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PUBLIC MEETING ON THE DRAFT LOCAL PLAN WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER, 7.30pm AT THE VILLAGE HALL

posted Oct 3, 2016, 8:35 AM by Tim Dix

Local Plan

Friday, 30 September 2016 00:00 administrator
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PUBLIC MEETING ON THE DRAFT LOCAL PLAN

WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER, 7.30pm AT THE VILLAGE HALL

Please come along and lend your support.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's draft Local Plan is open for consulation until 5pm on Monday 24th October.

150 houses are designated to be built on Green Belt land behind Marshalls. The Entech site at the north west of the village has been designated as employment land only even though the owners are proposing to build 75 houses on the site along with shops, including a convenience store, with employnent units above. The Parish Council favour the Entech site for development as it would be more reasonable growth; 12.5% rather than 25%, provide facilities for residents and preserve the Green Belt.

It is important that everyone who supports this view submits comments to the consultation which can be accessed here:

http://www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan

The following may help you form your response:

You will be asked if the Draft Local Plan is sound and if your answer is “no” you will be asked if it is “positively prepared”, justified”, “effective” and “consistent with national policy”.

Woolmer Green, Paragraph 16.3, Policy SADM 27, Policies Map 1.
• Argue that “exceptional circumstances” do not exist to redefine the Green Belt boundary in Woolmer Green when a Brownfield site is available for development.
• Say that the site HS15 makes a “significant contribution” to the Green Belt and is part of the “fragile gap” that separates Woolmer Green from Knebworth.
• Argue that it is not possible to mitigate the visual impact of the development on the HS15 site when it is clearly visible from the Rights of Way on high ground to the south east of the village.
• Likewise argue it is not possible to mitigate the visual impact of the development on the setting of the Grade II listed Payne’s Farm.
• Explain the benefits that developing the Entech site (EA10) will bring to the village.ie housing, employment, shops including a much needed convenience store.
• Say the Entech site at EA10 is not viable as business land as it needs huge investment that is not likely for a village location.
• Argue that a convenience store on the Brownfield site would be sustainable as it is located on the main road.
• Say Woolmer Green will be adversely affected by development in Knebworth (600 houses in North Herts Local Plan) and Stevenage. (8,000 dwellings in Stevenage Borough Council’s Local Plan).
Economy, Paragraph 10.4, Policy SADM 10, Policies Map 1.
• State that the Entech site has been underutilised for many years and that it would need to be completely redeveloped requiring huge investment that is unlikely to be forthcoming.
• Argue that the Entech site at EA10 is not viable as business land as large businesses want to be located in towns where there are good transport links and a range of facilities.
• Say that large scale businesses are not suitable for small villages where their operations cause problems to residents.
• Argue that the amount of land allocated for employment in Woolmer Green is disproportionate.
• Say that small scale businesses are more appropriate for a village.

 

Contact

Janet Pearce, Parish Clerk

Woolmer Green Parish Council 

Village Hall, Hall Lane, Woolmer Green, SG3 6XA

Tips for an effective response to the Consultation

posted Sep 26, 2016, 2:47 AM by Tim Dix   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 8:33 AM ]

You can reply to the consultation online via the consultation portal:

http://www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan

or by filling in the relevant form obtainable from the Parish Council

You will be asked if the Draft Local Plan is sound and if your answer is “no” you will be asked if it is “positively prepared”, justified”, “effective” and “consistent with national policy”.

Woolmer Green, Paragraph 16.3, Policy SADM 27, Policies Map 1.

·            Argue that “exceptional circumstances” do not exist to redefine the Green Belt boundary in Woolmer Green when a Brownfield site is available for development.

·            Say that the site HS15 makes a “significant contribution” to the Green Belt and is part of the “fragile gap” that separates Woolmer Green from Knebworth.

·            Argue that it is not possible to mitigate the visual impact of the development on the HS15 site when it is clearly visible from the Rights of Way on high ground to the south east of the village.

·            Likewise argue it is not possible to mitigate the visual impact of the development on the setting of the Grade II listed Payne’s Farm.

·            Explain the benefits that developing the Entech site (EA10) will bring to the village.ie housing, employment, shops including a much needed convenience store.

·            Say the Entech site at EA10 is not viable as business land as it needs huge investment that is not likely for a village location.

·            Argue that a convenience store on the Brownfield site would be sustainable as it is located on the main road.

·            Say Woolmer Green will be adversely affected by development in Knebworth (400 houses in North Herts Local Plan) and Stevenage. (8,000 dwellings in Stevenage Borough Council’s Local Plan).

  Economy, Paragraph 10.4, Policy SADM 10, Policies Map 1.

·            State that the Entech site has been underutilised for many years and that it would need to be completely redeveloped requiring huge investment that is unlikely to be forthcoming.

·            Argue that the Entech site at EA10 is not viable as business land as large businesses want to be located in towns where there are good transport links and a range of facilities.

·            Say that large scale businesses are not suitable for small villages where their operations cause problems to residents.

·            Argue that the amount of land allocated for employment in Woolmer Green is disproportionate.

·            Say that small scale businesses are more appropriate for a village.


Villagers worry of ‘chaotic’ traffic after housing plans approved

posted Aug 26, 2016, 2:22 AM by Tim Dix

Welwyn Hatfield TimesWoolmer Green resident John Gair

Earlier this month councillors accepted officers’ recommended sites for the draft Local Plan, which included plans for around 150 homes in the village.

If they get the thumbs-up later in the planning process, the homes will be built east of Great North Road on Paynes Farm. A small farm shop is also included in the blueprint, as there is currently no village convenience store.

Garden Road resident Geoff Cox, 78, a retired electrician, said he is “definitely not in favour” of the proposals, particularly because traffic will be “absolutely chaotic”.

“The services like electric, sewage and water will have to be upgraded, and then you take traffic on the B197 when there’s an accident on the A1(M), it’s chockablock.”

John Gair, 80, also of Garden Road, said he is “trying to be positive”, and added a key factor was whether the properties will be built spaciously, or crammed together in a “profit driven” fashion.

He added: “There’s always a problem of ‘not in my back yard’, and obviously I would prefer it to stay green, but I understand that need for houses.”

A New Road resident said: “I would rather they didn’t build them but I don’t think we have a hope in hell of stopping it.”

Huge School Proposal Rejected by the Government

posted May 23, 2011, 7:33 AM by Mark Castle

A Victory for Common Sense

The Save Woolmer Green Campaign has recently learnt that the We Need a School (WNAS) Free School application to build an 800+ pupil secondary school in or around Woolmer Green or Knebworth on The Green Belt has been rejected by the Department for Education (DfE).

The welcome news came in the form of a telephone call from the DfE who explained that they had not approved the WNAS business case along with all the other Free School applications but that WNAS could re-apply under the new Free Schools process if they wished. However, the Save Woolmer Green group understands that WNAS will not be re-applying on June 1st.

Save Woolmer Green Campaign spokesperson Gareth Lloyd said “The Save Woolmer Green Campaign considers the rejection of WNAS plans by the DfE to be a victory for common sense against unnecessary development of a new build school that the local community neither needs nor wants on The Green Belt. The views of the majority have finally been recognised resulting in the threat to village life being lifted”.

The Save Woolmer Green campaign group, set up to oppose these proposals, would like to take this opportunity of thanking all of our supporters and the 2000+ residents that signed our petition against the WNAS proposal as well as the very generous donations from local residents and businesses.

Petition Status - May 1st

posted May 1, 2011, 3:13 PM by Admin Admin

The petition against the school now stands at an incredible 1974 with 659 of those being from Woolmer Green.

Here is a breakdown of the petition by Village:


And here is a breakdown of the petition by county:


We call upon 'We Need A School' group to publish a breakdown of their petition by village and by county.  

Public Meeting - March 31st

posted Mar 18, 2011, 5:31 PM by Admin Admin   [ updated Mar 24, 2011, 5:30 AM by Tim Dix ]

Public Meeting

Thursday 31st March 2011 at 7:30pm 

Woolmer Green Village Hall.

Please be there to show your support.

Free School ‘evidence of demand’ not validated by the DfE

posted Mar 13, 2011, 11:19 AM by Tim Dix

The Hertfordshire Free School being promoted by the “We Need a School” group (WNAS), which is attempting to build a secondary school for 800+ children and 100+ staff on green belt land in or around the small villages of Woolmer Green and Knebworth, had their Free School Stage 2 application approved formally by the Department for Education (DfE) on 14th January 2011.

In their stage 2 application the WNAS group stated that they have “attracted over 1200 names in support of a new local secondary school”.  On the 16th February our group the “Save Woolmer Green” Campaign sent a Freedom of Information (FoI) request (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/evidence_of_demand_in_we_need_a) to the DfE to find out if they had received a copy of the WNAS petition which forms the mainstay of the WNAS Free School application and if so, had they indeed validated the petition.

We already knew that WNAS had received 1000 of their 1200 signatures by July 2009, which was before Free Schools were even on the cards as it was before the General Election.  Not only that but the school they were planning was going to be built in a completely different location.  We wanted to gain an understanding of where exactly WNAS have garnered this alleged support from.

We were shocked, however to discover that not only had the Department for Education failed to validate the petition they had not even received or requested a copy of it.  We find it inconceivable that the DfE simply wave through Free School applications to the business case stage without proper and rigorous substantiation of the ‘evidence of demand’.

We note that the DfE states “Evidence of demand and local support are essential components of a strong Business Case and the group will need to demonstrate that they have consulted widely on their proposal.” We ask that the Department for Education (DfE) obtain a copy of the WNAS petition and validate it as soon as possible to ensure that the WNAS support is bona fide.

We implore the DfE to examine the WNAS evidence carefully; In their Stage 2 application WNAS used admission figures from 2009 as evidence in support of their application even though more favourable 2010 figures were available at the time of their application. They said: “Knebworth has the biggest allocation problem with 33% not getting ANY of their 3 choices”.  Ignoring the fact that the other villages in the area had no such problem in 2009 or 2010, the very latest figures from 2011 show that 100% of children from Knebworth received a ranked choice and that overall around 96% of children in the villages concerned received a ranked choice. It is our opinion that the figures that WNAS have used are out of date and should not be relied upon as “Evidence of Demand” for a new secondary school. We request the DfE reconsider the WNAS “Evidence of Demand”.  Indeed, as there now appears to be no requirement at all for a new school we request that the DfE reject the “We Need a School” Free School application altogether.

"We Need a School" in need of a new leader after their founder quits

posted Feb 14, 2011, 3:25 PM by Admin Admin   [ updated Feb 22, 2011, 5:48 AM by Tim Dix ]

The founder and chairperson of "We need a school" (WNAS) appears to have quit suddenly today citing the toll the process has taken on her family life.

We also have unconfirmed reports that two other prominent members of the WNAS team have left including a director and a member of their fund raising team. Both appear to have been with the group since 2009 and one even went to Number 10 to visit the Prime Minister and Michael Gove the Education Secretary along with their leader Juliet Pomerance.

"For three prominent members of WNAS to leave just as the group were on the verge of receiving government approval for their scheme is quite unbelievable" said a member of the 'Save Woolmer Green Campaign' and a long term resident of Woolmer Green.  He added, "Perhaps they have finally realised that their huge secondary school is neither needed nor wanted in the small rural village of Woolmer Green". Perhaps indeed they have taken notice of Richard Thake, Executive member for education and skills at Herts County Council who was quoted as saying "We’d be looking to support a Free School only if it’s in the right place, and a school in Knebworth or Woolmer Green is not where the most demand is."

It is unclear who is running their campaign now but we understand that Andy Payne, who is not listed at companies house as a director of 'We Need a School Ltd', is still there along with sole remaining founding director Stephen Ingrey who we believe to be their accountant.

We believe that WNAS previously lost their Woolmer Green liaison officer around a year ago so we're also unsure if they have anyone left on their governing committee that lives in the village that they want to build their 800+ pupil/100+ staff secondary school in.

Villagers turn out in droves to oppose "We Need a School"

posted Feb 10, 2011, 6:41 AM by Admin Admin   [ updated Feb 10, 2011, 2:04 PM ]

Concerned residents turned out in the hundreds last night to voice opposition to the "We Need a School Ltd" (WNAS) plans to build a secondary school on green belt land in or around Woolmer Green.  Many residents had to stand as there wasn't enough seating to accommodate everyone.  Also present at the meeting were a number of Parish & Borough councillors and some members of the press.

Our recently formed group the "Save Woolmer Green Campaign" was present at the meeting and had been invited to make a 15 minute presentation.  At the last minute however (23:44 the night before), we were informed by the Parish Council that we would no longer able to make a presentation and that we should instead submit a 500 word statement.

A lengthy 5 page statement was read out for the WNAS group after which the Parish Council read out our single page statement.

Towards the end of the meeting a member of the public asked for a show of hands for those in support of the school.  We didn't see a single hand raised.  The Parish Council refused to ask for a show of hands for those opposing the school but another member of the public asked the room anyway and the response was overwhelming with almost the whole room putting their hand up to show that we, the locals of Woolmer green DO NOT want this school in Woolmer Green.

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