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17/01543/1 Outline planning application for the erection of up to 99 dwellings with public open space, lands... at Land off Holwell Road, Pirton - Planning Application (Direct link to NHDC documents)

17/01543/1 Outline Application: Outline planning application for the erection of up to 99 dwellings with public open space, landscaping and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) and vehicular access point from Holwell Road. All matters reserved except for means of access.

 Deadline for Comments / Objections / Support is 3/8/2017*
The date has changed because of late advertising in the local paper.

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The original site which was known as and Land Adjacent To Elm Tree Farm, Hambridge Way (16/02256/1) and commonly known as Holwell Turn has received approval for 78 house, albeit that the Construction Management Plan Application (17/00335/1) which includes the plan to get construction traffic to the site has not, so currently they are unable to start building.  For further information on this (click here).

Current situation:

Firstly we must distinguish between old and new applications so I intent to refer to the approved application (78 houses) as ETF1 (Elm Tree Farm 1) and the new one below as ETF2 (Elm Tree Farm 2 - 99 houses).  Please note: that in all formal correspondence you must use the reference number and correct (NHDC) description/name - see above

17/01543/1 ETF2 (Elm Tree Farm 2)

A new application for the erection of up to 99 dwellings on the field next to the original application (78 dwellings).  It is a ‘reserved matters’ application which means, at this stage, only certain aspects of the development are under consideration and that appears to be just access - however this will need confirmation as NHDC’s text has been misleading in the past.

Most villager’s are against this development.  This is not NIMBY-Ism, the community and its emerging Neighbourhood Plan recognised that Pirton need to accept a share of the new housing need:

Villagers have formed an action group and have met and have created a Facebook site at


It should go without saying that you should read the background documents and make up your own mind as to whether to object, support just comment.

Below are some of the ‘key’ items to consider, use what ever you wish and agree with and add more if you can and submit your own comments remembering that individual submissions are best, e.g. if two people sign a letter NHDC only count that as one submission! A copy of my latest draft of my submission is available via the button below, but please remember this is not yet finished or properly proof read and may change dramatically before I submit so revisit for the latest version - this version is 18/7/2017.


The proposed development in outside of both the existing and the proposed village development boundary.  The new boundary is supported by NHDC and the community of Pirton .  The proposal to develop this land is therefore contrary to the emerging NHDC Local Plan and the Pirton Neighbourhood Plan.

The development is contrary to NHDC Saved Polices: Policy 6 - Rural Areas beyond the Green Belt and does not meet any of the exceptions as outlined in Saved Policy 29.

For the proposed boundary and the extensive and democratic consultation undertaken by NHDC and the Pirton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group on behalf of Pirton Parish Council to have any meaning this application must be rejected.

There would not be good lines of communication or connectivity with the rest of Pirton and therefore does not fit with character of Pirton which is a nucleated, close knit character of Pirton and therefore will unacceptably harm that character.


The application has all matters reserved except access and therefore I reserve my detailed comments on all other matters, other than access and dwelling numbers  for another time.


The application in terms of access is inadequate and therefore the application should be refused until proper information is provided:

Construction Traffic Access:

This application is being made at a time when the Construction Management Plan (17/00335/1) for the approved development (16/02256/1) has not yet been approved and indeed there is much discussion over whether any safe means of access can be identified.  This development does not have a safe construction access and the traffic movement would have a significant impact on Pirton.  When its cumulative impact is considered with the recently approved application for 78 houses the detrimental impact to safety and to Pirton is unacceptable.

Housing Need:

An application for 78 houses on land immediately adjacent to this site has recently received approval.  This more than meets any evidenced or perceived need of the Pirton community and in fact will already contribute significantly to the wider needs of North Hertfordshire.  

This rate of increase is not sustainable for Pirton and would have an unacceptable impact on the character of Pirton and its supporting infrastructure and the community.

Dwelling Numbers:

The proposal for 99 houses would represent an increase of 19% on existing housing stock, but its cumulative effect added to other recent builds and those approved must be considered for good planning to be properly undertaken.  This would represent an increase of 37%.


The proposed density is a net 25dph.  This is out of character density at the edge of Pirton is currently, and much more commonly, around 12dph.

Sustainability - General:

Sustainable development has three elements economic, social and environmental, it means "means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don't mean worse lives for future generations."   When looking at the social dimension, planners must consider the impact on the community.  

In its core principles, the NPPF (para 55) includes the need "To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities."  This development will not enhance Pirton and, especially when considered with the other development, i.e. recent builds and those approved, cannot have anything other than a significant detrimental impact and therefore should be rejected.


The currently population of Pirton is about 1274 with an average dwelling occupation of 2.45.  Recent builds and those approved will lead to a 18% increase in population and with this application is added a 37% increase. This is too much too quickly and cannot be sustained without significanta\\ damage to the character of Pirton

Vehicles:  The average number of cars in Pirton households is 1.86.  If it is assumed that this figure occupancy is applicable to the new houses then recent builds and those approved will lead to a 18% increase in cars and when this application is added a 37% increase. With associated vehicle movements.

In previous applications, concerns over safety, particularly when considering the interaction between traffic with pedestrians and cyclists and the lack of footpaths in many of the nearby roads. In the past, these fears have largely been ignored or dismissed - it is now time that they are properly given consideration.  

Sustainability - Infrastructure:

The following cannot sustain the level of increase in population and vehicles proposed:

All of the following are not capable of comfortably accepting the additional strain of this development with its increase in cars and population, for many the volume increase is not sustainable and the section 106 money would simply not be sufficient to make all the improvements required and therefore this development is not sustainable:

Local roads and main roads into Hitchin, Bus Service, Shop and Post Office, Village Hall, Primary School, Pre-school, Foul Sewerage System:

In respect of the latter, Anglian Water have indicated that the system can cope with the extra flow.  However, it is not the pipework that is the problem, but the pumping station that fails too frequently causing flooding and pollution.

It is also worth noting that the connection to the sewer will close Holwell Road to traffic and require a diversion through Shillington or Hitchin to travel to or from Holwell and have a direct impact on construction traffic to this application and the recently approved application for 78 dwellings.

Draft Letter

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