BSCF letter to District Councillors outlining concerns over removal of land from the Green Belt as proposed in the draft District Plan

cc Other District Councillors
cc The Executive of East Herts District Council
cc The Leader of East Herts District Council
cc Bishop’s Stortford Town Councillors
cc Kevin Steptoe, EHDC
cc James Parker, BSTC
7 September 2016

Dear Councillors

DRAFT DISTRICT PLAN

Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation is writing to you about the proposals for Bishop's Stortford set out in the draft District Plan, and in particular about the proposals to remove land to the South of Whittington Way from the Green Belt, and instead zone it for development of up to 1000 homes. It has been the settled policy of East Herts Council for the last 30 years to allocate the lion’s share of all new housing in the district (some 40% of the total) to Bishop's Stortford. From time to time, the pretext for this policy and the political leadership of the Council has changed, but the policy has always remained the same. If this draft plan is adopted by the Council in its present form, the policy of ‘Stuff it in Stortford’ will be perpetuated for another 20 years.

The development already approved for Bishop's Stortford North, together with the prospective development of Brownfield sites within the built up area provide enough new housing to meet the needs which would arise naturally from growth in the local population together with a generous allowance for inward migration, including migration from other parts of the district where development is not planned to keep pace even with local demand.

The significance of the so-called Bishop's Stortford South site as an important Green Belt asset has been examined on numerous occasions and the conclusion has been the same each time – that it performs valuable Green Belt functions and should not be developed. There is no planning justification for its development. The housing needs of the town will be more than satisfied by the other developments identified in the Plan. And now is not the time to be sacrificing good quality agricultural land quite unnecessarily.

I trust therefore that you can be relied upon to uphold the interests of the town and of your constituents when the full Council is given the opportunity to vote on the matter, by voting against the adoption of the Plan unless it is amended to keep this site within the Green Belt and undeveloped. Please would you ask for a recorded vote on this matter, so that the electorate is able to see which of our councillors has the interests of the town at heart?

In support of our concerns we would again draw your attention to the following points:

Based upon the arguments set out above, Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation calls upon all recipients of this letter to oppose the District Plan on the grounds stated.

Yours sincerely,
Rob Francis (Treasurer)
Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation