Oxhey Village Environment Group | www.oveg.org
A report about Oxhey residents handing over their petition to the Mayor in the Watford Observer…
And a summary of Dorothy’s speech…
Dorothy Thornhill – Summary of speech at Oxhey Green, 19 November 2013 on receiving petition regarding 83 Upper Paddock Road
Thank you for presenting me with your petition. This shows the serious concern in the community about this development proposal and about preserving the character of Oxhey Village
Before a decision is reached the application has to be assessed by planning officers to see whether it meets or contravenes planning policies. While I can’t second guess their conclusion, I know there are serious planning policy concerns about this application.
The recent designation of a conservation area for Oxhey Village gives the council greater control over what can and can’t be demolished or built on the site.
Any development can only get planning permission if it either preserves or enhances the character of the conservation area. So it must either be clearly in keeping with its surroundings or of such high quality that it warrants replacing the existing building.
There are good reasons to question whether this development achieves that. In particular, where now there is a gradual transition from the build-up area of Oxhey Village to the more rural Attenborough’s Fields, via the allotments and Oxhey Green, this would lead to quite intensive development right up to the green belt boundary.
It is also higher ground than the green and is likely to appear visually dominant.
It would be wrong of me to say that no development could take place on the site – it is after all not a listed building (and listing is within the control of English heritage not the council). But all my instincts and understanding of the planning system suggest to me that the present plans are simply too much.
I am aware that neighbouring residents also have more specific concerns about impact on neighbours, parking and loss of trees that will be considered as part of the assessment of the planning application.
If the council’s planning officers recommend this for refusal they will do so under delegated powers. If they choose to recommend it for approval it has to go to the development control committee at which point there is a chance for an objector and ward councillors to speak before the matter is considered by councillors.
I know that your ward councillors, including Cllr Sharpe who sits on the planning committee, are well aware of the level of opposition to this application and of the serious planning issues it raises.
*please note that this is not a word for word transcript of what was said on the day
OVEG would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all those involved for their combined efforts on this matter. We are grateful to our local councillors, the Mayor, our MP, and of course our local Oxhey residents for such a great example of our community working together.