IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL RESIDENTS WHBC CALL FOR DEVELOPMENT SITES IN THE ELLENBROOK AREA

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL RESIDENTS

WHBC​​ CALL FOR DEVELOPMENT SITES IN THE ELLENBROOK AREA

Dear Residents

You may be aware that following an inspector’s review of the Local Plan​​ (housing development)​​ submitted by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council​​ (WHBC), the inspectors have stated that the number of proposed housing developments as agreed by WHBC does not meet the government targets. In order to increase the number of potential developments WHBC has called for landowners to propose additional sites for consideration for development.​​ 

Despite the​​ proposed​​ sites in Ellenbrook area being​​ previously​​ excluded the landowners have resubmitted four sites​​ in our area​​ again for​​ consideration.​​ 

These are:

  • Wilkins Green Lane (Hat 4), the field adjoining the playground

  • Land off​​ Bramble Road (Hat 19), the strip of land beside the​​ Great​​ Nast Hyde driveway from St Albans​​ Road West to​​ Great​​ Nast Hyde House (accessed from Bramble Road)

  • Land​​ near​​ Great​​ Nast Hyde / St Albans Road West (Hat 3), the field on St Albans Road West bordered by​​ Great​​ Nast Hyde driveway and Wilkins Green Lane

  • Land on the Ellenbrook Country Park (Hat 2)

Hat 4 Wilkins Green Lane     Hat 19 off Bramble Road

Hat19.jpeg (1)

Hat4.jpeg​​ 

Hat2.jpeg

Hat 3 near Great Nast Hyde Hat 2 on Ellenbrook Country Park​​ 

Hat3.jpeg (1)

 

 

 

 

Ellenbrook Area Residents​​ Association​​ successfully campaigned against development on these four​​ proposals​​ in the previous call for sites, but yet again our open space is under threat from developers attempting to build on green belt land without any benefit for our local community.

We strongly believe that Ellenbrook has taken its fair share of housing development over the last 20 years with​​ thousands of​​ houses​​ already​​ built on the old aerodrome site. The Council decided in 2012 and again​​ in​​ 2016 that these sites were unsuitable for development, for reasons which still stand including access, flooding,​​ heritage,​​ reduction of green belt and loss of the country park. ​​ 

EARA will be preparing a response to the call for sites over the next few weeks but if you wish to comment on any of the proposed sites please feel free to do so via the council portal​​ at​​ 

http://consult.welhat.gov.uk/portal/planning_policy/consultation_may_2019/local_plan_sites_consultation_may_2019?pointId=5378957#document-5378957

​​ The deadline for submission is​​ 18 June.

If you need more information please email info@ellenbrookresidents.org

Below are some of the key points that​​ you​​ may wish to use.​​ You don’t have to use them all, and can add your own​​ comments

HAT4 – Wilkins Green Lane

Traffic and access​​ 

  • Access is poor - Wilkins Green Lane is a single track width road with no pavement. Significant highways upgrade would be required to accommodate additional residential development changing character of road from “rural” to “urban”.

  • St Albans Road West is already very busy with traffic jams every day; any increase in traffic along this road would exacerbate the existing problems.

  • Selwyn Avenue, Crescent and Drive would become “rat runs”

Flooding

  • The site is adjoining a flood plain, this development would mean a significant loss of permeable land

  • There are regular floods in the fields​​ adjoining the site, and local lanes flood

  • Additional housing would increase drainage into the Ellenbrook and increase the risk of flooding

 

Rural scene

  • There is a nearby Wildlife Site “Copse at Nast Hyde” and many animals and birds live in the fields and hedgerows (eg herons, buzzards, muntjacs, foxes, woodpeckers, snakes are seen in the area).

  • The fields are agricultural land, used to grow wheat

  • There are mature trees (oak, ash, sycamore and​​ hazel)​​ and thick hedgerows which could be ruined. It will not be possible to retain the trees and hedgerows along the site if the road is to be improved

Heritage

  • There are four listed buildings along Wilkins Green Lane (Great Nast Hyde House,​​ Tortilla, Nast Hyde Farm and Nast Hyde Barns) unacceptably close to the proposed development.  ​​​​ 

  • Development of Hat4 would adversely impact on the quality of the lane and the setting of the closest Grade II* house Torilla. It would also have the potential to harm the setting of the other nearby grade II listed buildings. Given the national significance of Torilla and other listed buildings, English Heritage​​ previously​​ recommended that Hat4 should not be brought forward for development due to the potential for significant negative harm to the historic environment.

Facilities

  • The area has no services or facilities of its own - the town centre with shops and doctors surgeries is around 1.5 miles away, the railway station is over 2 miles away. There are no schools nearby.​​ The site​​ is​​ not big enough to provide any new facilities for the community eg a local shop or doctors

Green Belt

  • The area is an important part of the narrow green Belt between Hatfield and St Albans

  • The green belt boundary would have to be altered which should only happen in exceptional circumstances

Fairness ​​ 

  • Thousands of​​ new dwellings have​​ already​​ been built in Hatfield since 2001.

  • Thousands​​ more are allocated to Hatfield in​​ the​​ Local Plan. This is an unfair distribution of the houses that are needed across the​​ borough. ​​ Hatfield should not have even more development to make up for other areas.​​ 

 

Any Benefits? ​​ 

  • As far as we can see there are no benefits to Ellenbrook residents.

  • New residents would have houses in an area prone to flood, with poor access and facilities, reliant on cars,​​ and, at the edges, subject to severe traffic noise​​ and pollution​​ from Comet Way, A1(M),​​ A414​​ and St Albans Road West. ​​ 

  • Existing residents would have lost the rural feel of the area with no compensating facilities or benefits

  • There is a loss to the wider population. The lanes are used by dog walkers, runners, horse riders, and cyclists from further afield – this would be impossible with extra traffic. ​​ 

  • Only the landowner would benefit from developing this land.

 

 

HAT 19​​ and HAT3​​ – Land off Bramble Road and land near Great Nast Hyde (note these two sites are adjacent)​​ 

Green Belt

  • Any development on this site would reduce the fragile gap between St Albans and Hatfield. ​​ The​​ gap​​ is very small at this point and this development would have a severe impact on the green belt, significantly narrowing the​​ green space​​ between 1st tier settlements.

  • The green belt boundary would have to be altered which should only happen in exceptional circumstances

Traffic,​​ access, noise and air pollution​​ 

  • Access to​​ Hat19​​ would be from Bramble Road, increasing the traffic flow through Bramble Road significantly and increasing the pressure on exiting from the area from Poplars Avenue, which already poses a challenge for residents of these roads. ​​ 

  • Access to Hat3 would be from St Albans Road West, close to a stretch of road that has already had speed traffic cameras installed due to the high number of incidents along this stretch of very busy road.​​ 

  • St Albans Road West is already very busy with traffic jams every​​ day;​​ any access and egress to Hat 19 and Hat3​​ would exacerbate the existing problems.

  • Traffic noise and air pollution​​ will increase​​ from​​ additional and more congested traffic​​ from and caused by the new sites.​​ 

  • The previous assessment of these​​ sites​​ identified that due​​ to its proximity to the A1057 which is​​ an already congested stretch of highway, an air quality and noise survey and report would be required to demonstrate that appropriate mitigation measures could deliver a residential development with a healthy internal and external environment. This confirms that​​ air and noise pollution is likely to be​​ an issue for local residents.​​ 

Heritage

  • There are four listed buildings very close to the development. In particular the site would border Great Nast Hyde House. Nast Hyde Farm, Nast Hyde Barns and Torilla are all unacceptably close to the proposed development.  ​​​​ 

  • Development of Hat19 would adversely impact on the setting of the closest Grade II* Great Nast Hyde House​​ which has national historical​​ significance. ​​ Any development so close may have​​ potential for significant negative harm to the historic environment.

Rural scene

  • There is a nearby Wildlife Site “Copse at Nast Hyde” and many animals and birds live in the fields and hedgerows (eg herons, buzzards, muntjacs, foxes, woodpeckers, snakes are seen in the area).

  • There are protected butterflies​​ and​​ other protected​​ species in the fields​​ 

  • The fields are agricultural land​​ and provide a​​ rural farmland setting area between the listed farm buildings and Great Nast Hyde House, forming an integral part of their setting. Any development would impact on the setting and result in substantial harm to the area.​​ 

  • There are mature trees (oak, ash, sycamore and hazel ) and thick hedgerows which will be ruined along with old / rough grassland which exists within the site, which currently offers a​​ natural habitat for reptiles and amphibians due to its proximity to ponds on the site and as such has a great ecological value.​​ 

Facilities

  • The area has no services or facilities of its own - the town centre with shops and doctors surgeries is around 1.5 miles away, the railway station is over 2 miles away. There are no schools nearby. The site is not big enough to provide any new facilities for the community eg a local shop or doctors

Fairness ​​ 

  • Thousands of new dwellings have already been built in Hatfield since 2001.

  • Thousands​​ more are allocated to Hatfield in the Local Plan. This is an unfair distribution of the houses that are needed across the borough. ​​ Hatfield should not have even more development to make up for other areas.​​ 

Any Benefits? ​​ 

  • As far as we can see there are no benefits to Ellenbrook residents.​​ 

  • Existing residents would have lost the rural feel of the area with no compensating facilities or benefits

  • Any development will impact on the scarce heritage assets that we have in the area.​​ 

  • The pressure on traffic along the A1057 will be unacceptable and the increase in noise and air pollution​​ will be​​ unacceptable for new and existing residents.​​ 

  • Only the landowner would benefit from developing this land.

HAT2​​ – Land on Ellenbrook Country Park

Green belt / loss of our country park

  • This development will mean​​ the loss of the vast majority of​​ the​​ open space for residents as promised in the 1999 planning permission​​ (following the closure of the aerodrome); the​​ Ellenbrook country park is a vital part of the community, supporting the health and well-being of the residents of Hatfield. 

  • This development will significantly reduce the green belt between St Albans and Hatfield. The original planning permission for this area following the closure of the aerodrome made it clear that no further expansion towards St Albans should occur to reduce the green belt. There is no reason why this principle as set out clearly in the original permission for​​ aerodrome​​ development should be ignored, overwritten and not complied with.​​ 

 

Traffic, access, noise and air pollution​​ 

  • The development on Hat2 is for 1100 houses in​​ the​​ Hatfield​​ Garden Villages area​​ which has already seen an​​ excessive concentration of housing development​​ over the last 20 years

  • An extra 1100 houses will have a significant​​ impact​​ on local traffic and air / noise pollution. Traffic will inevitably increase on the A1057, an already severely congested road.​​ 

  • The volume of recent, current, and proposed new developments for the area will place an intolerable burden on the road network, using the single carriageway roads between St Albans and Hatfield along Sandpit Lane, Coopers Green Lane, Hatfield Garden Village, St Albans Road West and Hatfield Road. A number of these roads are country lanes and are narrow, winding and dangerous.

  • The cumulative impact on traffic, noise and air pollution for existing and proposed developments must be considered as part of any assessment.​​ 

Pollution​​ 

  • Any building on this site may increase​​ the potential risk to our drinking water​​ caused by development on a site where bromate is present​​ 

 

Flooding

  • Historically the whole site has a flood problem, with the land sloping towards the South East, i.e. towards the Ellenbrook area.​​ 

  • The cumulative effect of the new development at Hat2 and the proposed quarry will contribute to flooding in low lying areas near the University, A1057 roundabout, and along the Ellenbrook river.​​  The act of concreting over such a large area of land for housing and therefore reducing significantly the permeable area available will only exacerbate this issue and put the area at a greater risk of flooding.​​ 

Rural scene

  • Many animals and birds live in the fields and hedgerows eg herons, buzzards, muntjacs, foxes, woodpeckers, snakes are seen in the area

  • Many parts of the site have ecological value​​ which​​ would be lost if​​ developed​​ 

Fairness ​​ 

  • Hat2 covers a very large area comprising of 67.5 hectares (the size of 94 football pitches!) which covers 40% of the country park

  • If the gravel extraction plan goes​​ ahead​​ that will take​​ 50% of the existing country park

  • Residents will have just 10% of the current Ellenbrook Country Park. This is completely against the original Section 106 agreement agreed by the council

  • Thousands of new dwellings have already been built in Hatfield since 2001.

  • Thousands​​ more are allocated to Hatfield in the Local Plan. This is an unfair distribution of the houses that are needed across the borough. ​​ Hatfield should not have even more development to make up for other areas.​​ 

 

Any Benefits? ​​ 

  • As far as we can see there are no benefits to Ellenbrook residents.​​ 

  • The loss of the​​ majority of the​​ Ellenbrook Country Park and​​ the reneging on the Section 106 agreement as part of the planning permission for the creation of the Country Park for local residents​​ is completely unacceptable

  • Another huge development in the area will put more pressure on the existing infrastructure.​​ 

  • Hatfield has taken its fair share of housing development for the borough

  • Only the landowner would benefit from developing this land.

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