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Says NO further development East of Stevenage - see OUTCOMES

Say NO to this Trojan horse that could see a 600 houses built in Aston,  East of Chells Manor,  towards Walkern, on Green Belt in the Beane Valley

Aston Parish has provided land to build 5,571  homes in Stevenage   



Recognising this Trojan Horse and putting  a stop to further
unsustainable development East of Stevanage for all time
East Herts Council, working closely with Stevenage Borough has included this development, referred to as 'Gresley Park', in its Draft (Pre-Submission) District Plan,  issued on 3rd November.  Click on the graphic or this link to view.

The Report to its Planning Executive Panel on 8th September stated "... it is considered that, in order to allow for an urban extension to the sustainable settlement of Stevenage, it would be appropriate to allow some Green Belt release ..." You need to read its supporting document (22 pages) to understand the Council's rationale. 

Aston Parish has already lost 250 hectares of Green Belt land, about 25% of its former area, to enable some 5,571 homes to be built in Poplars, Chells and Chells Manor. Housing some 13,000 residents these developments increased the town's population by 20%. - see maps (Figs. 4 & 5) in the Gallery.

Aston's Parish Plan, compiled in conjunction with EHDC in 2005, (the first to be developed in East Hertfordshire) endorsed the need for limited infilling. This development will more than double the Parish's housing stock and its population. It will have a disproportionate impact on Aston's governance and social make-up. This vibrant community will be severely challenged. In time this proposal could ultimately herald the transfer of the remains of Aston Parish to Stevenage Borough?
Aston Parish has contributed more than any other to Stevenage's  housing 'need'. 
It really is time to look for long term solutions to meet both Stevenage Borough's and East Hertfordshire District's housing needs.

Politicians: Do listen to your electorate: On General Election Day in 1997, over 5,000 Stevenage and East Herts voters visited PACE's seven 'shadow' Polling Stations. Accounting for over 90% of the voting electorate they signed up to the proposition that "I/We strongly object to any further housing development to the East or South of Stevenage and request that your Council oppose any suggested reduction of the Green Belt in this area. East Hertfordshire Council (EHDC) supported that line, and a proposal at the Inquiry in Public (EIP) to build 4,500 additional houses to the South and East of Stevenage was rejected (see campaign leaflet - Gallery Fig.3) by the Government Planning Inspector.  Those supporting the proposition exceeded the majority gained by any Ward,  District or County Councillor! 


Unbelievably, contrary to its earlier policies, and its own evidence EHDC has amazingly proposed that 600 houses be built in the Beane Valley, opposite Chells Manor. This despite it having placed the highest Green belt value at this location, just 12 months ago (see Documents), with a presumption against ANY development encroaching on the Beane Valley.   

EHDC claims it needs to reverse its earlier policies (like 180 degrees) affecting the area in order to meet new-build Government housing targets and a shortage of opportunity elsewhere.  We believe this clearly conflicts with Ministerial guidance issued in June 2016.  Details of the Developer's earlier Master Plan and Delivery Statement can be found on this EHDC weblink.

The proposed site, running from the Walkern Road roundabout, off Gresley Way to Lanterns Lane, is one of many abutting sites, all in Walkern Parish, offered to EHDC in its ' Call for Sites' programme. If this one is approved others could follow in time, creating coalescence between Stevanage, Walkern and Benington Parishes - see  Fig. 2 in the Gallery.  

Additional concerns addressed? The Council's  Essential Reference Paper B  implied support for Stevenage Borough's recommendation  to 'safeguard' Parcel E4 (ii) - land, running South of Gresley Park from Holders Cottage down Holders Lane to the Crown PH, "for future development"  to accommodate a further 400 dwellings - see Gallery Fig 1 "Parcels of land under consideration".  
  • In response  to questions put to EHDC via Local District Council Anthony Jackson, PACE heard today (19th September) that "Land other than that identified as Gresley Park would remain in the green belt." and that " ... no further land in the area is being designated as safeguarded for future development.

    CAUTIONARY NOTE:  Whilst EHDC has commented as above, representations can of course be made to the Inspector between 3rd November and 15th December by Stevenage BC, development, and other interested parties for the Inspector to consider for inclusion in a modified EHDC Plan. 
Unless we can convince the Planning Inspector to drop the Gresley Park proposal it will go ahead, and very quickly. If representations are made to allow parcel E4(ii) to be safeguarded for future development, and this is endorsed by the Planning Inspector, it would re-open the debate to build 4,500 houses from Aston End through to Hooks Cross in time. You can see why PACE regards the Gresley Park proposal as  ...  
A Trojan horse, which if endorsed  by the Planning Inspector, could set  a very worrying precedent. Challenge it  NOW


It's now time to act.  This is not nimbyism.  Aston has done its bit ... and more ...  adding land to increase Stevenage's population by 20%.   It's simply a campaign to gather support to once more express to the Planners that Stevenage is too heavily weighted to the East and that plonking more houses on this side of the A1 is just not sustainable without huge infrastructure investment ... ask any driver trying to get about in the morning, ask the Mums and Dad's doing that school-run and ask the villagers in Walkern, Bennington, as well as Aston if they are willing to see even more rat-running,  as more and more drivers will use the country lanes to avoid the Gresley Way  queues in order to get to the A 602 further east  ... you get the gist. 

Help create awareness and critical mass, Spread the word and help nip this in the bud

Let us know you support the campaign.   Here are some ways of doing so ...
  1. Download and read our 'Reasons to Object' briefing and complete our online survey before 30th November.
  2. LIKE us & SHARE our messages on the Icon [top right] or on  this Facebook link - So far we have reached some 12,000+ people.  
  3. Follow and re-tweet our tweets on Twitter
  4. Contact your local Parish, District and County Councillor and MP ... Stephen McPartland or Sir Oliver Heald QC  
  5. Leave a message below, 


Very simply, we want to engage and enlist the support of everyone who agrees that further development East of Stevenage is simply not sustainable, as well as those that wish to protect the Bean Valley with its historic natural habitats for posterity.  EHDC holds all the cards at present.  We want local democracy,  local knowledge and common sense to prevail.

Now that the formal District Plan consultation process has commenced, we have issued our onlne survey so that you can express whether you object to, or support the inclusion of Gresley Park in the Pre-Submission District Plan. 

Who is opposing this proposal by East Herts?
A growing number, including Aston, Walkern, Benington, Datchworth and neighbouring Parish Councils,  local MPs Stephen McPartland and Sir Oliver Heald QC, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), County & Local Councillors Robin Parker (LibDem), and East Herts Chair Ken Crofton (Conservative),  Stevenage Borough (LibDem) Councillors Andy McGuinness and Graham Snell. and of course PACE.

We  encourage you to send in your comments to East Hertfordshire District Council by 15th December. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING / Happened so far?

East Herts Council has published its Draft Plan - see our Facebook page or Documents page for details of how to view, and comment on it..

Our Public Opinion  Survey, with its opportunity to 'Vote' was launched on 3rd November. In closes at midnight on 2nd December. Concurrently we have provided notes of objection which might inform your opinion and help you when submitting comment to East Herts. For details see the Documents section

Aston Parish Council outlined its opposition to the proposal at a Special Parish Meeting at the Village Hall on 17th October 8pm.  Non-parishioners attended. The Council distributed its paper survey over in the weekend of 5th November.  Walkern Parish Council  will be holding an information, Q&A meeting and will be canvassing its electors.

A Press Release has been issued to local media interests,  Read Stephen McPartland's excellent response to East Herts here.

We have issued a guide on How to Comment to  East Herts.   A comprehensive 'Detailed Comments' paper is provided for commenting on Chapter 12 by Aston Parish Council.  PACE updated its  'Reasons to Object'briefing - download  in  Word or view as a PDF on 30th November. It provides comments on all relevant sections of the Consultation document.  It compliments APC's more extensive version. Use extracts from either or both to support your submission.

On 20th October 2017 PACE submitted a 'statement in response' to Matters and Issues raised by the Inspector during Part 1 of the Enquiry held. This can be accessed via the Documents Page or this direct link

Check out what's happened so far on our OUTCOMES  page. 
The primary driver of this campaign is the Aston Parish Council. View its website. PACE supports their challenge to EHDC by engaging a wider, but equally relevant audience though social media and other sources by providing independent (non-paid) commentary as needed.

The Campaign is also being actively supported by friends in Walkern. through its website and Facebook page.

Key external sites include ... EHDC planning portal

Further details and links to key papers are provided in our Documents Section

CONTACT US / Let us know you are supporting

Aston in Hertfordshire - Home to PACE  and a lot of nice but determined people
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