2011 has been a good year for CASE supporters and for all those who oppose Stevenage's expansion into the green fields that surround it. The Stevenage plan, which involved building some 20,000 houses in the surrounding greenbelt, has been firmly rejected by a government inspector. The plans to build 3,600 houses immediately to the west of Stevenage has been put on hold by a high court judge who has ordered the Secretary of State to reconsider the granting of planning permission.
Although nothing is certain, there are now real prospects that the countryside around Stevenage will be protected from unnecessary and damaging development for many years to come.
Tim Akeroyd, who has been the Chairman of CASE since it was reformed in 1986, has announced that he will be retiring from CASE as he is moving to Berkshire to be closer to his family. He says, " I am pleased that I am able to leave on a high note. I believe that CASE has achieved much in the last 15 years to protect the rural nature of North Hertfordshire and I hope that those who follow me will continue to successfully prevent the destruction of the countryside."
He continues, "I'd live to thank all those who have given such support over the last 15 years, including all the memebers of the CASE committee and the numberous members of the public who have given both time and money to support this campaign. It's success is largely due to you all."
26th December 2009
SECRETARY OF STATE GRANTS PLANNING PERMISSION FOR 3000 HOUSES WEST OF STEVENAGE
After a delay of some 5 years from the end of the public enquiry, the Secretary of State announced that he had chosen to grant planning permission for 3600 houses West of Stevenage. The Secretary of State cynically chose to make this announcement in the immediate run up to Christmas in order to "bury" the bad news.
CASE are considering whether or not it is possible to appeal this decision, but the grounds on which an appeal can be made are extremely limited.
In addition to the 3600 houses in respect of which planning permission has now been granted, the government are pressing for a further 17000 houses to be built somewhere in the greenbelt around Stevenage. One of the prime candidates for a site is the remainder of the Langley Valley.
CASE will continue to fight these proposals and will be doing all it can do to protect this lovely piece of Hertfordshire countryside from the bulldozers.
THE EXPANSION OF STEVENAGE INTO RURAL NORTH HERTS HAS GONE FAR ENOUGH
Now the Stevenage and North Herts Area Action Plan, or SNAP gives you the opportunity to have your say.
SIGN & DATE, CUT OUT AND SEND, TO ARRIVE BEFORE 18TH JANUARY TO:
STEVENAGE BOROUGH COUNCIL, DANESHILL HOUSE, STEVENAGE SG1 1HN
Amazingly, over a year after the Deputy Prime Minister stated that he was "minded" to grant planning permission for 3600 houses west of Stevenage, no decision has yet been made. The reason is that the three local authorities (Herts County Council, North Herts District Council and Stevenage Borough Council) and the developers have failed to arrive at an agreement as to what facilities the developers should provide in order to create a properly sustainable development. The decision will now have to be made by the new Secretary for State, Ruth Kelly. It is unlikely that this decision will be made until next spring.
It would now appear that even if planning permission is granted by Ruth Kelly, it is unlikely that any significant number of houses will be built prior to 2011. Bearing in mind the whole rational of the proposed development was to provide for Hertfordshire's housing needs up to 2011 and that Hertfordshire has had no problems meeting these needs without the development, it is clear that there was never any need for such a large greenbelt develpment.
Deputy PM "minded" to allow 3,600 housees in Greenbelt
On 20th October 2005 the deputy Prime Minister announced his decision with regard to the Planning applications to build either 5,000 or alternatively 3,600 houses in the Greenbelt to the West of the A(1)M.
Mr. Prescott refused planning permission in respect of the application to build 5,000 house. However, he has indicated that he is “minded” to allow the application to build 3,600 house provided the developers to enter into certain obligations with regard to the provision of Community infrastructure.
This means that is almost inevitable that early next year planning permission to build 3,600 houses will be formally granted.
CASE is obviously bitterly disappointed by this decision. In many ways it represents the worst of all worlds. The fact that the A1(M) boundary has been breached and building has been allowed in the Green Belt means that it will be extremely difficult to prevent further development beyond 3,600 houses. This is particularly so as a development of 3,600 houses may be too small to provide the necessary infrastructure such as schools and so on that the development needs to be sustainable.
CASE, together with other objectors such as North Herts District Council and the County Council are considering whether the decision (once it has been formally made) can be challenged in the High Court.
In the meantime CASE are actively participating in the Examination in
Public in respect of the East of England Plan which contains proposals
that West of Stevenage should grow between now and 2021 to up to 14,400
dwellings in total. These proposals are being strongly resisted by CASE
and we will continue to fight to minimise any development West of the
A1(M) even if planning permission is formally given.
3000 objections lodged by CASE supporters
CASE have been informed by EERA that some 3000 CASE supporters lodged complaint forms with EERA. This makes CASE one of the best supported organisations objecting to the East of England Plan.
In a demonstration of their lack of interest in democracy EERA have failed to include CASE in the list of organisations invited to attend the forthcoming Examination in Public. CASE have lodged an objection to this omission.
26,000 objections to East of England Plan
The time for objecting to the East of England Plan has expired. The East of England Regional Assembly has announced that it has received in excess of 26,000 objections. How many of these come from CASE supporters has yet to be announced. However it is clear that the proposals contained in the East of England Plan have been met by unprecedented opposition.
The scale of opposition can be seen by comparison with the North East England Plan. This Plan received a mere 260 objections. T North East Regional Assembly announced that this response had been so great that it was delaying progressing the Plan whilst it considered the objections. The East of England Regional Assembly faced with a hundred times the number of objections appears to be continuing with the timetable for implementing The East of England Plan regardless.
Meanwhile nothing further has been heard from John Prescott as to the application for planning permission to build 5,000 house in the green belt to the west of Stevenage. It is unlikely that a decision will be made this side of the General Election.
12th January 2005
MASSIVE NEW HOUSING THREAT TO NORTH HERTS
Having fought proposals for thousands of houses West of Stevenage for nearly 8 years, we are now confronted by a much greater threat to our countryside.
SO WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO WEST OF STEVENAGE?
THE EAST OF ENGLAND PLAN
North Herts comes out particularly badly under the proposals. In addition to the housing proposed under the East of England Plan, there are also proposals for the Luton/Milton Keynes area for yet more dwellings in North Herts near Luton Airport.
The Government, however, doesn't think this will provide enough houses and is pressing for a further 18,000 dwellings across the region in addition to the 478,000 provided for in the Plan.
Building such a large number of houses in North Hertfordshire would require huge Government investment in the necessary infrastructure. A combination of the expansion of Luton Airport and Stevenage will inevitably have a huge impact on traffic, hospitals, and schooling. Large tracts of our countryside will be lost. North Herts will become much noisier and more crowded.
However, central Government has indicated it will not fund the essential infrastructure. This situation is so obviously unacceptable that in recent weeks EERA voted to suspend its endorsement of its own East of England Plan. This has not, however, stopped the Plan going forward.
Unless there is a very large public rejection of the proposals there is a real danger that this plan will be put into effect.
WHERE CAN YOU GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PLAN?
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THE PLAN?
CASE will have a stall on Hitchin Market Place on Saturday 5 March and in Letchworth on 12 March where more forms will be available. CPRE Hertfordshire are holding a public meeting on Tuesday 1 March, 7.30pm at the Plinston Hall in Letchworth. Watch the press for details.
You can also object by: