By Email
Development Management
East Herts Council
Pegs Lane
SG13 8EQ 25 September 2020
Dear Sir or Madam

3/19/1237/FUL Residential development for 50 dwellings …
3/20/1622/OUT Outline planning application for development of the site for 100 dwellings…

I am writing on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation to comment on these applications. I realise that the former application was submitted some time ago, but I believe that it has not yet been determined and so I hope that you will be able to take account of these comments before doing so.

Policy BISH1 of the District Plan provides for around 2529 homes to be built at Bishop’s Stortford North (BSN), comprising 2200 on ASR’s 1-4 and 329 on ASR 5. It also provides for 247 homes to be built on the adjacent site at Patmore Close, which has received planning permission.

Policy BISH3 provided inter alia for two 2 FE JMI schools on ASR’s 1-4 and a 1 FE JMI school on ASR 5. For BSN as a whole, this would be consistent with the metric which Herts County Council (HCC) use to calculate the demand created for school places by new development of 1 FE per 500 dwellings. Since then, they have decided to replace one of the 2 FE schools and the 1 FE school with a single 3 FE school which is under construction on a former allotment site which was not included in the original BSN planning permissions. Ostensibly, this leaves those sites as being surplus to requirements for educational purposes.

Since then, however, Countryside Properties have amended their proposals (Your Ref: 3/18/0652/OUT) to increase the total number of dwellings on the site by 140. The application does not appear to have been determined yet. Immediately next to ASR 5 on Rye Street, a development of 30 dwellings is nearing completion which does not fall within the BSN suite of planning permissions or any of the District Plan policies, but is additional to them. Countryside Properties have applied to build 50 homes on the site previously reserved for a I FE school (3/19/1237/FUL). If both of Countryside Properties applications were to be approved, there would be an additional 220 dwellings in this part of Bishop’s Stortford.

Application 3/20/1622/OUT is for 100 dwellings to be built on the site previously reserved for a 2 FE school. If this were to be approved, then the total of additional dwellings on BSN and immediately adjacent sites would be as follows:

Patmore Close 247
ASR’s 1-4 100
ASR 5 190
Rye Street 30
Total 567
Clearly, therefore, the total demand for additional JMI school places in the area would rise from the 5 FE being provided for to 6 FE. HCC’s policy is that all JMI pupils should be able to access a school place within walking distance of their home, and for wider transport policy reasons too, driving children to school by car should be discouraged as far as possible. So the additional school places need to be provided on one of the BSN sites. If all the outstanding applications were to be granted permission, that would no longer be possible. At least one of the two sites referenced at the head of this letter should therefore not be released for housing unless and until HCC have explained how it is intended that the additional demand for JMI places in the area will be satisfied.

Yours faithfully

John Rhodes