Residents' Associations in Thorley Organise Objections to Schools' Proposed Move to Green Belt Land  Map - School Sites   Map - Green Belt 

Letter published in the Herts & Essex Observer on 24 April 2008

Herts & Essex Observer
12 North Street
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 2LQ
18 April 2008

In response to his wake-up call (Lovely side of town is under attack, Observer 17 April), we assure Mr Abrams that people in the Parish and Park areas of Thorley are already working together to oppose the plans to move two large town schools to Thorley green belt countryside, and they will present their arguments to East Herts District Council (EHDC) once the schools' applications have been submitted in a few weeks' time.

Thanks to the initiative and tenacity of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation, EHDC planning officer Kevin Steptoe reluctantly agreed to organise a stakeholders' meeting, on 5th March, at which the schools' development team gave a presentation to a selected audience and announced the dates of the public exhibitions that have now taken place.

The Old Thorley residents' associations were immediately re-activated and have held two meetings. There is deep concern felt in Thorley about every aspect (noise, congestion, children's schooling and safety, etc) of the schools' preference for relocation to the Whittington Way site; shock at how wide-ranging and irrevocable will be the impact on the character of our town and attractiveness of its environs, and determination across all age groups to challenge Councillors and planning officers on the viability of granting outline planning permission.

A first task is to gather information and to distinguish truthful fact from rumour and slant. Old Thorley (OTTRA) and Thorley Park (TMRA) residents' associations are in close collaboration, and an open meeting has been arranged for 23rd April at the Thorley Community Centre, where independent professional Martin Peachey will clarify for residents the implications of the NATS flight-path proposals directly affecting Thorley householders, and the schools - if rebuilt on the Whittington Way site.

We join with Richard Hannah, chairman of Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation, in strongly encouraging everyone with views needing to be heard and heeded to write individually to Kevin Steptoe at EHDC planning department after the applications have been formally submitted at the end of the month and the consultation period of 20 days begun. We need at least 1000 letters of objection, at that stage of the process, before proper notice will be taken. We also urge residents to demand of their town and district Councillors that they constructively put forward these views to officers and colleagues in committee.

Sylvia McDonald, Butler's Hall hamlet, OTTRA (Old Thorley & Twyford) chairman
Alyson Bailey, TMRA (Thorley Park) chairperson