Member Update 8

             14th October 2018

Dear Grove Fields Residents Association (GFRA) member.

Please find below an update regarding some key planning activities.

1. The development of the draft local plan is delayed even further
2. Planning Inspector rejected the RELX appeal to erect a 2.5m metal fence on the field
3. RELX have applied for planning permission to erect a 2.25m wooden fence on the field
4. Our application for the land to be designated as a Town green is on hold

More detail behind each of the headlines is contained within the email below.

1. The development of the draft local plan is delayed even further
The Council will be carrying out further technical work including taking into account the new Local Housing Need figures when they are finalised, to considering a full draft plan for full public consultation in summer 2019. This will include the Council’s preferred locations for all forms of new development and a range of policies to be used in the planning decision making process in the near future. Following this Consultation, subject to any changes the Council decides to make, the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State, which will then give rise to a Public Examination to be held by a Planning Inspector
We asked our planning consultant whether there was anything GFRA should be doing in the meantime and the response we received was "nothing for you to do at the minute other than take a watching brief. The next consultation window will provide the next opportunity for action. I would expect this to be quite a way off; as given the policy/calculation changes presented by Central Government, yet to be fleshed out, planning authorities are essentially starting again."

2. Planning Inspector rejected the RELX appeal to erect a 2.5m metal fence on the field
Thank you to everyone who contacted the planning inspector and Dacorum to stop the landowner's (RELX) appeal to overturn Dacorum's decision that the 2.5m metal fence shouldn't be erected.
Fortunately, the planning inspector rejected the RELX appeal because "The construction of new buildings should be regarded as inappropriate in the Green Belt, subject to a number of exceptions as set out in paragraph 89. The term “building” refers to any structure or erection, and therefore includes fences. However, fences are not referred to in the exceptions within paragraph 89, and therefore I conclude that the proposal would be inappropriate development within the Green Belt and would be contrary to the Framework"

3. RELX have applied for planning permission to erect a 2.25m wooden fence on the field
Thank you to everyone who objected to stop the landowner's (RELX) application to build a 2.25m wooden fence.
Dacorum will make a decision this Thursday 18th October at the planning committee. Unfortunately, the Case Officer and Assistant Director have both stated that they will be recommending the application be accepted and RELX should be allowed to build the fence.


4. Our application for the land to be designated as a Town green is on hold
Unfortunately, it would appear that a trigger event has occurred in relation to the land which means Herts County Council cannot accept our application. Dacorum Borough Council went out to consultation on its draft (Issues and Options) Local Plan at the end of 2017. As part of that process Dacorum consulted on a number of sites that were being promoted for development, including Grove Fields.
As the trigger event relates to a draft Plan at this stage, we have been advised to keep an eye on the progress of the Plan. If the final Plan is published next Summer without the land at Grove Fields they would consider that to be a corresponding ‘termination event’. A termination event is something which causes the end of the previous trigger event, which means that we can again then apply for the Town green.


Thank you for your continued support

The GFRA Committee.

  1. No decision on the RELX appeal to erect a 2.5m metal fence on the field

MorMember Update 7

        June 5th 2018

Dear Grove Fields Resident Association (GFRA) member,

A short update regarding two key planning activities.

1.   The development of the draft local plan is delayed by 12 months

2.   No decision on the RELX appeal to erect a 2.5m metal fence on the field.

More detail behind each of the headlines is contained within the email below

  1. 1. The development of the draft local plan is delayed by 12 months
  • The Council had a very high response rate to the Issues and Options consultation and they are still working their way through inputting all email / paper responses on to the online system.  This needs to be completed before they can begin to look at the issues raised, respond to these and decide what shape the new Local Plan will take.
  • The Council are still assessing other sites submitted through the ‘Call for Sites’ process which ran in parallel with this consultation. 
  • The Council wish to fully read and digest what is in the Government’s newly issued amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The final version of this document is expected this summer.
  • The Council, together with Hertsmere, Three Rivers, St Albans and Watford Council, with the support of the County, have recently agreed to prepare a ‘Joint Strategic Plan’ (JSP) for the SW Herts area.  This will set the context for our Dacorum Local Plan and make key decisions regarding the location and scale of growth.  Although this JSP will in the long term speed up the overall plan-making process in the area (and make these plans more robust), it will inevitably result in a short term delay to our Dacorum Local plan. The Council hope to have an agreed timetable and work programme for the JSP by this summer.
  • In the light of the above the Council will be discussing the updated Local Plan timetable with Members informally  this summer – before taking a report on the revised Local Plan programme (known as the Local Development Scheme) to Cabinet for approval.  This is currently programmed for either June or July.  In reality, it is unlikely that the Council will be in a position to move the plan to its next stage – in effect full draft document – until early 2019 (a 12 month delay).  

 

2. No decision on the RELX appeal to erect a 2.5m metal fence on the field

Thank you to everyone who contacted the planning inspector and Dacorum to stop the landowner's (RELX) appeal to overturn Dacorum's decision that the 2.5m metal fence shouldn't be erected. We have checked today and no decision had been made yet. We have requested an update from the planning inspector.

Thank you for your continued support.

The GFRA Committee

Thank you to everyone who contacted the planning inspector and Dacorum to stop the landowner's (RELX) appeal to overturn Dacorum's decision that the 2.5m metal fence shouldn't be erected. We have checked today and no decision has been made yet. We have requested an update from the planning inspector.

 

Thank you for your continued support

The GFRA Committee.

5th June, 2018.

Member Update 6

March 15th 2018

Dear Grove Fields Residents Association (GFRA) member.

It has been nearly three months since we contacted all our members. However, now is the right time to begin to ready ourselves for the next stage. 

Here are the headline updates:

  1. What happens Next?
  2. Do we need further planning consultant advice?
  3. Fund raising and membership growth
  4. Meeting with our counterparts in Berkhamsted
  5. Information withheld by Dacorum finally released
  6. Recent erection of metal fencing in Grove Fields
  7. RELX has appealed the planning decision to refuse their erection of a 2.5 metre high metal fence

More detail behind each of the headlines is contained within the email below.

  1. What happens Next?

Dacorum will review the public consultation feedback, including our report. Dacorum will then issue a draft local plan for consultation. The draft local plan will recommend the actual number and location of houses to be built in Tring. In the Spring/Summer, we will either need to make the case for the Grove Fields (TR-H1 to TR-H3) to be removed from the draft plan or continue to make the case for them not to be added to the plan. The landowners of the Grove Fields will be represented at this next stage, lobbying for their land to be included in the final local plan. Once the local plan is finalised by Dacorum it will be submitted to representatives of Central Government to examine their recommendations.



  1. Do we need further planning consultant advice?

Developing the report with the planning consultant required a significant amount of effort: reviewing the draft response from the planning consultant and a significant amount of time consolidating individual feedback in to a single response from the GFRA. The planning consultant developed the 'master' document and incorporated knowledge of the strategic planning process. The Committee has listened to your feedback, in summary you said you thought the report was excellent and that we would not have been able to produce such a response on behalf of the GFRA, without the support of the planning consultant.  However, Members have said they felt it unlikely that we would be able to raise such a sum again through donations. The Committee decided to wait until the draft local plan is issued before deciding whether we need the support of a planning consultant.  


  1. Fund raising and membership growth

We have £2,369 remaining in the GFRA bank account. If we decide we need further planning consultant support, in Spring 2018, we estimate that we will need £10,000 to respond to the draft single plan. Therefore, if we decide we need this support we will need to raise a further £7,631 to commission the planning consultant. We have voluntary donations from 206 of our 326 members. The Committee decided to wait until we know whether we need to raise the £10,000 before requesting further donations.


  1. Meeting with our counterparts in Berkhamsted
    We met the Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG) in January. Link to website http://www.nosouthberkhamstedconcept.com/about-brag/ .  BRAG's response to the public consultation was similar to the GFRA response. Like us BRAG worked closely with their Town Council and they recommended Hemel Hempstead, with their significant infrastructure, should take the majority of the new housing.  BRAG are keen that if our views are aligned at the next stage then we should consider a joint GFRA/BRAG response to the draft local plan. The Committee decided to review our response to the draft local plan with BRAG and if are responses are aligned then we would respond together.


  1. Information withheld by Dacorum finally released
    It took 10 months from the point of raising a Freedom of Information request with Dacorum to them finally releasing the documentation related to the Grove Fields. The GFRA had to escalate the complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) twice to finally receive the 48 page vision document that the developers have produced for Dacorum for the Grove Fields. It begs the question: Is this really a public consultation or has Dacorum already got a solution that it has designed with developers. The Committee decided to publish an article in the Gazette drawing attention to this.


  1. Recent erection of metal fencing in Grove Fields

Two sections of 2 metre high metal fencing have been erected on the border of Grove Fields. They have been used to close a gap in the natural hedgerow on Bulbourne Road and Grove Road. Dacorum Enforcement has investigated this and has confirmed that the new fencing is not in breach of any planning rules.


7. RELX has appealed the planning decision to refuse their erection of a 2.5 metre high metal fence

Many of you will remember that the GFRA was created off the back of defeating RELX's application to erect a 2.5 metre metal fence around the Grove Fields on the 19th April, 2017. RELX has now appealed this decision and we have until the 10th April, 2108 to respond to the basis of their appeal. A separate email in this regard will come out to all members requesting everyone to make contact with Dacorum and the Planning Inspector.


Thank you for your continued support

The GFRA Committee.

15th March, 2018.


 Grove Fields Residents Association



Member Update 5

December 20th 2017

Dear Grove Fields Residents Association (GFRA) member.

Here are the headline discussion topics:

  1. Our response to the public consultation has been submitted
  2. What happens in the New Year?
  3. Do we need further planning consultant advice?
  4. Fund raising and membership growth
  5. Recent erection of metal fencing in Grove Fields

More detail behind each of the headlines is contained within the email below.


1. Our response to the public consultation has been submitted

Thank you for the donations and the working group effort that made the production of the attached GFRA report possible. Our report states Dacorum has not fully explored all alternatives before recommending the release of the green belt for housing development. Our report recommends that over the next 19 years, the scale of housing development for Tring should be 300 houses in addition to the 500 already committed. Hemel Hempstead, after years of investment in infrastructure, should take the majority of new housing in Dacorum. Our response is very closely aligned with that of Tring Town Council; they have proposed that TR-H5 (Land at Dunsley Farm) is developed with a mixture of employment, housing development and playing fields.


2. What happens in the New Year?

Dacorum will review the public consultation feedback, including our report, between now and Spring 2018. Dacorum will then issue a draft local plan for consultation. The draft local plan will recommend the actual number and location of houses to be built in Tring. At this time, we will either need to make the case for the Grove Fields (TR-H1 to TR-H3) to be removed from the draft plan or continue to make the case for them not to be added to the plan. The landowners of the Grove Fields will be represented at this next stage, lobbying for their land to be included in the final local plan. Once the local plan is finalised by Dacorum it will be submitted to representatives of Central Government to examine their recommendations.

 

3. Do we need further planning consultant advice?

Developing the attached report with the planning consultant required a significant amount of effort: reviewing the draft response from the planning consultant and a significant amount of effort consolidating individual feedback in to a single response from the GFRA. The planning consultant developed the 'master' document and incorporated knowledge of the strategic planning process. Having seen the final report, we welcome feedback from the membership as to whether you feel such an investment of funds is good value for money or whether you feel we should respond without the support of a planning consultant. If you feel we should respond without planning consultant support then please let us know if you are prepared to help research and write our response to the draft local plan.

The Committee will listen to your feedback on this question and make a decision early in the New Year.

 

4. Fund raising and membership growth

We have received £9,365 in voluntary donations from 206 of our 325 members. We made £3,000 profit at the fundraising event on Friday 1st December. This provides a total of £12,365. The first report from the planning consultant cost the GFRA £10,000.

Therefore, we have £2,365 remaining in the GFRA bank account. If we decide we need further planning consultant support, in Spring 2018, we estimate that we will need £10,000 to respond to the draft single plan. Therefore, if we decide we need this support we will need to raise a further £7,635 to commission the planning consultant. We would appreciate your ideas on how we can raise these funds if they are required.

 

5. Recent erection of metal fencing in Grove Fields

Two sections of 2 metre high metal fencing have been erected on the border of Grove Fields. They have been used to close a gap in the natural hedgerow on Bulbourne Road and Grove Road. The GFRA has asked Dacorum whether the fencing should be allowed under permissible development and this is currently being investigated. The Enforcement Case Officer investigating is Edward Arnold and he is contactable at edward.arnold@dacorum.gov.uk. His boss is Philip Stanley and is contactable on planning.enforcement@dacorum.gov.uk. The case reference number is E/17/00515.


Merry Christmas to you and your family.


The GFRA Committee.

20th December, 2017.

Grove Fields Residents Association

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