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17/02563/1 Outline planning application for the erection of up to 85 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.

(Direct link to NHDC documents)

 Deadline for Comments / Objections / Support is 16/11/2017

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Reserved Matters (Full details)

Contrary to previous advice.  I consider that is is advisable to write on all matters, but remembering that, at this stage, the most important views to express are on Access, the unacceptable Location, Dwelling Numbers and Density.  

The reason for this is simply that, in the past, i.e. the outline planning application for 82 dwellings (now 78), which despite being warned, the councillors failed to grasp that once approved they had lost control over numbers.

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Current situation:

The original site which was known as Land off Holwell Road, Pirton (17/01543/1), commonly known as Holwell Turn and the application for up to 99 dwellings was refused by North Herts District Council. This is a second attempt to get an application accepted, albeit for the slightly amended dwelling number of up to 85 dwellings - little else has changed, e.g.:

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 have done so  frankly with the approval of 78 houses, and other small developments that have recently been built and others about to be, the community feels we have already accepted more than our share and more will damage the community and the character of Pirton.

Villagers have formed an action group see PAG for their details and advice.


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.

17/02563/1 ETF2 (Elm Tree Farm 2)A new application for the erection of up to 85 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, as a result of experience (see we should make all appropriate comments including this relating Access, the unacceptable Location, Dwelling Numbers and Density.

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. This is an updated version of my previous submission (99 dwellings) and the major changes are shown in red. 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 28/10/2017.

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Location: 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.

The development is contrary to NHDC emerging Local Plan 2011-31 policy HDS4, which states that "Development on the periphery of settlements should generally be at a lower density to mark the transition to the rural area beyond."

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.

Access: The proposed 'Y' junction to serve the approved application for 78 houses (16/02256/1) ETF1 has not yet had a safety audit for 78 dwellings.


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 there is no approved Construction Management Plan to serve the approved application for 78 dwellings (17/00335/1) - both proposed routes (applications 17/02023/1 and 17/02024/1) have been refused by the NHDC Planning Control Committee on safety grounds.

To consider an application for access for an additional 85 dwellings which would require identical access would lead to a presumption that the development is considered practical by NHDC and any the rejection of subsequent application(s) would inevitably lead to appeals and cost to NHDC and us as rate payers.  This application should be rejected.

Housing Need: An application for 78 dwellings 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.  

Dwelling Numbers: The proposal for 85 dwellings would represent an increase of 18% 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 over 34%.

Density: The proposed density is unacceptable for this location and specifically for any ‘transition’ from the built area to Pirton rural setting.

Other Detrimental Impacts: There will be substantial noise pollution from delivery, construction and site traffic from the approved development of 78 houses for three years.  The proposed development of a further 85 will either extend this by a further three years plus or more than double the proposed number of development associate vehicles.  I draw your attention to the safety concerns and refusal of the proposed construction management plans, which must make such an increase unacceptable to NHDC.

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.

Population: 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 significant ant 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