Oxhey Village Environment Group | www.oveg.org
At the end of March a planning application was made to demolish a garage and outbuilding at 27 Watford Heath and replace this with a 3 bedroom house. The July 2013 Watford Heath Character Appraisal made specific reference to these outbuilding due to their “kite-hipped roof and pleasant fenestration”. The council has placed an Article 4 Directive on these buildings to prevent them from being demolished and therefore this planned development will not be possible.
8-12 Chalk Hill (Massey Site)
Many residents will recall the long history associated with this site. In 2010 there was a proposal to build 176 flats here. The council rejected this as the design was not in keeping with the area and because of the impact on traffic at Bushey Arches. The developer appealed this decision to the Planning Inspectorate but they upheld the council’s decision on the grounds that the scale and design of the development was not appropriate.
Last month a new plan was submitted. This was to build 121 residential units comprising 5 x 3 Bed Houses, 100 x 2 Bed Flats, 12 x 1 Bed Flats and 4 x 3 Bed Flats together with a public car park comprising 52 car spaces, a residents car park comprising 150 spaces and 50 cycle spaces provided on site. Full details here. Local councillors were particularly concerned that it was proposed that the main access would be from Chalk Hill itself, with the impact that would have on this congested road.
As the Highways Authority, Hertfordshire County Council decides if the transport plan is acceptable. Oxhey’s County Councillor, Stephen Giles-Medhurst has raised local concerns and officers informed him that the transport plan is “totally inadequate and unacceptable”. They will therefore be refusing the application.
The site has been visited by Watford Council’s Environmental Health team on a number of occasions and a formal meeting has been held with GFL. Planning officers from Hertfordshire County Council have also visited the site. The Mayor will be visiting the site owner to raise her concern. So far the following has been agreed:
1. GFL will not import waste materials onto this site any more and has removed the concrete crusher.
2. Watford’s Environmental Health officers will be installing noise monitoring equipment on two homes near to the site next week. The information they collect could be used in any legal process related to ‘statutory noise nuisance’ being caused.
3. GFL will not use the ‘grab’ to sift through and sort any waste material on this site at all (this is a noisy operation were the bucket on the grab is banged to sift out waste).
4. All lorries will be reversed into place in readiness to drive out forward onto jobs first thing in the morning, thus preventing their reversing warnings from sounding in the early hours.
Dorothy commented: “I totally agree that this shouldn’t be happening close to residential properties and share everyone’s anger about this. That’s why I have made sure that this is a top priority for council officers.
“As the saying goes the law is an ass and that’s certainly true here. If they were seeking permission for this kind of use today, they probably wouldn’t get it at all and certainly not without strong conditions about hours of use, noise levels etc. But the use dates back to before the planning system even existed we are not legally allowed to put on retrospective conditions.
“I would dearly like to be able to march in, tell them to stop and sort out the problem in one fell swoop. But if this goes to court it will be decided on objective evidence and any sense that the enforcement process has been compromised by political pressure from the Mayor is at best unhelpful and potentially disastrous. The law on such matters mean it feels like councils have to deal with such matters with one hand tied behind their back – to everyone’s frustration – but we are doing everything that it’s within our power to do.”
Bucks Meadow Riding Stable
Residents on Bucks Avenue, Sherwoods Road and surrounding roads have been alarmed by reports that Hertsmere borough council have received a screening application to develop 49 flats and houses on Bucks Meadow Riding Stable land. This development would be on greenbelt land, involve the demolition of the original stables which date back to 1880 and result in more traffic on Pinner Road, Bucks Avenue and Sherwoods Road.
Shirena Counter commented: “Although there hasn’t been a formal planning application yet, I would be opposed to this development. Building 49 flats and houses on green belt land is not acceptable. It would result in more traffic on congested residential roads, the urbanisation of this site and the loss of wildlife habitats. We have made sure that Oxhey’s councillors will be consulted before Watford Council responds to any formal planning application and will do all we can to stop this.”
Health Campus Link Road
Residents will have noticed that the construction of the hospital link road has now started. It is being funded by central government. Over the last two years Oxhey’s councillors have met with the representatives of OVEG, Friends of Oxhey Park and the road designers to make sure the impact on Oxhey Park is minimised. This has resulted in some significant changes including:
• The route of the road has changed significantly so it is as far north as possible – close to the railway embankment.
• The road will have just one lane in each direction, have no street lights or pavement and be screened by a large hedge.
• Tunnels will be built under the road to allow badgers and other wildlife to come from their habitat and continue foraging in the park.
You can read more about the Health Campus here.
Source: Oxhey Opinion