This submission is on behalf of the Ellenbrook Area Residents Association.
EARA represents over 500 dwellings in the area bounded by St Albans Road West, Wilkins Green Lane, Ellenbrook Lane, Comet Way and Ashbury Close. The submission has been approved by the Committee of EARA and was circulated to residents on the EARA mailing list to allow them to comment prior to submission.
EARA would like to submit their objection to four sites surrounding the Ellenbrook area
EARA would also like to register their disappointment that the above four sites which were previously excluded in the 2016 Local Plan submission and in particular the sites rejected by the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment 2016 (HELAA) have been allowed to be resubmitted. EARA does not understand how a site can be rejected as being unsuitable for development previously but can be allowed to be promoted again despite there being no change in the site characteristics or reasons for rejections.
Ellenbrook Area Residents Association has previously campaigned against development on the four proposed sites in the Ellenbrook area, 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 four sites were unsuitable for development, for reasons which still stand including issues involving access, flooding, and heritage, reduction of green belt and loss of the country park.
We believe that our heritage is under threat from the proposed developments in the area. There are seven listed buildings on Wilkins Green Lane (Great Nast Hyde House, Torilla, Nast Hyde Farm, Nast Hyde Barns, Nast Hyde Cottage, Forge Cottage and Old Forge), all close to Hat4, Hat19 and Hat3. This is an extraordinary piece of history under threat by developers. Wilkin’s Green is included in the 2019 Hatfield Heritage Assessment as a “key designated heritage asset” and the assessment says “inappropriate development would be detrimental and could result in the loss of the dispersed settlement character. It could also affect the relationship between the listed buildings and the arable land, which contributes to the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the heritage assets.” Therefore we believe that it is really important for the whole of Hatfield that these important heritage assets are protected.
Objections to Hat 4 - Wilkins Green Lane
Location of site Environment Agency Flood Risk Map
Traffic and access
Access to the site is poor as Wilkins Green Lane is a single track width road with no pavement. The adjoining road Ellenbrook Lane is also narrow with pavement on one side only. It has been accepted and stated in HELAA 2016 that significant highways upgrades would be required to accommodate additional residential development along Wilkins Green Lane, changing the character of the road from “rural” to “urban”.
Any development would require substantial work to cope with the increased traffic (including the vehicles necessary to develop the sites). This would be difficult given the proximity of residents' driveways, drainage ditches (which provide important protection from flooding) and the Ellenbrook which runs the full length of Ellenbrook Lane. In addition, we do not believe that any amount of work could secure safe access and avoid destruction of the local rural environment. This would be completely unacceptable to local residents, and people from further afield, who use this rural lane for dog walking, cycling, horse riding and exercise. We also understand that Wilkins Green Lane is not up to the standards as required by the Fire and Rescue Service due to the lane being too narrow and its weight bearing capacity not being adequate for a fire appliance.
Additional traffic from any development along Wilkins Green Lane would be fed onto St Albans Road West. This main route between St Albans and Hatfield is already heavily congested with traffic jams every day; any increase in traffic along this road would exacerbate the existing problems. The A414 Strategy clearly states that “there is limited scope to enhance the A1057 to provide additional capacity and this may not be desirable from a place and movement perspective which should aim to give greater priority to the local functions of the road and discourage the use of the road for through trips”.
Adjoining roads Selwyn Avenue, Crescent and Drive would become “rat runs”
Flooding is a big concern to residents. The site is adjoining a flood plain and this development would result in a significant loss of permeable land, and increase drainage into the Ellenbrook, thus increasing the flooding risk. Part of the site is in flood zone 2 and 3 (see above map).
The entire length of Ellenbrook Lane linking the site to the A1057 is also within flood zone 3B, already therefore an issue for potential flooding. There are a number of culverts along Ellenbrook Lane, and whilst blockages of these culverts would be outside the promoter’s control, they would exacerbate the flood risk and this would affect the proposed site and its access.
We understand that areas within Flood Zones 2 and 3 should only be considered for development when there are no areas available in Flood Zone 1.
Part of the site adjacent to Ellenbrook Lane and Wilkins Green Lane are subject to surface water flood risk (both the 1 in 30 year and 1 in 100 year extents).
There are regular floods in the fields adjoining the site and along Wilkins Green Lane and Ellenbrook Lane evidenced in the photos below.
The photographs below show the extent and depth of flooding in the area.
Flooding of Hat4