About the Local Plan

The revised Local Plan states the number and locations of houses that the council propose to be built in and around North Hertfordshire, including Baldock and Bygrave, up until 2031. It will include some high level policies about how those houses should be built and other planning issues, covering topics such as transport, employment, town centre design and types of housing.

Revised Plan for Baldock July 2016

North Hertfordshire Local Plan

Extracts from Working draft for Full Council – 20 July 2016

The text below has been taken from the documents published on the North Herts District Council website. It is repeated here to give a flavour of the Baldock specific references. For full context, please refer to the original documents.

Baldock

Introduction

1.13     Baldock is a market town near the source of the River Ivel. It lies on the site of a Roman town which stood at the junction of the Icknield Way and the Roman roads to Godmanchester, Braughing, and St Albans. The site of the Roman town appears to have been abandoned after the Roman withdrawal; the modern town was founded by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century on an area of land which formerly belonged to Weston. A parish was created for the new town which covered a relatively small area. The town’s original parish boundaries were Icknield Way to the north, Station Road / Clothall Road to the east, South Road / Crabtree Lane to the south and Weston Way / Norton Road to the west. Baldock has since grown beyond those medieval boundaries to take in areas which formerly belonged to Norton, Bygrave, Clothall, Weston and Willian.

1.14     Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City and Baldock lie very close to each other and have strong relationships linking them in terms of housing markets and job movements. That said, each town retains a distinct identity of its own. The needs for development arising from the three towns are comparatively high, but the gaps separating the towns are small and of great importance if the town’s urban areas and identities are to be kept distinct. Managing growth in this relatively developed part of the District whilst allowing each town to retain its identity is one of the challenges to be addressed.

1.15     At the 2011 census the population of Baldock (defined as the unparished area) was 10,280, and there were 4,491 dwellings in the town.

Role in settlement hierarchy

1.16     Baldock is classed as a town in Policy SP2: Settlement Hierarchy. A boundary for the town is shown on the Proposals Map. Beyond this boundary is classed as Green Belt.

Heritage

1.17     Baldock has one conservation area, covering the town centre and older parts of the town. Most of the town’s listed buildings are on one of the four streets radiating from the Town Hall crossroads: Hitchin Street, Church Street, Whitehorse Street and High Street. The parish church of St Mary is a Grade I listed building.

1.18     Baldock also has an important history as a Roman settlement, which was centred on Walls Field to the east of the town centre, which is a scheduled ancient monument. A large area around this is also of archaeological significance.

Housing

1.19     8 housing sites are allocated in and around Baldock. These will deliver an estimated 3,436 new homes (3,136 during the plan period to 2031). A further 154 new homes have been built or granted planning permission since the start of the plan period in 2011.

                                                                                                                   Dwelling estimate 

           Total allocated sites*                                                                      3,436 homes

           Completions and permissions                                                       154 homes

          Total allocated, completed and permitted 2011-2031*       3,290 homes

* Land North of Baldock is allocated for 2,800 homes in total with 2,500 of these anticipated to be completed by 2031. 

Ref      Strategic Housing Sites                                                    Dwelling estimate 

BA1               Land North of Baldock (see Policy SP14)**                2,800 homes  

                            **This has been reproduced below in blue

Ref      Local Housing Allocations and site specific criteria     Dwelling estimate

BA2               Land west of Clothall Road (Clothall parish)      200 homes

  • Creation of appropriate, defensible Green Belt boundary along south-western perimeter of site;
  • Appropriate mitigation measures for noise associated with the A505 to potentially include insulation and orientation of living spaces;
  • Proposals to be informed by a site-specific landscape assessment;
  • Preliminary Risk Assessment to identify any contamination associated with previous uses including mitigation;
  • Consider and mitigate against potential adverse impacts upon Weston Hills Local Wildlife Site;
  • Heritage impact assessment (including assessment of significance) and sensitive design to ensure appropriate protection of adjacent Scheduled Ancient Monument; and
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development.

BA3               Land south of Clothall Common (Clothall parish)         200 homes

  • Deliver, in combination with Site BA4, a southern link road connecting Wallington Road to B656 Royston Road;
  • Site layout to take account of existing wastewater infrastructure;
  • Appropriate solution for short- and long-term education requirements having regard to up-to-date assessments of need;
  • Appropriate mitigation measures for noise associated with the A505 to potentially include insulation and orientation of living spaces;
  • Incorporate alignment of former Wallington Road and Bridleway Clothall 027 as green corridor along northern perimeter of site;
  • Incorporate ordinary watercourses (and any appropriate measures) within comprehensive green infrastructure and / or SUDs approach;
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution;
  • Proposals to be informed by a site-specific landscape assessment;
  • Heritage impact assessment (including assessment of significance) and sensitive design to ensure appropriate protection of adjacent Scheduled Ancient Monument; and
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development.

BA4               Land east of Clothall Common (part in Clothall parish)   95 homes

  • Deliver, in combination with Site BA3, a southern link road connecting Wallington Road to B656 Royston Road
  • Site layout to take account of existing wastewater infrastructure
  • Incorporate ordinary watercourses (and any appropriate measures) within comprehensive green infrastructure and / or SUDs approach;
  • Proposals to be informed by a site-specific landscape assessment;
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development.

BA5              Land off Yeomanry Drive                                      25 homes

  • Site layout to take account of existing wastewater infrastructure;
  • Incorporate ordinary watercourses (and any appropriate measures) within comprehensive green infrastructure and / or SUDs approach;
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution;
  • Appropriate treatment of south-eastern and south-western boundaries to maintain access to, and integrity of, Footpath Baldock 036;
  • Heritage impact assessment (including assessment of significance) and sensitive design to ensure appropriate protection of adjacent Scheduled Ancient Monument; and
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development.

BA6               Land at Icknield Way                                             26 homes

  • Site layout to take account of existing wastewater infrastructure
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution;
  • Investigate and provide adequate mitigation measures/remediation for contamination where identified from previous employment use;
  • Incorporate footpath Baldock 001 through the site
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development;
  • Adequate mitigation measures for noise associated with the railway to potentially include insulation and orientation of living spaces; and  Sensitive design to respect setting of Baldock Conservation Area.

BA7              Land rear of Clare Crescent                                 20 homes

  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development;
  • Preliminary Risk Assessment to identify any contamination associated with previous uses including mitigation;
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution;

BA8 &           Works, Station Road and adjoining Raban Court          50 homes

BA9                            Sensitive design to enhance the setting of Baldock Conservation Area and adjacent Raban Court listed building;

  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any runoff through SUDs or other appropriate solution;
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development;
  • Investigate and provide adequate mitigation measures/remediation for contamination where identified from previous employment use;
  • Site to be accessed from Icknield Way East;
  • Adequate mitigation measures for noise associated with the railway to potentially include insulation and appropriate orientation of living spaces; and
  • Investigate and provide adequate mitigation measures/remediation for contamination associated with previous use.

BA11            Deans Yard, South Road                                       20 homes

  • Heritage impact assessment (including assessment of significance) and sensitive design to ensure appropriate protection of adjacent Scheduled Ancient Monument; and
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development;
  • Sensitive design to enhance the setting of Building of Local Interest;
  • Investigate and provide adequate mitigation measures/remediation for contamination associated with previous use;

Economy

1.20     The town’s current employment areas are relatively modest. In part this is due to the town’s close proximity to the major employment area east of Letchworth Garden City. This plan proposes extending the current small employment area on Royston Road into a larger business park to take advantage of the good location close to the junction with the bypass and within reasonably close proximity of the railway station and town centre.

1.21     In order to help deliver additional local jobs in the District in combination with residential development over the plan period, policy SP3 identifies that 19.6 hectares of employment land should be allocated at Baldock. Given the site’s location adjacent to the A505 it provides an ideal location for employment development and it is considered this will allow for future growth over the plan period.

New employment allocation

   BA10            Royston Road                                                        19.6

  • Ensure access arrangements control HGV movements to direct vehicles towards the A505 rather than through Baldock.
  • Address existing surface water flood risk issues, including any run-off through SUDs or other appropriate solution
  • Provide adequate mitigation measures for noise associated with the railway line and for any potential employment activity in relation to Clothall Common;
  • Archaeological survey to be completed prior to development; Designated employment areas

   BE1              Bondor Business Centre                                         2.5

              BE2              Royston Road                                                          3.3

Parts of employment areas designated for business use only

BB1              Bondor Business Centre East                                 1.0

1.22     Baldock’s town centre provides for day to day shopping, with a range of shops mostly along High Street and Whitehorse Street and a large supermarket on the edge of the town centre. A traditional street market is held in the High Street on Wednesdays, whilst specialist farmers and craft markets are occasionally held. Baldock has been bypassed twice: first by the north-south A1 in the 1963 and then by the east-west A505 in 2006. Following the second bypass’s opening a programme of enhancement works were carried out to the town centre improving the quality of the street-scene.

1.23     The shops along High Street and Whitehorse Street lie within the designated town centre. Proposals here will be determined in line with our detailed policies on shopping frontages.

Infrastructure & mitigation 

1.24     It is anticipated  that development of the large, greenfield sites around Baldock will occur sequentially with those to the south of the town coming forward first and being used to support some of the upfront costs associated with our Strategic Housing Site to the north of Baldock.

1.25     Over the plan period, the education requirement for Baldock will see up 8FE of additional schools provision. The exact configuration of the education infrastructure is still to be finalised.

1.26     With regards to primary provision it is likely that 2FE will be provided south of the railway and 6FE to the north.

1.27     Our Strategic Policy for north of Baldock sets out our expectations in relation to that site, including provision of a new secondary school.

1.28     Ahead of, or alongside this, some expansion of Knights Templar School may be possible. Equally, it may be necessary to include some secondary provision to the south of the town in the short- to medium-term until the longterm arrangements are finalised and put in place.

1.29     The Station Road / Clothall Road / Royston Road junction is identified as pinch point in the Council’s transport modelling. Provision of a new road associated with BA1 linking the A507 with the A505 will help mitigate this issue enabling movement from north to east without the need to use the junction.

1.30     Additionally a southern link road is also proposed to enable the development of BA3 and BA4 but also improving connectivity to the south of the town providing the ability to bypass this junction.

1.31     For much of its length, the A505 Baldock Bypass provides the most appropriate, defensible Green Belt boundary to the south of the town. This requires the removal of some land to the south of Wallington Road lying outside of the allocated housing areas and which should generally remain undeveloped. Our detailed policies set out the approach we will take to areas of Urban Open Land.

1.32     Heritage and archaeology are key considerations in Baldock owing to the rich history of the settlement. It is considered that sites closest to the scheduled ancient monuments (namely BA2, BA3, BA5 and BA11) can avoid substantial harm to the significance of this asset. Sensitive design will be a critical factor in the development of these sites.

1.33     The mapped extent of surface water flooding, illustrates a potential issue in Baldock, although this may not reflect the true nature of the extent of flooding in the area. SUDs techniques will need to be employed to ensure that the issue is adequately mitigated and risk is not increased to other areas.

——————————————————————————-

Extract…

Policy SP14: Site BA1 – North of Baldock
Land to the north of Baldock, as shown on the Proposals Map, is allocated as a Strategic Housing Site for a new neighbourhood of approximately 2,800 homes. Planning permission for residential-led development will be granted where the following site-specific requirements are met:

a.     A site masterplan to be approved prior to the submission of any detailed matters;

b.     A new local centre along with additional neighbourhood-level provision providing around 500m2 (net) class A1 convenience retail provision and 1,400m2 (net) of other A-class floorspace;

c.     Structural planting to create a sense of place, integration into surrounding landscape and to reinforce a long-term, defensible Green

Belt boundary to the north and east;

d.     A new link road connecting the A507 London Road to the A505 Baldock bypass including a new bridge across the railway;

e.     Sustainable transport measures to include:

i.            A secondary rail crossing for pedestrians and cyclists in the vicinity of Ashville Way;

ii.           Safe access routes to / from, and upgrades to, Baldock station; 

iii.          Sensitive integration of Bridleway Baldock 034 / Bygrave 002 as a north-south route through the development; and

iv.         The use of Bygrave Road / Ashwell Road from the southwestern edge of the allocated site to the link road as a sustainable transport corridor

f.      At least 28 serviced plots for self-build development;

g.     A community hall and GP surgery;

h.     Up to 6 forms of entry (FE) of additional primary-age and secondary age education provision;

i.       Address existing surface water flood risk issues, particularly to the south of Ashwell Road, through SUDs or other appropriate solution;

j.       Appropriate mitigation, compensation and / or enhancement of key features of biodiversity including:

i.            Ivel Springs Local Nature Reserve;

ii.           Bygrave Road local wildlife site; and

iii.          Identified protected species and priority habitats;

k.     Built development contained to the south and south-west of the ridgeline that generally extends eastwards from the A507 south of

Blackhorse Farm and southwards from Ashwell Road; and

l.       Sensitive treatment of heritage assets and their settings including:

i.            An access solution from the A507 London Road which satisfactorily addresses potential impacts;

ii.           Retaining framed views of St Mary’s Church from within and beyond the site; and

iii.          Using the location of areas of archaeological significance to inform a site-wide green infrastructure strategy.

SP14.1 Land to the north of Baldock is the largest, single development site allocated through this plan. A total of 2,800 homes can be accommodated here, 2,500 of which are anticipated to be built within the plan period to 2031.

SP14.2 The location of the site, and the way in which Baldock has historically developed, enables substantial new development within relatively close proximity to both the train station and Baldock town centre.

SP14.3 This site enables growth to meet needs arising from the surrounding areas in such a way that does not erode the narrow gaps between the towns of Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City and Baldock.

SP14.4 The site is also large enough to support new schools, local facilities and a new link road, including an additional road bridge over the railway so that not all traffic has to use the Station Road bridge and the White Horse crossroads.

SP14.5 A range of sustainable transport measures will be required. Critically, this will include measures that allow safe access to the northern side of Baldock station and the town centre as well as routes through the development to provide access to the wider countryside for all Baldock residents.  

SP14.6 To the north, the allocation extends to the line of Bridleway Bygrave 001. This right of way is considered the most appropriate long-term, defensible boundary for the Green Belt[1]. Additional planting may be required to reinforce its role. However, there is a clear ridgeline located approximately 200 metres to the south of this which is considered the most appropriate limit for built development.

SP14.7 To the south of the ridgeline, the site faces towards the existing town. To the north it relates to the countryside beyond. This area would be most appropriate for the provision of some types of open space, school playing fields and / or replacement habitat where it creates an appropriate transition between the rural and urban. 

SP14.8 Along the eastern edge, the boundary to the north of Ashwell Road is defined by a field boundary hedgerow which should be reinforced. The boundary and ridgeline to the south of Ashwell Road are less well defined.

SP14.9 The masterplanning process should address these issues and, where possible, mitigate against adverse impacts upon the wider landscape.

SP14.10 The site and surrounding area has been specifically identified as (potentially) hosting a variety of habitats and species protected by legislation. This includes the corn bunting[2]. Appropriate measures will be required as part of any application. This may range from the localised retention of habitats on-site to biodiversity offsetting. This is where habitats lost are re-provided at an appropriate alternate location.

SP14.11 Baldock and its surrounds are home to a wide-range of heritage assets. This includes sites associated with ancient settlements, the town centre Conservation Area and a range of individually listed buildings.

[1] Green Belt Review (NHDC, 2016)

[2] Blackhorse Farm, Baldock. Guidance Note; Corn Bunting (BSG Ecology, 2016)

5 Responses to About the Local Plan

  1. Jon Bishop says:

    Hi there,
    I hope you’re well. I was just browsing through saveruralbaldock.co.uk and I firstly wanted to say how great the site is. It’s such a useful resource.

    I also noticed that you link to the website Campaign to Protect Rural England. They are a fantastic site and it’s fantastic to see the work they’re doing and the support they have from people like yourself.

    As someone who likes interesting resources I thought you might be interested in something I recently created. I’ve put together a data visualisation all about farming in the UK. I’d love to know what you think. I’d be more than happy to send it over if you’re interested.

    Keep up the great work,

    Jon

  2. Paul Edwards says:

    Baldock will change beyond recognition, loosing much of it’s unique character and charm. I don’t want to see this happen.

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

    Update on Draft Local Plan-Preferred Options
    I said in a number of recent interviews and in my response to various emails that I would release information as soon as available so copied below is the text of a press release released this morning which does have the updated figures for Baldock which as I said is substantially less than those currently in circulation.
    As and when the detail is finalised this will also be published and I will either post a link or copy here.
    Cllr. David Levett
    Portfolio Holder Planning and Enterprise
    North Hertfordshire District Council
    Email: david@dlevett.co.uk

    Draft housing allocations unveiled for North Hertfordshire Local Plan

    The emerging preferred options for the allocation of land for housing in North Hertfordshire were presented at a Councillor briefing last night (15).
    The draft housing allocations were discussed in advance of a Full Council meeting on 27 November, when Councillors will be asked to agree for consultation on a draft Local Plan – Preferred Options, for the period 2011-2031. Consultation would then be held during December and January where comments will be welcomed from the public, interest groups and potential developers. The results of the consultation will be used to prepare the final version of the Draft Local Plan to be put forward, following a further consultation, for examination by the Planning Inspectorate next year.
    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, which we are required to do under the National Planning Policy Framework.
    The plan will identify sites for housing and employment across each of North Hertfordshire’s towns and villages. It will also contain a new suite of policies to be used when determining planning applications.
    The majority of new development will be focused around North Hertfordshire’s towns, to make maximum use of existing facilities, social networks and infrastructure. As some of the sites proposed will be substantial new communities, the Council will prepare masterplans for those sites. The masterplans will consider the infrastructure and facilities necessary to support the development, opportunities to provide employment, and incorporation of open spaces.
    Cllr David Levett, NHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise said: “We need new homes in North Hertfordshire to meet the needs of our growing population, to ensure the district’s economic prosperity and that our families have somewhere to live. However those homes must be sustainable, viable, and deliverable and also ensure that the unique nature of North Hertfordshire, which makes it one of the best places to live in the country, is protected.
    “We have given careful consideration to the proposed sites and want to reassure people that all sites will be suitably planned with the accompanying infrastructure and local amenities necessary to create thriving communities, particularly in the case of the major sites which will each require a masterplan to ensure these are delivered.
    “Following the meeting of Full Council on 27 November, we will be seeking the views of the public on the draft Local Plan – Preferred Options, and we would encourage everyone to have their say.”

    Draft allocated key housing sites and estimated dwellings (inclusive of completions since 2011 and permissions at 1 April 2014) for North Hertfordshire
    • Baldock – Nine sites have been allocated in and around Baldock, including one of 2,800 dwellings at the Blackhorse Farm site, north of the town. The estimated total number of dwellings for the plan period is 3,591. A masterplan for the Blackhorse Farm site will be prepared to include the provision of a new road and pedestrian bridge across the railway, adequate new schools including a secondary school and a new neighbourhood centre.
    • Great Ashby and North East of Stevenage – Two sites are allocated for an estimated 857 additional dwellings.
    • Hitchin – Nine sites are allocated in and around Hitchin. The town is estimated to see 1,342 additional dwellings over the plan period. The largest site is for 484 dwellings on land at Highover Farm. The Priory Fields site is not included in the allocated sites.
    • Letchworth Garden City – 11 sites are allocated in Letchworth, the largest of which being land north of Letchworth with an estimated 1,000 dwellings. The total number of dwellings to be delivered is estimated to be 2,030. A masterplan will be prepared for the site north of Letchworth .
    • Royston – Eight sites are allocated in Royston with the total number of dwellings estimated at 1,485.
    • Stevenage North – One site on undeveloped farm land in the parish of Graveley is allocated as a housing site with an estimated 1,000 dwellings. A masterplan will be prepared for the site jointly with Stevenage Borough Council, which controls the adjoining land in the South.

    National Planning Policy Framework Duty to Cooperate on Unmet Need
    • Cockernhoe and East of Luton – Three sites have been identified for up to 2,103 dwellings for this area, to meet possible needs arising from Luton rather than North Hertfordshire. A masterplan will be prepared for all three sites to consider issues such as minimising visual impacts of development, access into Luton, adequate new schools, a new neighbourhood centre and ensure any development meets Luton’s specific needs.

  4. Sam Collett says:

    Hi,

    I have found out about this plan via a post on G+. I am sure there are many other residents of Baldock who are not aware of this planned action.

    I would like to know a way where I can keep updated with the meetings etc which are taking place. Do you have a mailing list or some way so that we can all be kept in the loop?

    Thanks

    sam

    • Adrienne Waterfield says:

      Hi Sam

      Everything that we know about is being put up on this website.
      Facebook (facebook.com/saveruralbaldock) and twitter (SRBaldock) are being regularly updated too.

      Please sign the petition and, to help spread the word, there is a new poster available to print and display. Also, the Community Projects tab has updates on other activities.

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