Development Management
East Herts Council
Pegs Lane
SG13 8EQ 23 March 2020
Dear Sir or Madam

YOUR REF: 3/20/0245/FUL – Erection of 61 dwellings (including 24 affordable dwellings) accessed from Manor Links.

  1. I am writing on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation to make representations about this application to build 61 dwellings east of Manor Links, Bishop’s Stortford.
  2. Generally, we believe that the proposals have been framed so as to be sympathetic to the existing development in the area, and we are pleased to see that they include bungalows which are a form of residential development in short supply in Bishop’s Stortford.
  3. We are, however, concerned about the number of dwellings proposed for this scheme which represents a 22% increase on the allocation for the site included in the recently adopted District Plan. While the absolute number of extra dwellings is small (11) it does reflect a worrying trend seen in all recent applications in Bishop’s Stortford which treat the site allocations in the District Plan as the starting point from which to bid up the number.
  4. East Herts Council has more than a 5 year land supply for housing – most of it being provided in Bishop’s Stortford. Bishop’s Stortford is already destined to provide 25% of the housing for the whole of the District over the Plan period, a volume far in excess of the demand arising in the town and surrounding area. No planning argument has been advanced to increase the allocation for Bishop’s Stortford in total or on this site in particular. Indeed, since the District Plan was adopted, fresh household projections have been published which suggest that demand for new housing across the District as whole should lead to a requirement of some 2500 fewer dwellings than the total included in the District Plan.
  5. We estimate that planning permissions already granted, applications outstanding (including this one) and applications which can reasonably be expected (such as on land no longer required for JMI school provision at Bishop’s Stortford North) would lead to around an extra 650 dwellings for Bishop’s Stortford compared with to total of 4426 included in the District Plan – an increase of nearly 15%. The town’s highways infrastructure and social infrastructure (such as schools and health service provision) are seriously overloaded. It is time that the development management function of East Herts Council made it clear to developers that the dwelling numbers allocated to particular sites in the in the District Plan should be the ones that they work to. To do otherwise would undermine the value and credibility of the Plan.
  6. We hope therefore that the Council as planning authority will encourage the developer to revise their proposals so as to conform with the dwelling total of ‘around 50’ as set out in Policy BISH9 of the District Plan.

Yours faithfully

John Rhodes