Monthly Archives: January 2013

Last chance to make your voice heard

keep green belt and save Hatfield garden villageTime is running out to tell the Council about any objections you may have to the Proposed Core Strategy.

So if you DO want to save our Hatfield green belt and DON’T want heavily congested roads, increased crime, longer waiting times to get into Dentists and GP’s, no decent schools for your children, etc. then please get your comments registered with the council.

Don’t think that your voice is not important, it really is. If we don’t get enough residents filling out the forms on paper or online then we have very little chance of making any difference. Every single one of you is needed, don’t think that you don’t need to do it because your neighbours have, they haven’t. We are still way short of the amount of comments that we need to make the Council sit up and listen.

If you are having any problems filling out the forms (you are not the only one!), online or on paper then please get in touch with any of the committee and we will help you. The Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council seem to have made it as difficult as possible! Remember that every single member of your household is allowed to comment.

If you have completed a paper form but have not had time to drop it into the Council, then please give it to one of the committee and we will make sure that it gets there.

The close date for getting your comment registered is tomorrow 31st January 2013, at 4:45 pm.

To get in touch with the committee click here.

For information on how to get your comment registered click here.

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January 30, 2013 · 8:19 am

CPRE briefing note

CPRE briefing note – taken from the CPRE website


CPRE Hertfordshire urges residents of Welwyn Hatfield and the neighbouring areas in St.  Albans and East Herts, to respond to Welwyn Hatfield Council’s current consultation  because of the potential impact of its proposals for new Housing on the Green Belt. The  documents raise important issues which we feel should be drawn to public attention.  The wide press support, and public interest in the ‘No Way To 10K’ campaign only a  couple of years ago, in which the community in Welwyn Hatfield expressed its opposition  to development in the Green Belt, means we are hopeful that residents will make their  views on the consultation known to the Council and their Councillors. The consultation  period runs until the 31 January 2013.

The Documents

Two documents are out for consultation: an ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ and ‘Land For  Housing Outside The Urban Areas’. The first is the Council’s proposed overall strategy for  the development of Welwyn Hatfield until 2029. The second sets out potential  development sites in the Green Belt.

The two documents have to be read together in order to understand the proposals – regrettably neither document makes this clear.

The main reason why they need to be read together is because the ‘Emerging Core  Strategy’ contains information which amplifies the significance of the potential  development sites that are in the ‘Land For Housing Outside The Urban Areas’ document,  which in turn raises questions about the proposed ‘Strategy’.


Key Points

Paragraph 1.26 of ‘Land For Housing Outside The Urban Areas’ states that  the ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ proposes the setting of a requirement for 7,200 new houses  up to 2029, 6,800 of which would be provided in Welwyn Hatfield, with the balance being  built on adjoining land in St. Albans and East Herts Districts.To meet this target, some of  the 6,800 houses would have to be built in the Green Belt.

In order to ensure that Green Belt boundaries will not need to be moved again after 2029,  the document states that even more Green Belt land will have to be set aside for  development, but this is not quantified. Only by going to the ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ do  you find out in paragraph 5.13 that the actual target is for 9,200 new houses, most of  which would have to be built in the Green Belt.

This very important point is not made clear. Paragraph 6.24 merely states that around 45%  of all new housing would take place on previously-developed land. That surely means that  55% (over 5,000 houses) would have to be built on Green Belt land.

‘Land For Housing Outside The Urban Areas’ sets out nine sites which, in total, could  accommodate 6,480 houses in the Green Belt. This rises to 6,940 if the potential areas in  St. Albans and East Herts are also included. The Council declares that five of those sites  are “not suitable to take forward”, so why is the Council including them in the consultation  if it has already discounted them?

Policy CS4 in the ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ identifies ‘Broad Areas of Growth’ to the northeast  of Welwyn Garden City at Panshanger Airfield (WGC 4) and between Hatfield Garden  Village and Stanborough (HAT 1), which suggests that the Council intends to include  these, whatever the outcome of the consultation. This in effect leaves only two sites, West  of Ellenbrook (HAT 3) and South of Welwyn Garden City (WGC1), on which genuine  consultation appears to be taking place.

All of the Council’s favoured sites taken together could contribute a total of 3,015 houses  in the Welwyn Hatfield Green Belt (3,535 if the proposed expansions into St Albans and  East Herts are included). If the figure proposed in the ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ is really  5,960, where is the shortfall to be found? Shouldn’t that be part of the consultation?  In reality, consultation on ‘Land For Housing Outside Urban Areas’ is only on a first release  of development sites in the Green Belt. Although we believe the Council would have to  repeat this process in order to justify development of another wave of additional housing  sites in the Green Belt, CPRE Hertfordshire considers that Welwyn Hatfield should be  transparent now about the consequences of its proposed strategy for the Green Belt.

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January 28, 2013 · 12:30 pm

CPRE – “True threat to green belt not spelt out in Welwyn Hatfield consultations”

The following press release has been taken from the CPRE Hertfordshire website –

10 January 2013



Two documents with a deadline of 31 January are out for consultation in the Welwyn Hatfield  area. The ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ is the Council’s proposed overall strategy for the  development of Welwyn Hatfield until 2029. ‘Land for Housing Outside the Urban Areas’ sets  out the council’s preferred development sites in the Green Belt. Countryside campaigners  CPRE Hertfordshire urge residents of Welwyn Hatfield and the neighbouring areas in St.  Albans and East Herts, to respond to both because of the potential impact of their proposals  for new Housing on the Green Belt.

 The ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ proposes a target of 7,200 new houses up to 2029, 6,800 of  which would be in Welwyn Hatfield, and 400 on adjoining land in St. Albans and East Herts  Districts. However the Council wishes to set a further target to provide land for an additional  2,000 new houses which would have to be built in the Green Belt. This extra land is to ensure  that Green Belt boundaries would not be changed again immediately after 2029. In total this  would mean over 5,000 new houses in the Green Belt.

So, in reality, consultation on ‘Land For Housing Outside Urban Areas’ is only about a first  release of development sites in the Green Belt. We believe the Council would have to repeat  the current process in future in order to justify the further wave of additional housing sites in  the Green Belt beyond 2029.

This major consequence of the Council’s proposals is not clear unless the two consultation  documents are read together. Regrettably neither of them makes this clear. CPRE  Hertfordshire is calling for Welwyn Hatfield to be transparent about the full consequences for  the Green Belt of its proposed strategy.

Standing up for Hertfordshire’s Countryside  CPRE Hertfordshire  31a Church Street,  Welwyn,  HERTS AL6 9LW  email:  01438 717587

Kevin Fitzgerald, CPRE Hertfordshire Honorary Director, noted: ‘The wide press support and public interest in the ‘No Way To 10K’ campaign only a couple of  years ago, when people in Welwyn Hatfield opposed development in the Green Belt, means  we are hopeful that residents will make their views known to the Council and their  Councillors, and persuade them to be up front about their proposals, and reconsider them.’ CPRE Hertfordshire has prepared a short briefing note on the consultation which is available  on its website, and urges people to have their say before the Council’s  31 January deadline.

Briefing Note Attached – ends, Notes to Editors follow – Notes to Editors

1. CPRE Hertfordshire’s principal aim is to safeguard the natural environment of the county,  especially the Green Belt and other protected areas. We also seek to protect the built  environment, particularly historic settlements and buildings. Our President is Sir Simon Bowes  Lyon, KCVO. We have around 1800 members.

2. CPRE Hertfordshire is the County Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. CPRE fights  for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect,  shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our  members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up  for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations.  Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.

3. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Kevin FitzGerald, Hon. Director, CPRE Hertfordshire,  tel. 07949 338044, email

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January 28, 2013 · 12:19 pm

Core Strategy Deadline

Emerging Core StrategyPlease note: You only have until 4:45 p.m. on 31st January to register your comments on the Core Strategy documents.

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January 26, 2013 · 3:07 pm

Good attendance at Garden Village Preservation Society meeting

The Garden Village Preservation Society held another well attended Hatfield residents meeting last night 23rd January.

A big thank you to all who attended, to the refreshment volunteers, and to those of you who have donated money or have volunteered to help in the future. We really appreciate your support and generosity.

Please remember to spread the word, far and wide, and get as many people as you can to send in their comments either online or on the paper forms. We only have 7 days left until the end of the consultation period.

If you need any help with completing your forms, either online or on the paper versions, then please get in touch here with any of the committee members and we will help you.

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January 24, 2013 · 9:34 am

GVPS open letter to the Hatfield Welwyn Borough Council

keep green belt and save hatfield garden villageOpen letter to:

John Dean, Leader of the Council

Chris Conway, Director (Strategy and Development)

On behalf of the Garden Village Preservation Society and the residents of Hatfield Garden Village


Dear Sirs

In early December 2012 we discovered that Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council had put forward a proposal to build over 2,000 homes on the Green Belt land surrounding Hatfield Garden Village, an increase of approximately 200%.The proposal would increase the population by between 6000-8000 people.

Over the past six weeks or so we have created the Garden Village Preservation Society, formed a committee, held various residents’ meetings, started fund-raising and set up a website, Facebook page, blog, forum and Twitter account. We have done this to inform the local community of the council’s intentions, share relevant information and unite the residents in what we expect to be a long battle to fight the proposals.

As the council have failed to keep us informed of a proposal which will have a detrimental effect on our way of life (and I include the presentation on the 15th January in this failure, at which the planning department personnel were unable to answer most of the questions raised by the residents who attended), I am now formally requesting a response to the following questions:


1) Hatfield Garden Village has already been expanded by over 200% in the past 10 years. Do you think it’s reasonable to expect the residents to suffer a further, even larger expansion?

2) When the previous expansion was presented we were promised major improvements in the local infrastructure. This included a new town centre, a training hospital and a community centre, none of which has happened. As any resident will tell you, our local resources are stretched to the limit. Why can’t the council guarantee each element of the required infrastructure?

3) Between 2003 and 2009 the WHBC Capital Commitments showed £7,164,000 was spent on WGC whilst only £284,000 was spent on Hatfield. How can this disparity be justified?

4) According to our MP, Grant Shapps, the council has been approached by Lafarge on a number of occasions with regard to the area known as WGC5 and its potential for housing. Mr Shapps has been told by Lafarge that the concerns that were originally expressed by the council have now been addressed and the area is now suitable for house building. I understand that this location is suitable for approximately 4,000 new homes. Will the council now reconsider their decision regarding WGC5?

5) The current proposals show two main sites for development: Panshanger and Hatfield Garden Village. The size of these developments would have a serious impact on the local communities and their infrastructure. It has been suggested that the developments should be spread more evenly throughout the borough. Whilst we understand that the cost implications for this approach could be restrictive, we wonder if the location of the councillors’ own properties had some influence on the current proposals? (Our research has shown that none of the 48 borough councillors lives within any of the proposed areas.)

6) According to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s report, Housing the Future, the government has been using a set of data, to calculate future housing requirements, that is out of date and contains immigration anomalies. The government is also using predictions as opposed to forecasts (the latter being far more accurate, being based on a larger data set). The CPRE states that the government is using a system of “predict and provide” as opposed to “plan, monitor and manage”. This all suggests a knee-jerk reaction to what could be wildly inaccurate information and a set of predictions which could become self-fulfilling. How has the council calculated the requirement for housing in the borough over the next sixteen years?

7) According to most recent forecasts from the Office for National Statistics, the population in the UK is set to grow by 14% between now and 2029. If 7,200 new homes are built in the borough in the same period (using an average of three people per home), we are looking at a population increase of approximately 19%. Why are we expected to take more than our fair share of the increase?

8) According to Mr Shapps, the new accommodation at the University will see a net increase of 1,500 residences, thereby releasing the same number of residences for private rental in the borough. Mr Shapps told us that this new accommodation has not been taken into account when calculating the requirement for new homes. Why not?

9) How much land in the borough is currently being held by building companies that they will not build on as it is uneconomical to do so?

10) There are over 600 empty houses in the borough. What is the council doing to encourage landlords to make these available?

11) The National Planning Policy Framework states that “Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances.” In addition to this, the government (including the last two housing ministers) have categorically stated that no homes would be build on Green Belt land. Why do your proposals contain sites (including the Garden Village) that are on Green Belt land?
The residents of Hatfield Garden Village would appreciate your responses to the above questions.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ward
Chairman, Garden Village Preservation Society


January 22, 2013 · 12:31 pm

Residents meeting tomorrow Wed 23rd January

keep green belt and save hatfield garden villageThe Garden Village Preservation Society will be holding another Hatfield residents meeting tomorrow evening, Wednesday 23rd January, at Green Lanes School (main hall), 7:30pm. We will be discussing what we have accomplished so far, what our next plans are, and we will be listening to your suggestions.

With only 9 days to go until the end of the public consultation, it is imperative that as many Hatfield residents as possible, register their comments. If you have not yet submitted your comments online, or on the paper forms, then we can help you with that. If you have found the commenting process complicated, then you are not alone, many residents have the same complaint. All of the committee members will be wearing labels, so please just come up to any one of us and ask for help.

Following the meeting there will be tea, coffee and biscuits, and a chance to meet and mingle. There will be councillors in attendance so you will have an opportunity to have an informal chat to them, if you have not already done so.

Please attend, we need all of you.

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January 22, 2013 · 8:20 am