NPG responds to the Places for People revised planning applications

Hunsdon Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group has responded to the revised planning applications from Places for People.

The response was to the four applications below, including an outline planning application for 8,500 residential homes and facilities (Villages 1-6) and full planning applications for major road changes covering a Central Stort Crossing and Eastern Stort Crossing

After consultation with the community and the Parish Councils of Hunsdon and Eastwick & Gilston, the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group (HEGNPG) has concluded that the proposals included in the revised planning application submissions for the Gilston Area cannot be supported and should not be approved without further integrations and modifications.

These are necessary to demonstrate a clear commitment to the delivery of development in the form of distinct villages, enhancing the natural environment and supporting infrastructure that addresses the needs of future and existing communities, as required by Policy GA1, the submission Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan, the Gilston Area Charter SPD and other relevant guidance including the Gilston Area Concept Framework and the HGGT Vision and Design Guide.

In addition, the mitigation of impacts on the existing communities is not adequately addressed. Far too many of these measures are left vague and unspecific to be defined and secured through the s106 agreement and governance arrangements. We maintain that greater clarity and certainty on these critical matters is required before the current planning applications can, properly, be determined.

We acknowledge that the applicants have made some welcome additions and clarifications, while retaining strong commitment to quality building design and 40% affordable housing. Other welcome improvements are on public transport provision, heritage protection and increase of employment space within the village centres.

However, we remain concerned that if East Herts Council approves the applications in their current form, they will fail to achieve the agreed vision and objectives for development in the Gilston Area and fail to fulfil the Garden City principles set out in the District Plan itself.

You can read the full response here

How to respond to the revised planning applications before the January 21 deadline

The extended deadline for you to respond to the four revised planning applications made by Places for People is less than one week away at 5pm on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

Remember: If you have already replied to the consultation, you are still allowed to add further comments.

We encourage you to make a response to the consultation using the following four links:

1. Outline planning application for 8,500 new homes plus infrastructure – 3/19/1045/OUT

2. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges and other roads at Fifth Avenue – 3/19/1046/FUL

3. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges and other roads at River Way – 3/19/1051/FUL

4. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges at River Way (Listed Building Planning Application) – 3/19/1049/LBC

Remember to fill in all the necessary fields on all four forms, including the tick-box for whether you Object, Support or are Neutral towards the planning applications, as below.

consultation response form

We suggest that a possible reply by you might include some or all of the following points:

“Unfortunately, despite the revisions made following the previous consultation period, the revised planning applications for villages 1-6 and two river crossings have not fully addressed the concerns raised by the community with regards to:

– adherance to Garden Town principles and the delivery of a development of six individual villages of exceptional quality with adequately protected landscape buffers between each village in a way that preserves landscape, heritage and the essential quality of living within the countryside

– justification for the new Eastern Crossing, which hasn’t undergone sufficient option analysis considering the massive impact it will have on existing residents

– timely and fully-costed delivery of infrastructure, including schools and truly sustainable transport. The £600m section 106 agreements that should cover this must be properly discussed and agreed before the plans are approved and not after

– a fair distribution of the increase in land value that will occur when the Green Belt is built on. It is only right that part of this money be used to cover infrastructure and sustainability spending, rather than the cost being loaded on to new residents as a service charge

– the lack of an agreed structure and timeline for both the handing over of agreed assets to the community and the the establishment of a properly-funded community organisation to look after these assets

– the new “employment area” industrial park south of village 6, which has no justification and goes against Garden Town principles

– the potentially disproportionate allocation of land for facilities for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople in the context of the wider East Hertfordshire District

– the lack of full information and assessments with no explanation on the environmental impacts and what mitigation will be carried out, for example, air pollution, noise impacts on existing residents, light pollution, and wildlife.

We therefore maintain our OBJECTION to the applications pending further improvements that fully address the concerns of the community.”

Revised Planning Applications – Zoom webinar on January 11

As you will know, the deadline for the revised planning applications from Places for People has been extended to 5pm on Thursday January 21, 2021.

Given the size and complexity of the application, we at your Neighbourhood Plan Group would like to talk you through the key documents and our proposed response, which is informed by expert advice we have commissioned.

This will also give us an opportunity to hear from you and ensure we encompass the community’s views before we submit our response.

Given the COVID-19 restrictions, this will have to be done online. We have set up a Zoom meeting room for Monday, January 11 at 7.00pm

Please get in touch via our contact form or sign up to our mailing list for login details.

Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan – Notice of Public Consultation

As part of the ongoing Examination into the draft Plan, a Hearing was appointed by the Examiner and held on 19 November 2020. The Hearing followed the issue by the Examiner of his Examination Note 2, which raised 3 potentially significant concerns as to the compliance of the draft Plan with the Basic Conditions.

The Examiner decided not to maintain the third of the concerns.

As to the first 2 concerns, the NP Group submitted material on 26 November 2020 (as discussed and agreed at the Hearing) aimed at meeting the first concern (essentially that the draft NP did not identify the broad location and extent of the seven proposed villages, nor their approximate dwelling numbers).

As to the second concern (the length and repetitive nature of the draft) the Group submitted on 18 December 2020 (again, as discussed and agreed) a document entitled Submission Draft (December 2020 Edits). This document, which also responds to certain other matters discussed at the Hearing, is put forward as a proposed alternative version of the Plan. The Group is suggesting that, if the revisions in the Edits document are found appropriate by the Examiner, they could be achieved by way of recommended Modifications to the Plan.

In accordance with good practice, the Examiner now needs to know if anyone involved in the process wishes to make any comments on the Edits documents (which has already been available on the NP and Council websites). He will take any comments into consideration when considering his report and recommendations.

Any comments should be brief, and must not repeat any of the material already provided in the earlier representations.

Any comments in response to this notice must be made to the Council not later than Monday 25 January 2021.

Please see documentson 18 December 2020 – all comments must be made in writing and submitted to planningpolicy@eastherts.gov.uk by Monday 25 January 2021.

Revised Planning Applications – DEADLINE EXTENDED

We would like to thank all of you who have already submitted your comments for the revised planning applications from Places for People, which cover the building of 8,500 homes and infrastructure, and two river crossings.

For those of you yet to comment, or those wishing to add to their previous responses, we have good news:

The deadline for responses has been extended to 5pm on Thursday, January 21, 2021

This is because Places for People have promised to provide important graphics showing different views from both sides of the proposed new road junction at Pye Corner. These images will visualise the impact of the new road proposals from Terlings Park and Pye Corner but will not be made available until the middle of January 2021.

As soon as these new graphics are available we will of course be in touch to let you know.

East Herts Council has pledged to communicate the extension of the consultation period directly to residents as soon as the Christmas post allows. 

Meanwhile, your Neighbourhood Plan Group has sought professional advice regarding the revised planning applications and are making arrangements for a public webinar to let you know the points we are making as a community response.

The planned date for this webinar will be on Monday, January 4, 2021 and we will let you know further details as soon as they are confirmed.

Below is a reminder of the links to use when responding, and our initial thoughts regarding the revised applications:

1. Outline planning application for 8,500 new homes plus infrastructure

2. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges and other roads at Fifth Avenue

3. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges and other roads at River Way

4. Detailed planning application for new bridges and changes to existing bridges at River Way (Listed Building Planning Application)

Remember to fill in all the necessary fields on all four forms, including the tick-box for whether you Object, Support or are Neutral towards the planning applications, as below.

consultation response form

We suggest that a possible response by you might include the following points:

“Unfortunately, despite the revisions made following the previous consultation period, the revised planning applications for villages 1-6 and two river crossings have not fully addressed the concerns raised by the community with regards to:

– the delivery of a development of six individual villages of exceptional quality with landscape buffers between each village in a way that protects landscape, heritage and the essential quality of living within the countryside

– timely and fully-costed infrastructure delivery, including schools

– adequate and costed provision of truly sustainable transport within and across villages, and with proper links beyond the village boundaries and to key connections outside the applicant’s landholding

– the absence of an agreed structure to achieve the GA1 policy requirement for a timely delivery of agreed assets to a properly funded community organisation

We therefore maintain our OBJECTION to the applications pending improvements that fully address the concerns of the community.”


We’re aware that the sheer volume of unsorted documents in the revised planning applications has proved difficult to contend with for many.

After we discussed the matter with the developers’ consultants Quod, they have provided us with a smaller set of key documents, and a guide on how to navigate them.

Tap here for access to the key documents – and you can follow their guide to these documents here.

Thanks once more

– Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group