Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan wins two major accolades at Planning Awards 2021

The Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan was a double award winner at the Planning Awards 2021.

At the ceremony on Thursday (June 10), the plan from the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group (HEGNPG) with masterplanners URBAN Silence first picked up the Award For Plan-Making.

The Plan-Making award is given to the entry that best shows how a plan can have  a positive impact on the physical or environmental quality of a place or the economic or social well-being of its community.

The Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan, which passed its referendum last month with a massive  98% of the vote in a high turnout, also won  the prestigious Editor’s Award.

This award is given across all categories by Planning’s editor,  to the Plan that “represents the most exceptional achievement of all”. 

The judges said the plan was “brave and innovative” and “demonstrates the power of collaboration between local planning authorities and communities”.

Overall, they described it as “an exemplar approach to neighbourhood planning [in areas of] growth”.

HEGNPG Chairman Anthony Bickmore said: “These two awards are a massive national endorsement of our Neighbourhood Plan.

“Our groundbreaking plan is the first of the Neighbourhood Plans for the new Garden Towns.”

He added: “This major recognition shows the ongoing importance of community involvement and the need of planners to respect localism and listen to what local communities have to say in the formation and implementation of development policies.

“Following this double award from the judges and the overwhelming endorsement from local residents, we as a group are further empowered to work with the planners in the right spirit, if they respect our policies”

Joanna Chambers and Martina Juvara of URBAN Silence said: “The double award is a testament to the value created when a community comes together to influence and shape the future of their area.

“As the Editor Richard Garlick said when he gave the award to the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan: this is the best, and maybe only way, to plan large scale developments in future.”

Mary Parsons, Chair of the Town and Country Planning Association and former Director at developers Places for People who are working on the Gilston project, said: “Congratulations to all of the Neighbourhood Planning team.

“[It is a ]testimony to all of the hours, and the evenings and weekends, spent working on it.

“[It] shows the role that positive neighbourhood planning can play in large scale development.”

After several rounds of consultation, the plan passed an independent examination in February 2021.

It was endorsed at referendum in May 2021 with 97.8% of the vote on a high 37.20% turnout.

Neighbourhood Plan endorsed with 98% – Thank You

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

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.

So what happens next?

Your Neighbourhood Plan Group will fight to see that the promises made by East Herts Council and the Developers are delivered.

There will be many years of planning and building to monitor but with the support of the community as now expressed, the planners and developers have to take notice of present and future residents.

As a sign of the quality of your Neighborhood Plan, it has been shortlisted for the Best Plan Making 2021 in the National Planning Awards – we’ll let you know how it gets on.

Thank you once more.

– Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group

How to vote in your Neighbourhood Plan Referendum on May 27, 2021

YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN REFERENDUM TAKES PLACE ON MAY 27, 2021

We urge all residents of Eastwick, Gilston and Hunsdon to VOTE YES by voting at their Village Halls in person on May 27, or using a postal vote.

This IS NOT a vote about whether you agree the housing development across the Gilston Area should be allowed. We sadly lost that fight back in 2018 when the Inspector at the Examination in Public agreed the East Herts District Plan could go ahead.

It IS a vote about whether East Herts Council and the developers must take account of the Policies within your Neighbourhood Plan.

Vote “YES” gives local people a voice. Once it passes, the Plan becomes a Policy Document and planners and developers have to listen and deliver on their promises of seven Garden Villages with housing of exceptional quality, and 1,000 acres of community owned open spaces. It gives local people a voice.

It’s critical that after two years work on your Neighbourhood Plan we get it over the final hurdle and not leave it all to the planners and developers to do whatever they want in our Neighbourhood.


With thousands of hours of work and your input, support and passion, the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan has been through a rigorous public process and will be adopted if the local community votes for it. You can read the plan at our website.

The Referendum will be conducted by East Herts Council who will send you a Poll Card. If you want to check if you are eligible to vote, you can phone EHC electoral services on 01279 655261. The question – to which you’ll be able to answer YES or NO – reads:

Do you want East Hertfordshire District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Gilston Area to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

If more than 50% of voters say YES, the Plan will become a major planning document which East Herts Council will have to use in deciding on all future planning decisions in the Area covered by the Plan.

Promoted and published by the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group on behalf of the Parish Councils of Hunsdon and Eastwick & Gilston.

Neighborhood Plan accepted by East Herts Council – Referendum set for May 27

After a rigorous Examination process, East Herts Council has accepted the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan.

It will be set down for approval in a public vote of residents of Eastwick, Gilston and Hunsdon parishes on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

We’ll have more details on the referendum in the near future.

While it cannot alter the council’s decision to allocate 10,000 houses in our area, the Neighbourhood Plan shapes and influences how this can best be done and gives a voice to both existing and new residents as the process moves forward.

NPG submits response to revised Village 7 application

The Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group (NPG) has issued its response to the revised planning application for Village 7 (3/19/2124/OUT) submitted by City & Provincial Properties (as Briggens Estate 1)

The NPG has objected to the revised application, stating:

The revised planning application for Village 7 in the Gilston Area continues to give serious cause for concern and without major amendment is not fit for determination; at the very least it requires further comprehensive alignment with Villages 1-6, commitment to infrastructure delivery and design modifications.

As it stands it fails to comply with Policy GA1 in the District Plan, falls short of benchmarks laid down by the Concept Framework and does not follow the Garden City principles specified in the District Plan.

The application still departs from policy objectives and the vision for the Gilston
Area in too many aspects to be considered fit for determination. It is not presented in a form which should be approved by the Council without further very
substantial amendments.

In fact, it will remain fundamentally flawed if it is pursued as a standalone development or one which expects to be built before the other villages of the Gilston development are constructed in a logical, sensibly planned sequence.

You can read the response in full here.