East Herts Council
SG13 8EQ 2 April 2020
Your ref: 3/20/0344/FUL – Erection of 18 new family dwellings (9 semi-detached/terraced; and 9 detached) and 46 parking spaces. Railway Meadow, London Road, Spellbrook, Hertfordshire.
Dear Sir or Madam
- I am writing on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation to object to this application to build 18 dwellings at London Road, Spellbrook.
- While Spellbrook lies some distance to the south of Bishop’s Stortford, the Civic Federation is concerned about the possible adverse impact that this proposal would have on Bishop’s Stortford. The recently completed Transport Assessment for the application to redevelop the site of the Boys’ High School (your ref: 3/20/0151/OUT) showed that already committed development at Bishop’s Stortford South and the Station Goods Yard, together with background traffic growth, would bring traffic on the southern part of the Bishop’s Stortford road network to a complete standstill in the morning and evening peaks. The adverse impact would be so severe that Herts Highways recommended that permission for the High School site redevelopment should be refused.
- The site which is the subject of this application would direct more traffic to use the same part of the road network, either to gain access to the facilities in the centre of Bishop’s Stortford or to continue a journey to the M11, the A120 or Stansted Airport. This application therefore should also be refused on grounds of unacceptable traffic generation.
- We are also concerned about the impact on the Green Belt, within which this site is located. Having lost a large area of Green Belt land in Bishop’s Stortford to development through the adoption of the District Plan, we are concerned that there should be no further losses or encroachment into the land which continues to enjoy Green Belt protection. Under para 143 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances. The site in question was designated as being wholly within the Green Belt in the adopted District Plan. This supersedes any previous planning history on the site and no very special circumstances exist which would justify development of this site.
- However, an exception to the presumption against development in the Green Belt is made for limited infilling in villages. In the adopted District Plan, Spellbrook is classed as a Group 2 village and, like the NPPF, under policy VILL2 II, the Plan envisages the possibility of limited infill development. Under Policy VILL2 V any such development should
Relate well to the village in terms of location, layout and connectivity.
Not represent the loss of a significant open space or gap important to the form and/or setting of the village.
Not unacceptably block important views or vistas and/or detract from the openness of the countryside.
- In our view, this application fails all of these tests. The proposed development would occupy much of the site, closing an important space or gap, and detracting from the openness of the countryside. It cannot be regarded as limited infill, since existing development forms a ribbon along London Road with no extensions behind the dwellings fronting the road. Moreover, the layout is completely at odds with all the development around it with even the houses on London Road being serviced by a new access road to the east of it and the proposed London Road ‘frontage’ actually being the back gardens of the properties.
- We trust therefore that you will refuse permission for this application.