North, East, South and West – Will it ever stop?
Ages ago in the Journal I used the heading ‘North, East, South and West’ to highlight what the Civic Society was seeing, through its commitment to the built environment, as opportunistic development aspirations by national and local companies who were not fulfilling an agreed vision of Buntingford but acting solely in their business interests.
It is getting worse and as you can see from the excellent BARD newsletter Taylor Wimpey have now submitted two new applications for land east of Hare Street Road. If there is any justice the attack on the Town by this company will be turned down at the appeal. To the west approval has been given to the Longmead development with only minor amendments to the original application.
One could go on and on. There is the application for housing on Park Farm Industrial Estate, Ermine Street and while we are at it what about the Aspenden Bridge site – we all know how perfect the road access is in that area!
Then there is the issue of ‘affordable housing’ – yes we need it, but a requirement of 40 per cent is flawed thinking by EHC planning. Many of the potential residents will not find employment in Buntingford and will have to commute by their own means, for public transport is inadequate for work purposes as we all know.
The National Trust and some of its leaders have highlighted in the national press and on TV the powerful lobbying impact of the construction industry backed up with financial donations. The Trust is highly critical of the loss of countryside and our rural heritage but at the same time promoting development in cities, especially on brown field sites. This is a position BCS and our national organisation Civic Voice fully supports.
The lack of a Local Plan as we have said many times opens the gate for developers and we must point the finger at EHC for their failures in this respect, although we understand they are desperately trying to catch up.
BCS, BARD, the Chamber of Commerce and Town Council have produced a document with professional input which should inform the Local Plan. It is critical that you express your view on this 'Vision for Buntingford’ so look out for your chance on the 7th, 14th and most important of all is the 21st September at the Manor House.
The future of Buntingford can be influenced by you, but your active engagement is essential.
Derek K Cooper,
Chairman, Buntingford Civic Society