affordable housing goes on it even though the site was bought before this unadopted policy came into being. They have refused the very popular Market Sale only properties presented to them in the planning application making it unaffordable for the builder to continue. This is a totally viable site and would go towards making up some of the numbers that are needed to fill the housing need instead of dumping 400 houses on or near nateure reserves and agricultural land where there is no safe infrastructure for walkers let alone commuters. But this site will now, no doubt sit for months if not years looking like a derelict building whilst the builder and the council argue viability and affordability matters on a site bought before this rediculous threshold was brought in, whilst . Come on NHDC – work with your stakeholders and stop internal politics from blighting Baldock.

  72. christine says:

    have you seen the list of councillors on the links page? lets send a few emails to them to advise them of our views!

  73. christine says:

    Well done to Martin, and to Dick and Marie for all their hard work on the questionnaire. I’m sure Phase two will go well.

  74. Janice and Will Rayner says:

    We have spent all of our sunday catching up with everything that has been forward to Janices email since the beginning of this campaign, as we have been away and have been unable to get to any of the meetings. Great comments and hard work being done by saveruralbaldock. We have signed the petition and a letter will be in the post to NHDC with all our concernes.

  75. Meg says:

    I have written some thoughts about development and the green belt – please read them here http://www.saveruralbaldock.co.uk/?p=233 and discuss in the comments below!

  76. Sylvia James says:

    I fully endorse previous comments regarding traffic dangers on North Road. As an elderly, fit and active regular visitor to Baldock I frequently have to wait for heavy lorries to pass under the bridge before I feel it is safe to walk through. I am especially concerned for the parents and young children who would be in even more danger from increased heavy traffic to and from any permitted building works, even before new residences were occupied. There is already housing congestion close to the railway station, and inadequate parking.

  77. Sacha says:

    I have read through all of the comments and they are all valid. I live close to this proposed development and I spent 20 years or so living on the North Road. I am also a commuter! I cannot understand why this development is being put forward when there are other residential sites or ex employment land sites around the town that are derelict and/or in need of redevelopment. These sites often experience such problems when trying to obtain planning to build residential units. It is expensive and so wrapped in red tape. For example why have the concil dragged their heals on granting planning to build residental units on two sites in Icknield Way? Surely these locations should be redeveloped and the council should come to an agreement with the owner regarding number of units etc. I am certainly not against building as I see it as necessary, however, I do feel that the council should look at Baldock and identify sites that are not necesaarily in the countryside. Also out of interest – is the land owned by the council? If not is not a compulsory purchase by the council who wish to build the 400 houses? What’s the deal? Don’t tell mw Wimpey are building it! If so – it is a done deal! They always manage to getting planning after others have been turned down! Good luck with this. I am happy to sign. Just let me know how I go about doing this.

  78. christine says:

    Having spoken to one or two people about our campaign i’ve been struck by the number of locals who still haven’t looked at our website or even maybe haven’t registered that they will be affected by the proposals. And yet they have all been leafleted. Is it time now perhaps for us all to go next-door or to one or two of our own neighbours, and get them interested, tell them where to find the questionnaire etc?

    • Martin Impey says:

      Christine, I chatted to two more this morning and obtained their email addresses. (one in Larkins and the other in Salisbury) – I’m not stalking honest 😉
      I agree maybe we can organise a door to door – please can anyone who is up for that email me and we will organise into pairs and divide our delightful community up into manageable sections for us to campaign in.
      The 28th looms, so we must get our skates on. keep going everyone, we will make a difference.

  79. Emilie James says:

    I just wanted to comment on the amount of rubbish we had to trudge over to get to the spot for our Comet photo shoot yesterday. I was shocked by the amount of black grime, tin, plastic, paper, foil and cardboard items entwined in the grass verge that we walked over. It’s very concerning to think this litter will increase with much more traffic passing through…crawling through! This must impact the surrounding countryside, damaging nature and wildlife….and that was the pollution we could see!!

  80. Stuart Hammonds says:

    I’ve just updated the petition site with the following:
    While a group of local residents were gathered in the field off North Road just over an hour ago for a photo to go with an article in The Comet, our petition reached its century of signatures. Thanks to everyone for that, and the 25 or so who gave up their time for the picture. It is much appreciated. Now on for 200…and a meeting at 7.30pm tonight at the Old White Horse pub to help people fill in the NHDC questionnaires that are crucial to our fight.

  81. Martin Impey says:

    2pm today (Tues 19th March) – we are having a photographer from the Comet coming to photograph us standing in the field (behind Salisbury Road – on North Road). We will be meeting on the corner of Salisbury Road and North Road… please come along as many as you can gather – children welcome!!!

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!

  82. Christine says:

    Martin, funnily enough a few years back too, I asked a traffic policeman why they didn’t use a “hairdrier” speed gun on North Road. The average speed may be around 30 in and 40 out of town but we all know that some go through like a rocket. The policeman answered that oh no this road was too dangerous!

    As to out of date data I don’t understand either because there was a quite detailed survey done in November 2012 and these results were passed to the Highway Authority.

  83. Richard and Marie says:

    We have lived on North Road for over 20 years and here are our concerns about building 400 more houses to the north of the town
    1. We have watched the traffic congestion worsen on a yearly basis. The by-pass has exacerbated this. The only access into the town is under the railway bridge and most mornings and evenings traffic backs up to Mill Valley and beyond. This would worsen. Furthermore, increased traffic would encourage vehicles to use the single track Nortonbury Lane to access the town and severely compromise the nature and safety of this lane. A further concern is the dangerous downhill double bend at Mill Valley which would put at risk traffic and pedestrians using any proposed access road onto the proposed site.
    2. Pedestrians using the footpath to access the station and the town centre would be put at risk when using the too narrow footpath under the railway bridge. There have been pedestrians injured (including children) trying to use North Road in recent years.
    3. The Local Nature Reserve, the Scheduled Ancient Monument and its unique wildlife at Ivel Springs would be put at risk by the very close location of a large housing development. The site has a history stretching back more than 5,000 years and is a well used open space enhanced by surrounding farmland . It’s setting in open countryside encourages many species of wildlife and a large housing development so close could have a significant detrimental effect to such an ecologically sensitive area. The 1979 Act (Scheduled Ancient Monuments) emphasises the need for care with planning consent in these instances. Residents wishing to use this facility would have to cross the busy North Road.
    4. Green Belt land has been designated as such by the National Government and should remain green. This green barrier is there to protect the northern boundary of the town. This would be destroyed by any development and the distinctive nature of Baldock as an ‘historic market town’ would be compromised.
    5. Very good quality and accessible agricultural land would be lost for ever. Local farmers’ livelihood would be at risk.

  84. Martin Impey says:

    Does anyone know why, the road reports and surveys used for this proposed development is as out of date as 2008?

    • Jennie Vranjkovic says:

      Martin, here is the reply I received when I asked NHDC about the validity of the 2008 surveys. “The district council will need to satisfy itself that any site it proceeds with is deliverable. Some things change rapidly and others don’t – so studies based on the state of the current housing market would probably need reviewing relatively frequently, whilst studies of soil conditions probably don’t need reviewing too often. I fully anticipate the district council doing more work on transport modelling and the viability of schemes – there may well be other areas which need further work too that become apparent when we analyse the responses received to the current consultation.”

  85. arthur payne says:

    All the objections registerd on this website i endorse,my main concern is air pollution and noise, the proposed future building in this area is part of bigger picture, the county council has since 1969 planning what is lnown as the A1 corrider with urbanisation from the service station roundabout just north of Baldock to Stevenage and beyond.

  86. Albert Sillwood says:

    The railway bridge on North Road is low and narrow, with narrow footpaths. Pedestrians (including wheelchairs, prams and young children walking to school) are very close to the traffic going under the bridge and more houses would give a lot more pedestrian traffic. Walking under the bridge is not a pleasant experience especially after rain, when fast cars splash the pedestrians.

    • Lisa says:

      I totally agree it is already not a pleasant experience walking under the bridge with all the lorries and cars so close by.
      I just can’t imagine how the roads could possibly cope with all the extra traffic feeding onto an already congested road.
      I live in Larkins close a witness the congestion on north road on a daily basis.

      • Stuart says:

        It’s dangerous going under that bridge. If our children are on bikes or scooters we make them get off and push them from Bygrave Road until we’re out the other side. One slight loss of balance and they would be in serious trouble, the vehicles are so close. And I too have had many a soaking in the rain Albert, mainly from where the road surface is in such bad condition there are long trench-like dips that turn into pools! Increase in volume of traffic doesn’t bear thinking about for our small limb of the town.

        • Martin Impey says:

          Re – the footpath under the bridge (a few years back I requested safety rail/barriers to be installed as I said it was only a matter of time before a fatality happened. After looking into it The Highways agency actually reported back saying “The path was too narrow to fit a safety rail!!!” and if they did prams, buggies and wheelchairs would not fit on the path. SO NOTHING HAPPENED. Imagine this with an extra 419 homes worth of families and commuters using it as well!

  87. Albert Sillwood says:

    Excellent website, and some very good comments regarding the problems created by this development north of Baldock. Not only will agricultural land be given over to housing, but roads will need to be widened, and dug up to provide the infrastructure for these houses – for Gas, Electricity (with new sub-stations), water and sewage. Will the Ivel Springs sewage works be able to cope with the additional influx. The railway provides a barrier to enhanced roads from the north. For commuters, the Baldock station platform has not been lengthened (unlike Letchworth) and will not be able to take the longer trains planned for Royson and Letchworth. Rail commuting can only get worse.

    • Albert says:

      Checked at the Station today, and there are four trains with 12 carriages from Cambridge to Kings Cross each morning. They stop at the extended Royston and Letchworth stations, then Kings Cross. The Station Master does not know of any plans to extend the Baldock Station platforms.

  88. Martin Impey says:

    Great comments everyone so far – keep them coming!!!
    ALSO DON’T FORGET TO SIGN THE PETITION AS WELL.

  89. Christine says:

    Yes all the amenities and faciilities are on the other side of the traffic lights.

  90. Marion says:

    Can’t agree more with these comments. It takes me 10 minutes to get through the lights in the morning and that’s without cars from 400 extra houses around here. The roads this side of Baldock are just not suitable for such an expansion.

  91. Andy says:

    North Road is the one road that has not been relieved by the bypass. Traffic travelling south on A1, and wanting to travel on southbound A507, or east bound A505 still go through Baldock via North Road. The traffic at peak times is considerable. Additional housing in North East Baldock will exacerbate this. At the same time there will be safety issues. Cars from new housing will join North Road close to a blind summit and very close to a blind bend, with cars travelling at speed, in a lot of cases above the speed limit.

  92. Sue says:

    With the excess traffic in the mornings, I have to leave work at 7.10 to travel to Stevenage, if left any later I have difficulty actually exiting Salisbury Road,, so the thought of new houses built.. I dread the outcome..Totally agree with the above comments..Thankyou also for setting this site up.

  93. Sarah says:

    I agree with the above comments, to see the loss of countryside and the increase of traffic would be awful. Thank you for setting up this site, the more people that get involved to object will hopefully help.

  94. Christine says:

    You’re right about the doctors. It’s difficult to see how they’d cope. And as for the school, have you looked at the study on the documents page?

  95. Stuart says:

    You make some very valid points on the increased traffic resulting from any development to the farmland to the north-east part of Baldock, and of course the nature of the listed building status of the homes next to the Old White Horse traffic lights makes it impossible to increase capacity of that junction to ease the jams. These would certainly increase if the local population of the Salisbury/Bygrave Road area was quadrupled by 419 new homes.

    As well as the traffic, what of the implications for services like the already over-subscribed doctor’s surgery? Have you tried getting an appointment first thing in the morning or afternoon? The redial button might as well be a redirect to another town simply to see a GP! Then there is the impact on the highly-regarded schools in the town. Plans for a new primary school were aired at the recent NHDC council meeting but extra secondary education provision would involve, we were told, the expansion of Knights Templar School. That would no doubt see another green area swallowed up with a sports field disappearing under concrete.

    Then there is the issue of how a bulging Baldock population will be policed – by a police station that has long been closed!

    The loss of such a beautiful, tranquil piece of Hertfordshire countryside to urban sprawl would be a sad move for an historic market town like Baldock that simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to cope.

  96. christine says:

    I am opposed to the development of land adjacent to Salisbury Road Baldock indicated as B/r23, B/r11a, B/r2a, B/r1a for the following reasons.

    This is Green Belt land. In United Kingdom town planning, the green belt is a policy for controlling urban growth. The idea is for a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open, and consequently the most important attribute of green belts is their openness.

    This green belt land very much does what it says on the tin.

    Access on to a road with very heavy traffic flow and congestion
    There is no road into the land at present and the only existing road allowing access to B/r23 is North Road, the old A1 or Great North Road. This connects the A1 with the town of Baldock and the western side of Baldock via the A507. When the Baldock bypass was built (opened 2006) no account was taken of this East/West traffic and it is still as heavy as ever if not heavier (about 50,000 vehicle movements per week of which over a 1000 are lorries over 7.5 tons). At rush hour the traffic comes to a halt and there is often congestion from about 800m out of Baldock to the traffic lights. On the way the traffic has to pass both Bygrave Road and Salisbury Road and would have to pass the new access road. Delays into Baldock are exascerbated by lorries turning left at the traffic lights, a very tight squeeze past a listed building which has been hit several times. Also a few times each year (8 in 2011/2012) large lorries hit the low railway bridge on North Road/ Station Road which causes huge tail backs and delays for rail passengers while the bridge is cleared and pronounced safe.

    These two things alone are enough to make me feel that this is not a suitable position for this development.

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