|To: David Beatty
Leader, Hertfordshire County Council
|5 April 2007|
Dear Councillor Beatty,
I am writing to you as leader of Hertfordshire County Council regarding the article that was published in the Bishop's Stortford Herts & Essex Observer newspaper dated the 22nd of February 2007 relating to the proposed location of two new schools on Green Belt land off Whittington Way, Thorley, Bishop's Stortford.
For your information I am a resident of Thorley Park and live close by to Whittington Way and the proposed location of the two new schools. I am sure that you are well acquainted with the Inspectors Report from the public enquiry held last year on the elements of the East Herts District local plan which apply to Thorley and Bishop's Stortford. However, I am listing below a number of important points that were highlighted at the public inquiry meeting and in the subsequent Inspectors Report on this matter.
As I understand it the Inspector found these arguments compelling and proposes in her report to direct East Herts District Council not to alter the Green Belt designation of the site, or to release the Hadham Road site for housing unless the need for school places can be met elsewhere.
Against this background I would be grateful if you would tell me on what authority has Hertfordshire County Council made a provision to spend £200,000 of tax payers money in next years budget for consultants to carry out a series of surveys on behalf of the two schools at Whittington Way. Surely, this prejudges the outcome of where the new school should be built and totally dismisses the other viable options, specifically the Hadham Road site.
Local communities across Bishop's Stortford appreciate that the town needs a new school to cater for future requirements, especially since the volume of residential dwellings continues to increase year on year. However, determining the location of a new secondary education provision is a strategic issue for Bishop's Stortford which will have a profound effect on the physical and social fabric of the town for decades to come. Therefore, the budget provision must be used to carry out a proper comparative study which evaluates all the options, this must include an indepth survery of all aspects of sustainability and all elements that will impact on congestion and transport. A detail cost benefit analysis must also be carried out for each option. Each option must also take into account the negative impact on the whole town and its local communities with respect to additional housing, transport, congestion, etc.
In addition, it is essential that the evidence should also be taken from the primary stakeholders of the town, which should include the Chamber of Commerce and the Civic Federation. Furthermore, a thorough in depth public consulation must be carried out with existing and future parents.
Finally, in view of the forthcoming district and local elections due to take place in early May I would appreciate an early response to the above mentioned points so that local communities can be properly informed of Hertfordshire County Councils position on this important matter.
|To: Richard Hannah
Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation
|4 May 2007|
Dear Mr Hannah
Thank you for your e-mail of 5 April, concerning the proposal by the two single-sex foundation schools in Bishop's Stortford that they should seek to co-locate on a new site in Whittington Way. I stress that this is a school-led project, and that the relevant planning authority is East Herts District Council.
Dealing with your bullet points:
The County Council has decided to contribute £200,000 to the cost of the overall town planning process that the two schools are engaged in on the authority of Cabinet and full Council, because it is excited by the prospect of two brand new sets of school buildings in Bishop's Stortford providing first-rate education facilities for the town.
I might add that EHDC are equally enthusiastic about working with the County Council and the schools to develop the possibility of community-use leisure facilities on the site.
Finally, consultation will be carried out both by the schools, relating to their statutory proposal to move and through the town planning process.
Yours sincerelyDavid Beatty
East Herts Council
|8 June 2007|
Proposed Schools at Whittington Way, Thorley, Bishop's Stortford
Thank you for your email dated 5th of May 2007 on the above subject. I have noted your comments and respond as follows.
We all agree that Bishop's Stortford requires additional schooling facilities to cater for the educational needs of future generations of our children. However, I must say that I do not agree with your other comments and assertions.
Finally, you mention that there is to be a consultation process; we trust that this will be all embracing, transparent and conducted in a thorough manner involving all the communities of Bishop's Stortford.
Yours Sincerely,Richard Hannah