Barkway application for 140 homes ‘disproportionate and unsustainable’

PUBLISHED: 08:01 09 August 2018

Villagers opposing the Barkway development local plan for 140 homes gather at the entrance to the site. Picture: DANNY LOO

Villagers opposing the Barkway development local plan for 140 homes gather at the entrance to the site. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Villagers in Barkway have raised concerns about a planning application for 140 homes – saying it is of “disproportionate scale” and is “unsustainable” for the area.

The Barkway land earmarked for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Barkway land earmarked for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOO

More than 200 residents have come forward to comment on the application to North Herts District Council for 140 homes and a shop between Royston Road and Cambridge Road.

Barkway Parish Council has objected strongly to the application, made by developer The Rand Brothers.

A spokeswoman for the parish council said: “We are not against proportional and sustainable development with the village, however the council has objected strongly to this application on the grounds that is of a disproportionate scale and unsustainable.

The land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOOThe land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOO

“This land has always previously been found unacceptable by North Herts District Council planners for development until it suddenly appeared, without prior consultation, in the draft Local Plan in 2016.

“We objected along with our district and county councillors over the inclusion of the land in the plan, which is now under scrutiny by the Planning Inspectorate with no final decision taken yet.

“Barkway is a rural village that has seen limited but proportionate development in recent years and, while we accept there is a need to create rural housing, we are of the firm opinion that it should not be placed in one location.

The land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOOThe land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOO

“If permission is granted, this valuable agricultural land will be lost to a disproportionate development of up to 140 homes. It will create an estate of commuter homes who will be reliant on private vehicles to gain access to their places of employment and essential amenities in other towns across Herts and Cambs, while swelling the village by some 35 to 40 per cent and placing at the risk the viability of the business and jobs at Newsells Park Stud – the largest employer in the parish.

“It is our considered opinion that this will create an unsustainable development under the government’s guidelines of the National Planning Policy Framework which NHDC planning officers must follow when considering development plans, and therefore the planning application should be refused.”

The Rand Brothers’ representative, David Fletcher of Strutt and Parker, said: “The application will deliver much needed housing, including 40 per cent affordable housing on an allocated site for development within the emerging North Hertfordshire District Council Local Plan.

The land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOOThe land earmarked for the Barkway local plan for 140 homes. Picture: DANNY LOO

“The proposals have been subject to detailed discussions with the council and a range of consultees including at examination in public earlier on this year.

“Barkway is one of the few settlements within the district that is not within the Green Belt. Delivery of this site will help protect other land that is within Green Belt and protect the council from speculative applications on non-allocated sites. 
“It will also secure development in full accordance with the criteria identified by the council within their emerging plan. This includes provision for a village shop and open space, which will be of significant benefit and bring new services to the village.”

The planning application will be open for comment from the public until it is taken to the planning committee, for which a date is not yet known.

To submit your views email planning.control@north-herts.gov.uk, or send by post to PO Box 10613, NG6 6DH with reference 18/01502/OP as well as your name and address.

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