Plans have been announced for a big development – called Gresley Park – east of Gresley Way, approximately from opposite the junction with Fairlands Way/B1037 to opposite the junction with Six Hills Way. It is planned to contain 600 houses.
The three elected Liberal Democrat Councillors in Stevenage (Andy McGuinness, Robin Parker and Graham Snell) have announced that they strongly oppose the plans.
The proposed development adjoins the Chells Division of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) where the elected County Councillor is Robin Parker. It also adjoins the Manor Ward of Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) where the three Borough Councillors are Andy McGuinness, Robin Parker and Graham Snell. Stevenage Borough Council Liberal Democrat leader is Robin Parker.
Robin said “Neither we or the residents of Chells Manor want 600 houses dumped on our doorstep, merely to get East Herts District Council (EHDC) up to its government housing numbers target.”
“It would destroy the River Beane valley and the outlook to the east. It would also put a huge extra burden on our local roads and infrastructure, in particular Gresley Way.”
It is proposed by a development company, Pidgeon Investment Management Limited, and is wholly within East Herts District Council’s area, but on the doorstep of Stevenage, and very close to Chells Manor, in particular Boxfield Green, Uplands, Chalkdown and Beane Avenue.
It is thought that EHDC support Gresley Park because it is an easy way for them to meet the next few years of the government’s imposed housing numbers target for EHDC.
East Herts District Council (EHDC) is backing the plan and it is included in their Pre-Submission Local Plan – that is, the intended plan before it is submitted to the government’s Planning Inspectorate for approval. Gresley Park is currently Green Belt land but EHDC say they need to build on it to achieve their housing targets. The development would be completed by 2021 and be on Stevenage’s doorstep, just outside the Stevenage boundary. Of course, the boundary could be extended in the future to contain Gresley Park within Stevenage.
As well as 600 new homes, the plan shows:
- A new primary school and a care home
- A local centre
- Three accesses onto Gresley Way
- Provision for Travelling Showpeople at the north end of the site
EHDC will start public consultation on their Pre-Submission District Plan (including Gresley Park) on 3 November for a 6 week period, until 5pm on Thursday 15 December. Anyone can comment on it. You do not have to live in East Herts area to do so. You can comment (1) via the Planning Portal on EHDC’s website (you must register on the online portal first): consult.eastherts.gov.uk/portal or (2) by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or (3) by writing to: Planning Policy Team, EHDC, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8EQ. For methods (2) and (3) EHDC say there will be a form available, on which to write your views, on their website, but you do not need to use it.
After the consultation, EHDC intends to submit the District Plan to the government’s Planning Inspectorate in March 2017. Then an independent Examination will take place, planned for Spring/Summer 2017. After that, the new District Plan will be adopted and then developers can submit planning applications that conform with it.
Many Chells Manor residents have already told their three Liberal Democrat Councillors that they oppose Gresley Park. These councillors agree with the objectors. But they have no power in the matter. If Stevenage residents do not want Gresley Park, they must object to EHDC during the consultation as above.
- Local Parish Councils oppose Gresley Park
- The Lib Dem Councillors met with Aston Parish Council about it in August 2016
- Labour dominated SBC is likely to support Gresley Park in the consultation
- EHDC (which is 100% Conservative) is in favour of it too
A website and a Facebook page have been set up to protest about Gresley Park: