Category Archives: News

The Black Barns being covered up!

Waterford Heath nature reserve update

The Black Barns being covered up!

The Black Barns being covered up!

Below is the August 2014 newsletter from Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. If you’d like to see what they do, or get involved, you can visit their website here.

The Black Barns have finally been covered over, now it is time for mother nature to help the area recover and for the wildlife to move back in.

There have been 6 work parties on the heath in the past 3 months. These have averaged around 6 volunteers each and have achieved the following:

 

    • Created some new steps in the North Heath leading towards the railway. This was a dangerous path, particularly in wet weather.

 

    • A short break whilst working on the new steps on the north heath

      A short break whilst working on the new steps on the north heath

      Three new benches have been installed two on the south heath, one at the top of the new steps looking towards the railway.

 

    • Excessive balsam has been pulled near the river Beane

 

    • The fences around both pond areas(north and south heaths) have been repaired to keep dogs out to provide a refuge for breeding birds

 

    • Two experimental patches of goats rue have been poisoned using weedkiller.

 

    • The Meadow at the southern end of the south heath has been cut and raked.

 

    • The glade in the conifer woods have been cut and raked

 

    • The access to the north heath has been improved to
      reduce accessibility to motorbikes.

 

Future Works:

Volunteer work parties will be doing the following:

 

    • Scrub will be cut back on both heaths

 

    • The site will be surveyed for dangerous trees.

 

    • A mink raft will be installed in the River Beane (subject to EA approval)

 

    • The paths around the site will be cut back

 

    • A new bench will be installed in Great Molewood

 
If you would like to get involved with the site please get in contact and I will put you in touch with the appropriate warden:

North Heath – Marcella Randall
South Heath – Andrew Wood
Great Molewood – Steve Kiln

Andy Brown
Reserves Officer HMWT
Mob: 07787 528804 Email: Andy.Brown@hmwt.org

School Crossing Patrol

School Crossing Patrol wanted

School Crossing Patrol

School Crossing Patrol

Hertfordshire County Council are urgently looking for somebody who would be interested in becoming the school crossing patrol for Bengeo Primary School.

The pay will be £6.47 per hour (excluding holiday pay and retainer).

If you are interested, or would like further information, please contact Heather Hill on 01992 556815.

Planned application

Call for Community Representatives

Planned application

Planned application

Lafarge have been granted their application to build 8 homes on land adjoining Sacombe Rd. To date the ecological surveys and the course of the proposed footpath have begun. The aim is to make the homes low or zero carbon neutral, and some details about this can be found here.

In addition, there is a requirement to set up a liaison group to act as community representatives while the works are taking place. They will ensure the company is keeping to their commitments and will raise any complaints from local residents. If anyone is interested in being on the group please contact us.

 

To view the original story, click here.

Sacombe Rd Restrictions

Informal Consulatation on Sacombe Rd Restrictions

Residents around Sacombe Road will shortly be receiving a letter detailing the proposals for the new restrictions suggested for the road. Nicholas Martin, the Traffic Regulation Officer, is asking for any comments or observations from residents so they can be collated and submitted to the Development Management Engineer.

The letter is as follows:

Proposed Traffic Regulation Order – No Waiting At Any Time Restrictions – Sacombe Road, Bengeo, Hertford (amended scheme)

Hertfordshire County Council propose to implement new ‘No Waiting At Any Time’ (double yellow lines) and “No Waiting 8am to 5pm” waiting restrictions on specified lengths of Sacombe Road, Bengeo, Hertford.

These measures, promoted for reasons of safety, are associated with the development works at Bengeo Primary School and an expected increase in pupilage together with new initiatives for vehicle parking and walking to and from the premises.

This proposal is based on part of the final planning consent and is the subject of a condition within the Decision Notice.

Shown below is the relevant amended drawing showing the detail and extent of what is proposed.

The process of implementing waiting restrictions is a legislative and formal one as specified in Law. However, prior to embarking upon that process, it is important and useful to seek your views on what is proposed.

This letter initiates the informal consultation part of the Traffic Regulation Order process and if you have any comments or observations, I would be pleased to receive them at your earliest convenience and in any case within twenty one days from receipt.

Nicholas Martin
TRO Officer
Traffic Order Services (Developments)
Network Strategy & Compliance Group (Highways)
Ground Floor, North West Block, Postal Point CH0242
County Hall, Hertford SG13 8DN

Sacombe Rd Restrictions

Sacombe Rd Restrictions

Consultation on Port Hill Traffic Lights

port_hill_lightsUpdate to story
This proposal has been supported by town councillors and there were also calls for a 20mph zone. It is not expected that any work will be carried out before the 2015-16 financial year.

The town councillors have A letter has recently been sent out from Hertfordshire County Council detailing plans for traffic lights to be installed at the bottom of Port Hill. If you wish to comment on the plans you can do so using the following information:
Ref: G-I1305.12_100_Con.01
Contact: Martin Wright
Email: Martin.Wright1@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Port Hill, Hertford SG14 3EN: Proposed Signal Controlled Pedestrian Crossing.

The proposal for a new pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Port Hill is seeking to reduce car journeys by improving pedestrian connectivity between Bengeo and Hertford town centre, via Hartham. The proposed crossing will address concerns regarding the current lack of crossing facilities on Port Hill, in close proximity to two schools.

Investigations have been conducted along the lengths of Port Hill and Cowbridge to find the most suitable location for a controlled pedestrian crossing. The location shown on the attached plan has been selected as the best available to meet the required safety standards (including lines-of-sight) for a scheme of this nature, and to avoid compromising existing traffic flows in Hertford. The design has also sought to minimise the effect of the proposed works upon existing features.

The attached plan shows the details of the proposed work, resulting from a recent investigation. The details are summarised as follows: –

 

    • Proposed realignment of the carriageway’s west side kerbline between Nos. 39 and 47 Port Hill.

 

    • Installation of dropped kerbs, tactile paving and traffic signals on each side of Port Hill at this location to provide a ‘controlled’ pedestrian crossing.

 

    • Alterations to the road drainage system as necessary to facilitate the installation of the new crossing.

 

    • Installation of appropriate signage to provide advanced warning to motorists approaching the new crossing.

 

Anyone wishing to provide feedback can do by Friday 22nd August 2014, using the contact details given above.

For your information, the scheme will be funded using a developer contribution from the Sainsbury’s superstore development to improve sustainable transport in the town. Implementation is not scheduled before the 2015/16 financial year, however we are keen to understand local residents’ views on the proposals.

If you have any concerns regarding other highway issues, or wish to report a highway fault, please do so online via www.hertsdirect.org/highwayfaults or telephone 0300 123 4047.

Woodhall Close BBQ

Woodhall Close Summer BBQ

Woodhall Close BBQ

Woodhall Close BBQ

Woodhall Close kicked off the summer holidays with a street barbecue on the 20th of July. Many burgers and sausages were consumed along with summer salads donated by the residents. Delicious desserts of the chocolate variety rounded off the splendid barbecued feast. Games for the children on the green included sack and egg and spoon races, parachute fun and a tug of war. It was a well attended occasion giving party goers a chance to welcome some new neighbours on to the close and say good-bye to a few who were leaving. The hot sunny weather was an added bonus for the great afternoon!

The Molewood Residents’ Association is happy to make a contribution to community events, as with the Woodhall Close barbeque, so please feel free to contact us.

The Drive 2014 Quiz

The Drive Quiz 2014

The Drive Quiz 2014

On Friday 13 June The Drive Bengeo held their 2nd Charity Quiz night in aid of local charities Isabel Hospice and Mudlarks.

Over 60 local residents, family and friends filled the church hall on Duncombe Road and challenged themselves to answer questions that ranged from Superstititions (note the date of the quiz), through TV detective series to the more usual Current Affairs and General Knowledge.

Local businesses were generous in donating prizes for the raffle and these included items from Headlines, Indulgence, The Secret Garden, Rigsbys, Everyone Active and many more.

£850 was raised which will be split between the 2 beneficiary charities. The Isabel Hospice is a charity which provides palliative care and support to any adult with a life-limiting disease. Mudlarks is a community gardening charity aiming to integrate people with learning difficulties and mental health issues into the community through gardening whilst also promoting conservation and allowing people of all abilities to learn and work together.

The Molewood Residents’ Association contributed towards The Drive’s quiz night, and would be happy to do so for any other residents wishing to organise a community event. To get in touch, please visit our contact page.

District Plan for Bengeo

MRA respond to District Plan

District Plan for Bengeo

District Plan for Bengeo

In May the Molewood Residents’ Association wrote to East Herts District Council objecting to their Draft District Plan. The Plan has been created to detail how East Herts would cope with housing demands up to the year 2031. It has been proposed that 3,242 new homes be built in and around Hertford, 150 of which are to be placed on the site of Bengeo Nursery and neighbouring fields.

In response to the letter, a brief email from the Planning Policy Team states:
“We are intending on taking a report to our Members via the District Planning Executive Panel on the 17th July containing a summary (headlines) of the consultation responses. We will take a more in-depth report in September. As you can imagine we have thousands of responses to analyse and this will take some time to work out what changes will be required to the emerging Plan as a result of the consultation.”
“You will receive an update via the District Plan Bulletin which we send to those on our database around the time of the Panels. All Panel papers are available 5 working days prior to the meetings, and these meetings are open to the public to attend. The meetings are also webcast so you can watch them live or at any time.”

The MRA had placed a banner on the Sacombe Road roundabout to highlight the issues with the District Plan. However at the request of the chair of the Town Council’s allotment committee we have since removed it. The process for agreeing and building the homes detailed in the Plan will be a long one, and the banner is being stored ready for the next stage in the campaign!

The letter sent to East Herts District Council can be read below:

Draft East Herts District Plan (Preferred Options) Consultation

I wish to comment on behalf of the members of the Molewood Residents’ Association on proposal HERT4 North of Hertford. The association represents residents of the 1960s Leach Homes estate as well as The Avenue, Lodge Close, The Drive, The Orchard and Buckwells Field.

It is the view of the association that Bengeo cannot take any more new houses. As it stands the proposal is unacceptable in absolute terms by impinging on the Green Belt. It would lead to development of a site with inadequate and dangerous access by road. Other key infrastructure, in particular schools and the road network to the south, would be inadequate to cope with this proposal. It would threaten farmland and hedgerows which provide valuable support to Waterford Heath.

Infrastructure: schools, roads, medical facilities and drains

1. Current infrastructure in the area is not adequate to support further development,
2. There is considerable pressure on school places in the immediate locality, and any new development would add to this.
3. Sacombe Road is a narrow road which is unsuitable for significant volumes of traffic. The road is already at capacity, if not over it. The proposed allocation is considered to be contrary to EHDC LP 2007, policy, TR1. The road is already difficult to pass along safely for road users of any kind due to the additional traffic and parking associated with the Buckwells Field (Fairview Serenity development). This situation becomes dangerous twice a day during term time as parents of children at Bengeo Primary School seek to deliver and collect their offspring.
4. Traffic generated by the new homes proposed on the site would place additional unacceptable pressure on the B158 Port Hill. Congestion in the morning rush hour from there to the Old Cross junction is bad at times under current loadings. This causes drivers to use the Bengeo rat run leading south from the site via The Wick and The Avenue and emerging at Hertford North via Beane Road. Residents of the proposed housing would be barred (in theory, at least) from using this route by the existing area-wide Access Only restrictions.
5. The 333 bus runs along The Avenue every 30 minutes during the rush hours. During the off-peak period the 333 route serves Molewood and Revels Road alternately, providing an hourly service from the Molewood shops or Greyhound pub. This would be inadequate to cope with further development to the north of the settlement.
6. Bengeo sits on a hill some 35m above Hertford with its schools, shops and railway stations. Connecting roads are on short steep gradients and provide a significant barrier to cycle and, to a lesser degree, pedestrian access.
7. Bengeo has no medical facilities other than the vets on The Avenue. It has no doctor, dentist or pharmacy. The extra houses proposed by EHDC for the town, wherever they are built, will place undue strain on existing medical facilities.
8. Living on a hill means we have no fear of floods but water pressure is not always what it should be. Adding 150 homes to the supply is likely to stretch it to breaking point. We understand too that other services are at maximum capacity.

Location: Green Belt, Conservation Area and gravel pit

1. The Green Belt around Hertford is precious as are its green fingers. The land proposed for HERT4 is our connection to the countryside. It supports the valuable habitat at Waterford Heath.
2. The allocation would not be fitting for the landscape character area in which it sits. The development would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) in respect of development within the Green Belt, in that no exceptional circumstances have, in our view, been demonstrated. In addition, it would be contrary to East Herts District Council (EHDC) Local Plan Second Review 2007 (EHDC LP 2007), policies: GBC1, GBC2, GBC3, and GBC14.
3. The allocation site is outside the Hertford settlement boundary and within emerging policy the site was classed as a fail as a suitable area for additional housing for reasons of infrastructure and inadequate access as a result, in particular, of the already pressured Sacombe Road. In decision-making the NPPF is clear that planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The development would not be in accordance with the EHDC LP 2007, policy HE1. Furthermore the development would form a segregated community due to its location and would not form a sustainable development as set out in the NPPF: Sustainable Communities, and is contrary to EHDC LP 2007, policy: SD1.
4. The proposal is also contrary to EHDC LP 2007, policy ENV23, as the resultant development would give rise to light pollution in the Green Belt.
5. The development would be contrary to EHDC LP 2007 policy in respect of development next to a Conservation Area, which extends as far as including the allotments immediately next to the proposed developed area.
6. Bengeo sits on a hill some 35m above Hertford. Connecting roads are on short steep gradients and provide a significant barrier to cycle and, to a lesser degree, pedestrian access.
7. The development would be very close to Rickneys Quarry (preferred area 2) which is an identified site within the Hertfordshire County Council Minerals Local Plan 2002-2016, Minerals Policy 3.

Ecology and landscape

1. Were development to take place control of density and layout would be critical to protect existing green infrastructure and the valuable habitat that supports the nearby Waterford Heath. Excessive density would lead to houses around the edge of the site being too close to the site perimeter and existing mature trees and hedges. These existing trees and vegetation form a natural screen around the perimeter of the site; they offer the opportunity to screen any new housing from the surrounding countryside, and therefore need full consideration in the design.
2. In order to protect these valuable natural features we ask that all development (buildings, roads, garages, sheds, driveways) is kept away from the canopies of trees – the tree canopy is a very rough estimate of the root area and usually an under-estimate and so this is a minimum requirement. A development-free width of at least 8m along the whole boundary of the site would protect existing trees and allow some growth room to semi-mature trees, as well as space for more landscape tree planting.

Conclusion

We believe that the development suggested as HERT4 in the Draft District Plan – Preferred Options Consultation document is not deliverable, accessible or sustainable and would therefore be contrary to the District Council’s own policy tests. It appears from the evidence provided and from our own local knowledge that the sites west of Hertford are better provided with the school places, passenger transport services and road links needed.

20mph zone?

Update on traffic around Molewood

20mph zone?

20mph zone?

Over the past couple of months there have been some updates to the issue of traffic in the Molewood area. The 3 areas covered are:

Speed Limit
While most drivers keep within the speed limit in and around the Molewood area, there is still concern about those drivers who speed around Bengeo Street, The Avenue, Church St and the rat run down Lower Bengeo.
There has been work to collect speed data around the area, which is indicating a new speed limit of 20mph could be justified. It is early days as to whether this results in campaign urging drivers to reduce their speed, or a legally enforced speed limit.

School Patrol Crossing
We have been told that with any luck a School Crossing Patrol will be operating at Bengeo School by the end of this term, or the start of the next. This is a situation which has been pushed back several times and which many parents have been waiting for.

Areas for restrictions

Yellow lines in Sacombe Rd

Yellow Lines on Sacombe Rd
The process to seal a new Traffic Regulation Order should be completed shortly. Once this is in place, work can begin on the new Yellow Lines in Sacombe Rd, and should be completed ready for the new school term in September.

If you have any comments on these issues, please feel free to contact us via our contact page.

District Plan for Bengeo

Chance to reply to the District Plan

District Plan for Bengeo

District Plan for Bengeo

The East Herts District Council have issued their Draft District Plan to build 3,242 new homes in and around Hertford by 2031. As part of their plan, 150 of these homes are set to be build on the site of Bengeo Nursery and neighbouring fields. Only last year an application to build 58 homes on Bengeo Nusery was rejected because of a number of factors, including encroachment on Green Belt land.

The MRA are encouraging Molewood Residents to make their views known to the council, and the pdf here can give you information on how to do this. The MRA is against the proposal until we see real improvements to the services and facilities we need to live and get about. The full reasons can be found here, but in summary:

  • Sacombe Rd and the Rat Run are already too congested
  • Bengeo Primary School is already stretched to it’s limit
  • Complete lack of medical services in Bengeo
  • Any development should include a woodland buffer to protect views to Green Belt

East Herts are looking for opinions on their proposals, and would like any comments to be given to them by 5pm on Thursday 22 May 2014.

To view the plan:

The plan is available at all local libraries, Town Council offices and the District Council offices in Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford.

The Draft District PLan and all supporting documents, together with some FAQ’s, can also be viewed online at www.eastherts.gov.uk/districtplan.

To respond to the plan:

Online
The Council are encouraging residents to submit comments online at www.eastherts.gov.uk/districtplan, where you can also register for updates.

Email
planningpolicy@eastherts.gov.uk

Post
Planning Policy Team
East Herts Council
Wallfields
Pegs Lane
Hertford
SG13 8EQ