3/C Eagle Wing
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Key House
2 The Square

14 January 2020

Your ref: APP/J1915/W/19/3240279
Winchester Close, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 4JQ

1. I am writing on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation in respect of the appeal against the refusal of planning permission of the above application, to ask that the Inspector confirm the decision of East Herts Council as planning authority that planning permission should not be granted.

2. Thorley Park was developed as a major urban extension of Bishop’s Stortford in the 1970’s and 1980’s and Winchester Close forms part of that development. Careful thought was given at the time of that development to housing density, the layout of the residential streets and, most importantly, the provision of green spaces both to provide connecting routes between parts of the development and to the town centre, and local recreational areas to support the clusters of housing which do not themselves have very big gardens.

3. Regrettably, not all these green spaces were adopted by the local authority on completion of the development (although it does maintain them) and we understand that a number of them have been sold off by the liquidators of Carillion to purchasers who appear to have chosen to acquire the sites on a speculative basis. This is simply one among a number of applications in Thorley Park where the applicant hopes to convert land that has been treated as public open space and has been enjoyed as such by the public for many years into private development. As a result, if this appeal were to be upheld, it would open the floodgates to similar applications, which would cite this case as a precedent. No development of this kind offers any benefit to the public – on the contrary erosion of these green spaces would be detrimental both to the immediate neighbours of the sites and to the overall character of the development which, by today’s standards, is a model of its kind.

4. We therefore agree that the decision of East Herts Council is entirely appropriate, for the reasons given in its decision notice dated 24 September 2019. We would also urge that the Inspector pays particular attention to the representations made by Mrs Alyson Bailey, Vice Chair of Thorley Manor Residents’ Association to East Herts Council which explain in more detail the value which people in the immediate neighbourhood attach to this open space, and the loss of amenity which would occur if development were to be permitted.

5. I should be grateful if you could draw this letter to the attention of the Inspector dealing with this case.

Yours faithfully

John Rhodes