BSCF's Objections to Planning Application for 16 Maple Avenue

Letter to East Herts Development Control Department

Mr C Dempster
Development Control Department
East Herts District Council
Pegs Lane
SG13 8EQ
3 September 2008

Dear Mr Dempster

Reference Planning Application- 3/08/1163/FP---16 Maple Avenue, Bishops Stortford

I am writing to you on behalf of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation to object to this proposal.

Generally, it has become all too common, especially in Maple Avenue and its surrounding roads, for perfectly sound houses to be demolished in order that the space can be crammed with several houses. This destroys the character of the area, constitutes cramming and is unsustainable.

Your policy HSG7 and paragraphs 9.1.3 and 9.2.1 in the Built Heritage section argue firmly against this proposal. Maple Avenue was originally an Edwardian development of large houses with large gardens. There has been some, usually acceptable, infilling. However, this proposal is a step too far and should be rejected.

Yours Sincerely,
Richard F. Hannah
Chairman, Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation

Reply from East Herts District Council refusing planning permission  Top 

Reply from East Herts District Council

BSCF letter to the Planning Inspectorate commenting on appeal against refusal of planning permission for 16 Maple Avenue  Top 

Planning Inspectorate,
Room 3/01 Kite Wing,
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square,
Temple Quay,
Bristol BS1 6PN
27 April 2009

Dear Sir

Reference: APP/J1915/A/09/2101424/NWF

The Civic Federation of Bishop's Stortford have already objected to this proposal and I confirm our support for the Council's objection to it. However, having read the appellant's statement to you, I would like to add some points to our original letters.

I have lived very near Maple Avenue for 50 years and have observed with dismay how the area has changed, due mainly to a new tactic by developers in buying the large Edwardian houses with their large gardens, knocking them down and substituting at least three new houses or a block of flats.

Hadham Road and Maple Avenue were builders' roads made at the turn of the last century to accommodate large detached houses. These are unique in Bishop's Stortford and should be preserved so that there is – and should be – a mix of settlement types in the town.

There is a Hadham Road conservation area but this did not include, as it should have done, Maple Avenue. This makes the Council's defence more difficult as the appellants have spotted in 4.08 of their paper.

4.08 The appeal site lies withn the development limits for Bishops Stortford and beyond the Conservation Area....

In 4.06 they say that the key consideration is whether the development positively improves the character and environmental quality of the area and the way it functions. Also, in 4.10 (b) they say that the design has regard to local distinctiveness. Both of these statements are breached by their application.

Finally could I address the appellant's mistaken views on sustainability. This word now trips off the pen of any developer seeking to justify the ravaging of a piece of unspoilt land.

Having read many years ago Gro Harlem Bruntland's Sustainability Report, the appellants should be reminded that the key to that report was avoiding the irrevocable loss of a part of the environment that future generations would deeply regret.

It has got nothing to do with any of the matters listed in 5.06 nor should large gardens be treated in the same way as the (correct) use of previously developed land and buildings (4.04).

5.06 In sustainability terms the site performs very well. Access from the houses to local shops, services, schools, facilities and areas of employment is excellent. The site is within walking distance of all these facilities, and the main line railway station.
There are also good bus service (sic) to the airport, and all surrounding towns. There is a wide range of choice of modes of transport as an alternative to the car.

4.04 ... Planning should seek actively to get vacant and underused previously developed land and buildings back into beneficial use to achieve the targets the Government has set for development on previously developed land.

Bishop's Stortford has borne the brunt of East Hertfordshire's housing allocations, including almost all of the airport related housing and the development of previously developed land in the town centre.

It is, in the Civic Federation’s view, essential to stop the nibbling away of Maple Avenue. This application will, we fear, set a precedent for a domino effect as each of the large houses are put up for sale.

We do hope, therefore, that you can support the District Council in their refusal.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Hurford
President, Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation