CPRE Report on Hertsmere Local Plan

Full report by CPRE Hertfordshire (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) can be found here:

Key concerns with the Draft Plan are:

  1. Emphasis on economic growth at the expense of nature and the environment
  2. Lack of protection of Green Belt as a Strategic Objective for the Plan
  3. Overprovision of housing based on out-of-date data
  4. Failure to address climate change
  5. Underestimation of the opportunities for regeneration and reuse of previously developed land

Draft Local Plan

HERTSMERE BOROUGH COUNCIL DRAFT LOCAL PLAN

The Letchmore Heath Village Trust exists to protect and sustain quality of both the village and the lives of those who live there.

In addition to comments already submitted in respect of proposed development at Little Simpsons in Letchmore Heath (HEL 509), the Letchmore Heath Village Trust has the following objections to the Draft Local Plan:

  1. Unacceptable loss of Green Belt
  2. Residential overdevelopment in Hertsmere
  3. Lack of proper detail and planning for requisite infrastructure
  4. Industrial creep inside the Green belt

1. UNACCEPTABLE LOSS OF GREEN BELT

Proposals to build on Green Belt are unacceptable. The Prime Minister at his recent party conference stated that the new focus will be on boosting construction on brownfield sites, which have been previously developed and are less controversial locations for housebuilding and that green fields would not be built upon. The many objections to the Solar Plant development on Green Belt land and our Councilors’ overwhelming rejection of the application indicate clear local support for the Prime Minister’s position.

Taken together, HEL179, HEL180, HEL199, HEL219/252/HEL345 and HEL509 together with other unspecified proposals would mean over an additional 130 houses in Aldenham Parish villages. This is completely contrary to the stated aims of Green Belt policy which include safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, preserving the setting and special character of historic areas and checking unrestricted sprawl. These proposals also detract from the stated opportunities and benefits of the Green Belt which include providing opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population, the retention of attractive landscapes and the enhancement of landscapes, near to where people live as well as securing nature conservation interests and the retention of land in agricultural, forestry and related uses.

We strongly object to building on Green Belt particularly in an area which is so close to London. We do not believe that housing development on the Green Belt passes the “ very special circumstances” test – namely both a vital need for the specific development proposed, and that it could not be carried out equally successfully somewhere else, outside the Green Belt.

Residents are already bracing for either an appeal against the Solar Plant decision or a new proposal for a smaller scale solar plant. Whilst either would be very strongly opposed, any success by the applicants would cause further loss of Green Belt unaccounted for in the Local Plan.

2. RESIDENTIAL OVERDEVELOPMENT OF HERTSMERE

As an individual example, the proposed additional housing for Radlett is excessive. In percentage terms the number of new dwellings proposed for Radlett versus existing households is higher than Potters Bar, Shenley, Bushey and Borehamwood and is nearly 4 times more in percentage terms than South Mimms which has a similar number of existing households.

Collectively, it is likely to be unnecessary for so many houses to be built in Hertsmere as

a) The planning white paper itself proposed a new centralised system under which the government assesses housing need, land constraints, and other factors, and passes them on to planning authorities to implement as a mandatory target. It has been widely reported that this element of the white paper will be dropped when the reforms are finally published.

b) Additionally, the Housing Secretary has stated that he is revisiting the way housing targets are calculated. He has said “I think that some of the assumptions there are probably out of date”. The existing target formula focused more growth in high value and rural areas both of which are found in Hertsmere e.g. Radlett and Aldenham Parish villages.

Accordingly, the number of new homes set out in the Draft Local Plan will have to be reviewed and/or paused. The Council should proactively approach the Housing Department for urgent clarification on these issues before mandating any particular number of new dwellings in the Local Plan.

3. INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES

The current infrastructure in Hertsmere cannot cope with building on the scale proposed in the Draft Local Plan and the Plan itself does very little to address this issue apart from vague references. As an example, Hertsmere acknowledges that “existing pressures on key services within Radlett such as transport, education and healthcare can be partly attributed to the wider catchment area that its facilities serve.” Yet, there are scant proposals for improving these services.

Transport

  • the proposals will cause horrendous traffic congestion on many key roads across the borough, e.g. A41 and A414 and will also cause unacceptable additional congestion on already overused country lanes- eg the roads around Letchmore Heath and Round Bush
  • the Plan contains many references to sustainable transport strategies but no material detail. Without that detail, how can Hertsmere be confident that any new development can be supported by sustainable transport?
  • there seems to be an assumption that given the right infrastructure people will walk or cycle to work whereas the reality is that given its proximity to London many Hertsmere residents simply don’t work locally and can’t walk or cycle to work.
  • Welwyn Hatfield BC and St Albans DC both share boundaries with Hertsmere’s proposed new development of thousands of homes at Bowman’s Cross and have raised concerns over transport difficulties. Welwyn’s draft response said Hertsmere should consider the potential infrastructure implications, adding: “This should include implications on the A414 of bringing forward such a significant site. There is a lack of detail in the consultation document of the proposed sustainable transport links and whether the necessary supporting services and facilities can be provided …”

Schools
The plan is overly optimistic about the availability of school places throughout Hertsmere

  • The proposed residential development of Radlett and the Aldenham villages is substantial but no new secondary schools are proposed. Only a minor class expansion of primary school provision is proposed. The Council seem to suggest that a new secondary school proposed for Bushey will be sufficient but much new housing is proposed there too and there seems to be a naïve assumption that Radlett parents will continue to use private schools although this cannot be assured and is unlikely anyway in the case of the affordable home occupants.
  • Regarding the proposals at Bowman’s Cross, Welwyn are concerned about a section of Hertsmere’s report mentioning Chancellor’s School, which is in their borough and which Hertsmere is anticipating its own students will attend. Welwyn has made it clear that the school will be required to meet demand from their own emerging Local Plan and have voiced their concern about the lack of school provision by Hertsmere.

Medical
There are plenty of references in the Plan to post pandemic requirements but no reference to the increased pressure on medical facilities which is daily headline news. Even, if as hoped, this eventually subsides, any extra capacity provided will be quickly absorbed by the increased population of Hertsmere residents. Specific new medical facility proposals need to be included and these need to be in place before material residential development starts.

Utilities
These are already under heavy strain, with constant piecemeal repairs, just to serve existing settlements. There is no specific proposal in the plan to address this issue.

4. INDUSTRIAL CREEP INSIDE GREEN BELT

Taken as a whole, there is a good deal of industrial proliferation proposed to land on the doorstep of the Aldenham parish villages including Letchmore Heath. Full implementation of this plan, particularly when taken in context of the proposed residential development of the villages, would spoil the unique look and feel of the villages, replacing open agricultural land with a more industrial vista.

  • The designation of the Bio Products Laboratory space as a Rural Employment Area combined with the additional homes proposed to front Dagger Lane will exacerbate existing traffic issues there and take away loss of Green Belt status which has been the only protection against overbuilding of industrial units in that area.
  • We are concerned that Elstree Aerodrome is to become a Special Policy Area losing its Green Belt status and particularly that operational-related development will be supported. Any development should not increase the airborne operations and the consequential environmental/noise impact that would result nor should it materially increase the use of the approach roads – particularly Dagger Lane.
  • The above combined with the proposal that Lismirrane Industrial Estate loses its Green Belt status and will be allocated another 5.2 hectares of land creates too much industrialization in our rural vicinity.

For the reasons set out above, the Letchmore Heath Village Trust strongly opposes the current Draft Local Plan

LHVT.
 
19 November 2021

HEL 509 – Little Simpsons, Letchmore Heath

HEL 509 – Little Simpsons, Letchmore Heath
Proposal to Build 10 New Houses

The Letchmore Heath Village Trust exists to protect and sustain quality of both the village and the lives of those who live there. The Trust wishes to make the following comments and objections to proposals to build 10 new houses at Little Simpsons.

  1. GREEN BELT. This site is agricultural land in Letchmore Heath – a conservation area within the green belt. Both should be respected.
  2. SCALE. The village is a small community of about 100 houses, some dating back to the 16th century, including many small cottages. This proposal would overnight increase the size (number of homes) of the village by 10%, with the increase in population likely to be both unsustainable and considerably more.
  3. ACCESS. Common Lane and Grange lane – two of three access routes to the village – are single track, high banked with occasional passing places. As most access is by car, these lanes are often blocked with traffic – including lorries and commercial vehicles – a situation exacerbated by school traffic to Aldenham and Habs. The addition of 10 new houses with (up to) 20 more cars spilling onto Common Lane means more congestion and safety problems.
  4. SERVICES. There are no shops or services in the village bar an excellent pub, currently being redeveloped. All shops and services have to be reached by car in surrounding communities, often in Radlett.
  5. TRANSPORT. As there is no local public transport, this potential development would conflict with one of the key objectives of the Local Plan: “There will be a reduced need to travel, with homes, jobs and other day to day facilities easily reached by foot, cycle and public transport. People will have a real choice of sustainable travel options.” As the Local Plan further highlights (page 196): “To achieve sustainable growth, and control road congestion, appropriate measures need to be taken to reduce car dependency and manage traffic levels”. This proposal would apparently fly directly in the face of this laudable objective.
  6. DEVELOPMENT. Hertsmere Borough Council decided on 23 April 2019 to allow replacement of an existing agricultural building on this site with an office building. In their decision, the Council stipulated that remaining agricultural building be permanently retained for agricultural use including the land within it for the purpose of ‘protecting the openness of the Green Belt and the appearance of the conservation area consistent with Core Strategy (2013) policies SP1, CS13, CS14 and Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Plan (2016) policies SADM26 and SADM29’.
  7. CHARACTER. There are few local communities which have the character and charm of Letchmore Heath – it is a quintessential English village. This should be protected for future generations and not sacrificed to help meet current and changing housing development targets.

As a footnote, it should be noted that if HEL 509 was included in Council plans, construction traffic could not use New Road. Clear plans for safe access via Common Lane (as set out in the Draft Plan) would need to be offered for consideration – a considerable challenge given a narrow lane and local topography.


For the main reasons set out above, the Letchmore HeathVillage Trust strongly opposes the inclusion of HEL 509 in Council development plans.

LHVT.
November 2021.

Drive Safe

Support Drive Safe!

https://www.hertscommissioner.org/community-drivesafe-scheme-hertfordshire

The Village Trust is preparing to introduce the Herts Police Commissioner’s Drive Safe initiative to Letchmore Heath.

The Drive Safe initiative aims to assess traffic speed in the village, to create driver awareness and to enforce the speed limit by identifying and reporting speeding vehicles to the police who will in the first instance issue a written warning and for repeat offenders, arrange a personal visit by a police officer to their home.

The Village Trust is providing the required petition of support for this initiative but instead of collecting information on your doorstep, we’d like you to email us your name, address, telephone number and email address – we’ll add your information to the petition and submit to the Commissioner’s office electronically.

If you are in favour of this initiative, please email your contact information to news@letchmoreheath.com .

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Hilfield Solar Power Plant (Application 21/0050/FULEI)

The objectives of this note are to update on activity during the last couple of weeks and to emphasise and support the submission of comments and concerns that need to be sent to Hertsmere Borough Council (HBC) before 24th February.

Whilst the priority is to maximise the number of objections received by HBC, we have also been researching the use of consultant and expert advice. When it recently became clear that Aldenham Parish Council were considering the same issues (we are not alone!) the Trust contacted the Chairman of the APC Planning Committee to seek agreement to support and use their consultant report. As mentioned in What’s Happening 1, the idea of having multitudinous consultants spraying advice in different directions is inadvisable. APC have now agreed and confirmed that this report (by DLA Planning Consultants) will be available to us and others. Indeed the report is now in the public domain and can be accessed and read at: https://aldenham-pc.gov.uk/document-category/15th-february-2021/ This information has been shared with other groups including Sharon Woolf’s “Save Our Green Belt” campaign and the Radlett Society and Green Belt Association. Give it a read – and if needed use it to support your submission to HBC.

Our friends at Bhaktivedanta Manor plan to use the DLA report to frame their objections, and Greg is encouraging their potentially voluminous support.

For those who Zoomed in to the APC Planning Committee Meeting on Monday afternoon you will have heard the unanimous support of that Committee in opposing the HSPP plans.

Following discussions with the Bursar, The Aldenham Foundation (Aldenham School) have decided to join LHVT in opposing the development plans. The submission subsequently sent to HBC was submitted therefore on behalf of LHVT and The Aldenham Foundation. The fact that the school wishes to help and support LHVT underlines their continuing support for the local community. Not sure of where Habs are on this??

The Trust has written to The Senior Planning Officer (Mr. Max Saunders) pointing out that key planning documents (60 pages of Glint and Glare Report appendices) appear to be inaccessible and unavailable – even though there are more than 1100 pages in total in the proposal. Whilst receipt of message is confirmed, a response is awaited.

Many of you (?) will have seen the posting from the “Save Our Green Belt” Group (Sharon Woolf) who are working their socks off on this thing. This could help ease the route to making submissions. As at Tuesday afternoon (17th) submissions to HBC stood at: Objections: 489 and Support: 63. Many believe that the objection number needs to be closer to 1000!

To repeat the submission options, HBC guidance is as follows – make comments by:

  1. Using their website http://www.hertsmere.gov.uk/comments quoting the planning application reference number: 21/0050/FULEI.
  2. Emailing your comments to: consult.planning@hertsmere.gov.uk
  3. Writing to: Planning and Economic Development Unit, Hertsmere Borough Council, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1WA quoting Planning Application 21/0050/FULEI
  4. https://www.stopthesolarplant.co.uk/

If you need help on the content of your submission, please contact Greg at gsrogers@gmail.com , or if you need assistance on how to best submit your response, contact Mike at micheal.pickford@btinternet.com

As you know:

EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO GIVE THEIR VIEWS – IT IS NOT LIMITED TO HOUSEHOLDS.

Please ensure that this message is passed to friends and neighbours who may not access the Village Drum or the internet.

All submissions need to be received at HBC by 24TH FEBRUARY.

LHVT

18th February 2021

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Hilfield Solar Power Plant

The idea of this information sheet is to update Letchmore Heathens on change and hopefully progress towards effective objection to Elstree Green Ltd / Enso Energy’s plans for a 320 acre Solar Power Plant. There is lots of activity from a number of local groups, and where possible LHVT is seeking to work together in support of a common objective. These groups include the Radlett Society and Green Belt Association (RS&GBA) and Sharon Woolf’s Radlett Facebook Group (RFBG).

The advice we have been given is that there will need to be a two pronged attack on this proposal. The first of these – and the priority right now – is to encourage as many locals as possible to submit their comments and concerns to Hertsmere Borough Council. To remind you, the planning application number is: 21/0050/FULEI, and all submissions have to be received by 24th FEBRUARY 2021.

Should you wish to use and reinforce any of the key points of objection, these are available on the website above – there are separate postings from LHVT, RS&GBA and RFBG. You will notice (hopefully) that there is a boring consistency and commonality between all three. None of this should stop you adding further concerns or expressing common points in a personal way.

HBC guidance on making comments is by:

  1. Using their website hertsmere.gov.uk/comments quoting the planning application reference number: 21/0050/FULEI.
  2. Emailing your comments to: planning@hertsmere.gov.uk
  3. Writing to: Planning and Economic Development Unit, Hertsmere Borough Council, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1WA quoting Planning Application 21/0050/FULEI

If you need help on the content of your submission, please contact Greg at gsrogers@gmail.com , or if you need assistance on how to best submit your response, contact Mike at micheal.pickford@btinternet.com

It is clear that, contrary to some comment, numbers of objections are vitally important. The planning decision makers will take note of the content and number of objections. And May 2021 is Council Election time! It’s also worth noting that everyone can submit their comments – submissions do not have to be restricted to one per household. It may be that members of the same family have different concerns or comments. THE MORE SUBMISSIONS THE BETTER!

Many informed commentators believe that the single most effective objection rests on the issue of green belt land being used for the Solar Power Plant. The active campaign led by Sharon Woolf and Abigail Levy – with over 500 supporters on the RFBG – is under the banner of: Save Our Green Belt – Stop the Solar Plant. You will shortly) receive their leaflet through your letterbox – as well as seeing their banners.

I mentioned that there were two prongs to this work. The second is to commission expert planning advice together with possible legal counsel. It’s understood that this approach is being considered by a number of groups as well as Councils. LHVT will keep in close contact with these bodies, as we would wish to work together rather than see a multitude of different experts spraying advice in different directions. It will be essential to not only select the right consultants, but to make effective use of their advice at the right time. It would appear that those closer to the planning process believe that decision making after 24thFebruary may be convoluted – witness other contentious planning proposals such as the Radlett Rail Freight Terminal. This could run!

Having said this, in the last couple of days, LHVT has ascertained the names of two planning consultants with a good local reputation who, if needed we could approach and if appropriate commission. The time would then come to test the pockets of those who can provide financial back up to make this work. No problem?!

Two last points. It is recognized that not everyone will agree with what is written above. There will of course be those who wish to support construction of the solar plant. And there will be those who think that we are going too fast / slowly or down the wrong route. If you have comments you wish to make please let us know.

Secondly, it would appear that we are kicking uphill. The proposers of this “horrendous” scheme have had months and years to prepare, taken advice from countless experts, have experience of the planning process, formed alliances with other key parties – all before preparing and submitting their plans. On the other hand, we (Joe Public) are expected to organize our responses, take advice, hire and effectively use experts and consultants in a matter of days. Funny old world.

We’ll post What’s Happening – Number 2 when there’s something to say.

LHVT.

4th February 2021

If you need to contact us:

Alan: alanhlambert@btinternet.com               Greg: gsrogers@gmail.com

Alison: alison.rose111@gmail.com                Linda: lindalambert30@btinternet.com

Andy: andy@cappuccini.net                           Mike: micheal.pickford@btinternet.com

Derek: dmoran@live.co.uk                             Naz: n.mohammed1@btinternet.com

Gareth: gareth@tvgltd.com

LHVT response to Hilfield Solar Power Plant

Letchmore Heath Village Trust response to Hertsmere Borough Council concerning:

HILFIELD SOLAR POWER PLANT

Planning Application Number: 21/0050/FULEI

The Letchmore Heath Village Trust recognises that national and local targets to generate cleaner, greener electricity will lead in some part to solar power.

The Hilfield Solar Plant proposals raise serious questions and concerns. These include:

  1. Greenbelt. The Greenbelt was established for many good reasons, including the separation and protection of communities of all sizes – small villages to major cities. This conversion of greenbelt land to what can be described as light industrial use – land covered in solar panels, transformers, batteries and other ancillary equipment – is greenbelt lost in perpetuity. There will be nothing to halt the merging of villages, towns and the creeping urban sprawl of Greater London. The loss of this protective barrier will blight future generations. The visual impact is unthinkable.
  2. Scale. This is a massive area of land and will be the largest solar plant in the region. The benefit of solar power has to be assessed against the loss of 320 acres of productive agricultural land and countryside in the green belt.
  3. Local Amenities. This area of Hertfordshire countryside has many footpaths and rights of access – particularly in the “Eastern Parcel” of this proposal. Notwithstanding the generous proposals to widen and maintain footpaths, the prospect of walking between wire fences through fields covered with solar panels over 10 feet high is Orwellian. The mental and emotional cost of being unable to walk and exercise in recognisable countryside is immeasurable.
  4. Noise Disruption. Electrical storage and transmission equipment is noisy – as witnessed by available recorded evidence. With multiple (15) inverters proposed, noise levels would be intrusive and unacceptable. In addition, noise and traffic disruption during the construction phases, with thousands of lorry movements (through narrow roads), has the potential to create noisy chaos.
  5. Glint and Glare. The principal concern is around Elstree Aerodrome which is used by light aircraft and helicopters, many on flying school and training flights. The potential danger of glint and glare from solar panels, particularly on inexperienced and trainee pilots, should not be ignored.
  6. Environmental Impact. The replacement of green fields and productive food producing agricultural land with “black belt” solar panels, inverters and transformers will have an inevitable and negative impact on animal and bird life.
  7. Temporary Development. Once the “temporary” occupation of this land ceases in 35 years, what happens? Who will manage, execute and (critically) pay for the removal of redundant hardware and restore the landscape?

Letchmore Heath Village Trust.

February 2021

Map of area where Solar Power Plant is proposed.  Around 125,000 solar panels would be located in the two green coloured areas

HILFIELD SOLAR FARM and BATTERY STORAGE FACILITY

The Trust recognizes that national and local targets to generate cleaner, greener electricity will lead, in some part, to solar power.

The Hilfield Solar Farm proposals raise serious questions and concerns. These include:

  1. Scale. It is proposed convert the use of 123 hectares (over 300 acres) of agricultural land to solar power generation. This will radically change the nature of the local countryside. Given that this single installation will triple the borough’s green energy generation, the loss of so much agricultural land in one area is excessive.
  2. Greenbelt. The local area will be dominated by solar panels. England’s green and pleasant land will be lost for generations – probably forever. Lost farming land could lead to increased building and construction on greenbelt fields.
  3. Visual Impact. Solar panels 3 metres in height can not be described as attractive. They will be a blight on the landscape. It is essential that if built, that these are kept a minimum distance (20 metres) from roads and established pathways.
  4. Temporary Development. This label is misleading. A 35 year change of use from agricultural to solar generation will never be reversed. It is greenbelt land lost forever.
  5. Solar Farm. To describe this proposal as a solar “farm” is a misnomer. This is land being used not for farming but for industrial power generation.
  6. History. Although working with partners, Enso Energy is a new company who may be unable to deal with operational and other issues that will arise.
  7. Footpaths and Wildlife. There are assurances that footpaths will be maintained and wildlife protected and even enhanced. There is profound skepticism concerning these guarantees.
  8. Construction. The building and construction programme will be chaotic and disruptive on already busy country lanes. Thousands of movements of heavy lorries could cause misery, danger and delay.

Planning authorities and villagers should consider the points above when coming to decision. This is a massive development whose scale will disrupt and change local countryside in perpetuity. Solar development does not have to be on this scale. 

Letchmore Heath Village Trust.

October 2020.

Aldenham War Memorial Hall and Cross (A short history of their beginnings 1919 to 1923)

Aldenham War Memorial Hall and Cross (A short history of their beginnings 1919 to 1923)

Both the War Memorial and the Aldenham War Memorial Hall were built using funding raised in the parish of Aldenham and included the residents of Letchmore Heath – Battlers Green – High Cross – Kemps Row – Roundbush _ Otterspool – Wall Hall – Patchetts Green – Delrow – Grove Place – Hillfield – Aldenham School – Aldenham House.

Lord Aldenham offered land on Letchmore Heath Farm Paddock, between the Post office and the pond in the Spinney, for the construction of the Hall and in July 1919 Lord Rendlesham gave Permission for the Cross to be erected on the Letchmore Heath Village Green after draining the Village Green pond.

The hall committee resolved that funds should be raised for both hall and cross on 30th June 1920..

A Mr G Turner was appointed Architect.

A sub-committee was set comprising Major Edgcombe, Mr Kent and Mr Tudor to liaise with the Architect, with Mr Worby being appointed to organise voluntary labour and oversee the building work associated with the hall under the Architects instructions.

The Hall was built using “clay blocks” and the block expert was a Mr Batevas from Norfolk The moulds for the blocks were ordered via Mr Batevus and the Clay for the blocks came from Aldenham House Estate, the clay being dug and the blocks made by local volunteer labour.

The Cross was manufactured by Bromsgrove Guild and was in place by 10 November 1920, with the ceremony being performed on Sunday 6th December 1920.

By December 1920 the cost of the Hall was standing at £3260 and a further £1500 was likely to be needed to complete. The final figure to build and equip the Hall was £3972 and the Cross was £667.

The hall officially opened on Thursday 27th Jan 1921 at 8pm.

In December 1920 it was agreed to erect rails around the green (with small gaps for people) to prevent cattle damaging the cross.

On 24th May 1921 an agreement was made between the Parish Council and the Vicar & Church Wardens of Aldenham Church, in that the church would be the custodian of the Memorial Cross, the cross up to this date had been maintained jointly by the Village Hall and the local Woman’s Institute.

A memorial tablet was fitted on the West Wall of the hall in November 1923, and is inscribed “This hall was erected as a tribute to all those of this Parish who served their King and Country in the Great War 1914-1918 47 men and boys (one only 16yrs old) left the Parish to fight for King and Country, only to die on the battle fields in a foreign land – “Lest we forget”

M Pickford 12/08/2013

Perhaps a time for reflection

 

11th November 2018 – Letchmore Heath

With the 100th anniversary of the cessation of the First World War, perhaps we should take time to reflect on a former resident of Letchmore Heath, Arthur Hawkins, who was killed in action on the 19th April 1916.

Arthur was the eldest son of Hannah and Henry William Hawkins who lived at 3 Letchmore Cottages, (Henry was the son of “Old Henry” and Mary Hawkins). When Henry and Hannah married in 1890 they moved into number 3 Hill Cottages where Arthur was born in the same year. But tragedy struck the family somewhere between April and June 1897 when Arthurs father a domestic gardener died at the age of 31, Arthur would have only been 7 years old at the time.

After his death Hannah moved into number 2 Letchmore Cottages with Arthur and his two younger brothers, Edward aged 14 and Edmund aged 6. Hannah became a laundress working from home and took in a paying lodger, Fredrick Crossley a domestic coachman.

Shortly after the outbreak of war on 28th July 1914 Arthur enlisted with the 8th Battalion of the Bedford Regiment at their recruitment drive in Watford, as Private 14344 A Hawkins He later left the village in September 1914 to fight for “King and Country” not realising he would never see his home or family again. His battalion suffered heavy losses during a German massed bombardment and raids on their lines during April 1916 (see below for full battle details). Arthur has no known grave but he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, West-Viaanderen, Belgium, his name is on memorial panels 31 and 33. There is also a stone memorial plaque set into the wall of his old home at number 2 Letchmore Cottages.

Arthur would have been awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

There are 4 further plaques in Letchmore Heath commemorating the men from the village who gave their lives in the “Great War” these are set into the walls of their old homes

Arthur Burnell Bernadine, The Green
Ted Camp Landor cottages, Back Lane
Stanley Beal Camp Landor Cottages, Back lane
Harry Walton Keene The Old Bakery, Grange Lane

Details of the battle
On the 9th April 1916 the Germans launched the Lys offensive which continued until 30th April 1916. But by the 16th April 1916 the 8th Bedfordshire Regiment had moved in to support the trenches on the Yser Canal to the East of Ypres. On the nights of the 19th and 20th April there was a heavy German bombardment on the British lines and they broke through to the South of Ypres near the town of St Elai and gained a footing in trenches D20 (Willow walk) and S18a. Trenches D21, B16 &B17 held the battalion line. By 21st April the trenches had been retaken and consolidated by the British.

Over these two nights 3 officers were killed, 3 were wounded and 1 listed as missing, of the other ranks 32 were killed, 65 were wounded and 97 were listed as missing. Whilst there is no actual documentary evidence there is a very high probability that Arthur was one of the 97 listed as missing.

The Bedford Regiment were subsequently relieved by the 2nd Yorkshire and Lancaster Regiment.

Responding to HBC local plan

Dear Letchmore Heathens,

Should anyone wish to respond to HBC’s Local Plan along the same lines as LHVT, please feel free to cut and paste extracts from our responses.

Please ensure that you change some of the wording so that your views are expressed in your own way.

If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact any member of the Trust.

LHVT response to HBC local plan

LHVT RESPONSES TO HBC LOCAL PLAN
SPECIFIC SITE COMMENTS
H 3
Land west of Aldenham School, Letchmore Heath

The Letchmore Heath Village Trust (LHVT) strongly supports HBC’s comments that this site is “not suitable for development” and agrees with the Council view that the site should be categorised as one of the “sites not currently acceptable”. The principle drivers for this position are the impact on character and function of a small village and the issues of access and traffic.

Letchmore Heath is one of the smallest villages in Hertsmere – about a hundred houses and a population just over three hundred. It has no local facilities bar an excellent pub, a village hall and a duck pond. The village has been referred to as “the jewel in (Hertsmere’s) crown”. It is served by three lanes, two of which are single track with high banks – traffic congestion and grid locks are current and frequent events.

Any significant housing development in Letchmore Heath will fracture and possibly destroy the character and function of the village which has been built up over decades – indeed centuries. Building up to five hundred (five times the current size of the village) new homes on this land will effectively wipe out the village as it currently exists.

Without massive and unwelcome infrastructure and road investment, there is no prospect that Aldenham Road (let alone Grange Lane and Common Lane) could cope with any further significant increase in traffic density. A recent survey indicated that at peak times there are already over 400 cars per hour currently passing through the village, many headed to the adjacent Aldenham School and also to Haberdasher’s.

The H3 site is good quality crop producing green belt agricultural land with a pleasing rural and visual landscape – this should not be lost.

There are no services or shops located in the village. And as there are no public transport facilities, any and all local needs have to be accessed by road in other communities.

Development on this site would directly contradict HBC’s Policy 4: to “Preserve setting and character”.

R 2
Land south of The Ridgeway (Home Farm)

From an LHVT perspective, there are two significant concerns with development of up to 560 dwellings on this site.

The first is that, although not on the R2 designated site, the “Housing Promoted Sites” (in red) shows this scheme going up to Common Lane. Further traffic volumes emerging from this major development site onto Common Lane would be untenable. Anyone that has driven down this lane will be aware that current traffic volumes cause frequent grid locks – more housing and more cars could make Common Lane unusable.

Secondly, development of this major site increases the likelihood of Letchmore Heath becoming merged with greater Radlett (contrary to Policy 2: to “Prevent towns merging”).

The adjacent potential development of Brickfields (198), Rear of Ridgeway (213) and West of Watling Street (367) offer a total potential of 280 new houses. Given existing road and adjacent infrastructure, these would seem to be preferential sites ahead of R2.

R 1
Kemprow Farm, Crown Estate

Apart from the further loss of green belt, and the negative visual impact there would need to be a serious review of impact on local traffic flows and density. Apart from the narrow Oakridge Lane, traffic into and out of Radlett could be severely affected.
Watford Road already struggles to cope with traffic volumes at peak times, and without significant road investment this situation will further deteriorate.

500 New houses in Letchmore Heath

HERTSMERE BOROUGH COUNCIL – LOCAL PLAN
500 NEW HOUSES IN LETCHMORE HEATH ?

You will probably be aware that the HBC Local Plan process is now at the stage of examining specific sites for development and new house building. Details are available on the HBC website: http://www.hertsmere.gov.uk (New Local Plan), or on their consultation portal: https://tinyurl.com/ycuoaxgv . HBC are inviting views from local residents on the selection and desirability of individual development sites.

The key site option affecting Letchmore Heath is fields to the right of Aldenham Road as you leave the village (Local Plan reference H3 ), and proposes the potential development of 500 new homes. The village currently has about 100 houses.

LHVT has submitted a response to this (and two other sites around Radlett, R2 and R1) proposal, the full details of which are available on our website (address above) and can also be seen if you click “View Comments” against H3 on the HBC Local Plan. A couple of extracts from the Trust’s response are:

“Any significant housing development in Letchmore Heath will fracture and possibly destroy the character and function of the village which has been built up over decades – indeed centuries. Building up to five hundred (five times the current size of the village) new homes on this land will effectively wipe out the village as it currently exists.”

“Without massive and unwelcome infrastructure and road investment, there is no prospect that Aldenham Road (let alone Grange Lane and Common Lane) could cope with any further significant increase in traffic density”.

“There are no services or shops located in the village. And as there are no public transport facilities, any and all local needs have to be accessed by road”

If you have an opinion that you wish to express, you should post this to the HBC Local Plan website (preferred route) or email (local.plan@hertsmere.gov.uk ) or write to HBC. The consultation period ends on 20th DECEMBER.

Your views matter, and will affect the outcome of the sites eventually selected for development. For assistance, LHVT has posted guidance notes on its website (above). If you wish please feel free to follow the Trust’s line of argument – but best in your own words. If required, please contact any member of the Trust for help.

So, if you are concerned about the future of your village, let HBC know. The more submissions from individual households, the more the planners will take note.

PLEASE MAKE YOUR SUBMISSION TO HBC BY THURSDAY 20TH DECEMBER
Thank You!