LHVT letter in response to Planning application 14/2087/FUL Dharm Marg Letchmore Heath

Planning application 14/2087/FUL Dharm Marg Letchmore Heath

The Letchmore Heath Village Trust has no issues with the actual construction of the Haveli.  However there are other matters that are giving rise to concern amongst many of the villagers.

• Traffic Management

• Noise

• Limit on Permitted Rights

• Post Code

• Signage


1.) Traffic management

The current level of traffic during the normal week to week running of the Manor (excluding festivals) does not normally have an impact on the Village.

However there are repeated assurances throughout this application that state the number of vehicles will not increase, although it is hard to believe that with the new improved facilities the numbers will stay the same.  Likewise the number of visitors will no doubt increase.

It is stated under the manor “Travel Plans” that the traffic will be monitored. Also in the Draft Planning Brief, HBC said that “visitor numbers could be limited by planning consideration and/or legal agreement”.

As part of the monitoring of this, we would like to see measurements taken of the number of visitors and vehicles to each of the festivals and samples of Sundays and weddings for the next two years.

This can then form a benchmark against which activity in future years can be measured.  A condition should be attached that if/when action needs to be taken, it is clearly stated precisely who is responsible for the implementation any such changes.

2.) Noise

It is stated in AIRO’s report that any plant noise will contribute to the overall background noise and whilst it is claimed that the db rating may be lower than at present, we would seek assurance that the pitch (attenuation/resonance?) will not be obtrusive to people living in Letchmore Heath.

We would also suggest that all external plants are shut down between the hours of say 22.00 to 08.00.

3.) Limit on permitted rights

With the approval of the Draft Planning Brief and the current application, there should be the curtailment of any further permitted rights to develop and no further planning applications for additional buildings should be countenanced for 20 years.  This includes agricultural building and shop removed to provide the net level of increase allowed by the planning brief.

4.) Change of Post Code

All vehicles that use satellite navigation with the current Bhaktivedanta Manor post code, arrive in Letchmore Heath.

Although some effort has been made by Bhaktivadanta Manor to change the code to Hillfield Lane, the request has always been refused by the Post Office.

A condition should be to make a further effort (including support from police, highways, councilors and HBC) to achieve the change.  If this does not happen, a substantial amount of traffic will continue to come unnecessarily through Letchmore Heath.

5.) Signage

We would highly recommend the erection of permanent signage in appropriate locations, with wording to the effect “No access to Bhaktivedenta Manor – local and through traffic only”.

All of the above relate to the general day to day running of the Manor and excludes festivals.

It is essential that the total grid lock that occurred during last August’s Janmasthami festival must not be repeated.  If it had become necessary for emergency vehicles to gain access into the village to attend to a fire, property could have been destroyed or the delay to an ambulance could have cost a life.

Is it the intention of HBC to deal with festivals within this application or will these be subject to a separate issue?

Clearly, particularly with the larger festivals, (Janmasthami and Diwali) these must be more responsibly managed with a clear and precise traffic plan being put into place.

Also there should be temporary signage and improved stewardship within the Village during the main festivals to prevent gridlock and to be able to keep the local traffic flowing

This would no doubt include contributions from the Manor, Police, Highways, HBBC and any other interested parties, bearing in mind  festivals impact on the whole of the surrounding area and not just the village.

It is also essential that one of the organizations involved takes full responsibility for the implementation and running of any plan that is conceived.