Neighbourhood Plan

Our Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan received a massive endorsement from local residents on May 27, 2021 with a powerful 98% of the vote, in a very high turnout at the referendum on it.

It also won the awards for Plan-Making and cross-category Editor’s prize at the Planning Awards 2021 and the Excellence in Landscape Planning and Assessment Award at the Landscape Institute Awards 2021.

We would like to thank you all for your incredible support over these last two years, and for coming out to vote for the policies in the Plan.

This overwhelming vote gives you a voice to  shape and influence the development of the Garden Villages, which we know are destined for this area and imposed by others  against the will of the majority of the people who live here.

You can download and read the full Neighbourhood Plan here:

You can also read the Policies here and a one-page Policies Summary here.

The Giston Area Neighbourhood Plan underwent and passed independent examination by Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC between October 2020 and February 2021.

It was accepted by East Herts Council soon after before winning the endoresment of the public at referendum.

You can watch a video telling the story of our Neighbourhood Plan below

Following his independent examination, Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC said:

“I find the NP is based on extensive community engagement, well researched supporting evidence, and – subject to matters set out in the Report – provides an appropriate set of local policies.”

You can now download and read the full Examiner’s Report and a one page summary.

The full examination – including all formal correspondence – remains available on our dedicated Independent Examination page and also at the East Herts Council website.

A virtual hearing took place on 19 November 2020. You can watch it in full below:

You can download and read the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan in full above, and consult our full evidence base here.

Click or tap the map below for full interactivity

Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan - May 2021 - Key Designations

Evidence Base

Phase Nine – Referendum

Phase Eight – Independent Examination

Phase Seven – Public Consulation by East Herts Council

Phase Six – Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan Interim Non-Statutory Consultation

Phase Five – Statutory Consultation (Regulation 14)

Phase Four – Concept Framework consultation & development

Phase Three – Community engagement in East Herts Council District Plan 2018 – 2033, including Examination in Public

Phase Two – Formation of joint Hunsdon, Eastwick & Gilston Neighbourhood Planning (HEGNP) Group

Phase One – Original Gilston & Eastwick Parish Plan 2009, prepared by residents of Eastwick & Gilston

Eastwick & Gilston Neighbourhood Plan on hold – awaiting development of the East Herts District Plan

About the Neighbourhood Plan

The Neighbourhood Plan area covers the entirety of Gilston Parish, Eastwick Parish
and that part of Hunsdon Parish which lies within the proposed Gilston Area (Policy
GA1) development outlined in the East Hertfordshire District Plan.

GA1 - The Gilston Area

The application for designation of the Neighbourhood Area was approved by East Hertfordshire Council on 28 November 2017.

Neighbourhood Plan Area

The plan builds on the previous Concept Development Framework, which outlined principles that should underpin the redevelopment of the Gilston Area.

Why have a Neighbourhood Plan?

The Green Belt designation, which restricted development in the area around Gilston and Eastwick, was removed with the East Hertfordshire District Plan adopted in October 2018, when the area was allocated for significant growth (10,000 homes, jobs and services).

The development forms a part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town government initiative, which is expected to deliver comprehensive infrastructure upgrades in the area and regenerate Harlow, with support of government funding and substantial housing development.

People living in the area are concerned about the impacts of this on their communities and are determined to influence the character and quality of new development to ensure that the integrity of Hertfordshire settlements is respected and development takes place in a way that protects landscape, heritage, and the essential quality of living within the countryside.

A shared aspiration is to ensure that the removal of Green Belt status from this area genuinely leads to a development of exceptional quality, that will create a set of distinctive villages each with their own individual identity set within an attractive rural landscape, while at the same time protecting and enhancing the existing settlements and delivering benefits for the existing community.

The preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan is a very important instrument to shape the future of the area. While it cannot change the allocation for development made in the District Plan, it can set out detailed planning policies to guide how development takes place and how the existing settlements and new villages will be shaped in future.

Crucially, the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan was prepared directly by the local community, through the Hunsdon Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Group which represents the Parish Councils and is made up of people living within the designated boundary.

Now adopted by East Herts Council, the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan has a policy status similar to that of the District Plan and provide the planning policy framework for the determination of all planning applications in the Neighbourhood Plan area: this means that developers will have to take account of its policies when putting forward development for approval.

The plan built on the previous Concept Development Framework, which outlined principles that should underpin the redevelopment of the Gilston Area.

Between September 2017 and January 2018, many people from the local community participated in workshops in the Village Halls to revise and develop the Concept Framework.

This was followed by intense work by the Neighbourhood Plan Group (NPG) with the developers, landowners and East Hertfordshire Council in the revision of the Gilston Area Concept Framework, which was finalised by the developers and endorsed by the Council in July 2018 as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

The Parish Councils believe that the Concept Framework (2018) sets appropriate foundations for respectful development and but they recognise that, in its present form, it does not have the status of formally adopted planning policy. The Concept Framework, was put before the Planning Inspector at the Examination in Public when the Local Plan was reviewed as evidence to support the release of the Green Belt but was not then in final form so could not be formally added into the Local Plan.

For this reason, the Parish Councils decided to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan, which is essentially based on the vision, principles and statements agreed through the Concept Framework and elevate them to formal policy status so that, together with the District Plan, they will provide the planning policy framework for the determination of all planning applications in the Neighbourhood Plan area.

This will ensure that what was agreed then will be carried through in the design and construction of the site and equally importantly the agreed early release of green space for community ownership and use.