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.
- GREEN BELT. This site is agricultural land in Letchmore Heath – a conservation area within the green belt. Both should be respected.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.