East Herts Council
23 February 2019
Sent by email
Dear Sir or Madam
BISHOP’S STORTFORD SOUTH Your ref: 3/18/2253/OUT
I am writing on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation to object to this amended application. The amendments leave the substance of the scheme unchanged and do nothing to address the grounds of objection set out in our letter of 14 November 2018 and which for your convenience are summarised below:
- The site has been removed from the Green Belt in the teeth of the opposition of the local population and overturns all previous planning assessments of the site.
- The housing total for the district which this development would help to meet has been invalidated by a 14% reduction in forecast household formation. It is surplus to requirements both for the district and for the needs of the population of Bishop’s Stortford.
- The development would be incompatible with the policy VILL3 in the District Plan under which Thorley is classed as a Group 3 village where only limited infill development will be permitted.
- The Masterplan for the site has not been prepared in accordance with the requirements in the District Plan of policies DES1 and BISH5 and is not fit for purpose. It is particularly surprising that Bishop’s Stortford Town Council has played no part in its formulation.
- The suggested road layout of the development is not compatible with the policies for BSS in NP2 and is likely to lead to serious congestion in and around the site.
- Relocation of the Boys High School to the site will not address the prospective shortfall in secondary school places, and may foreclose any remaining options for meeting that demand.
- The development should not be allowed to proceed without provision of purpose built health facilities on site.
- The transport assessment displays major shortcomings in its understanding of current traffic conditions and of how other developments will impact on them.
- The mitigation proposed is wholly inadequate and for the most part likely to be ephemeral in its impact. Serious congestion will result on roads which are not capable of handling extra traffic.
We understand that a consultation period of only two weeks has been allowed to enable this application to be treated as a matter of routine business at the March meeting of the Development Management Committee. This is wholly unsatisfactory. For other planning applications of this scale (such as Bishop’s Stortford North and the Station Goods Yard) a special meeting of the Committee has been held in Bishop’s Stortford to enable that application to be examined as a single item of business and a much longer time than a token three minutes allowed for supporters and objectors to address the Committee. We see no reason for treating this application differently, particularly in view of the shortcomings in the Master planning process which we set out in our previous letter of objection. We also find it surprising, in view of the conspicuous shortcomings in the transport assessment that, at the time of writing, no formal response from the Highway authority appears on the EHDC website.
As explained in our previous letter of objection, there is no objective justification for this scheme, and certainly no urgent need to bring any part of this site forward for development. We therefore suggest that the Council postpones consideration of this scheme until a special meeting can be arranged in Bishop’s Stortford. This would have the added benefit of allowing a longer period of consultation on the amendments to the scheme as well as giving respondents the opportunity to reflect of the advice of the Highway authority when it is received.
Failing that, if the Development Management Committee is asked to consider the application at its March meeting, we trust that planning permission will be refused.