Update - April 2022
Two sessions are to be held on the Neighbourhood Plan;
1. A webinar via zoom on Wednesday 27 April 2022 at 7.30pm.
Please contact the clerk to register your interest.
2. An Open morning - Saturday 30 April 2022 at Knebworth Village Hall
Referendum - 5 May 2022
Knebworth residents have the opportunity to support the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan by voting Yes on election day Thursday 5 May 2022.
The Knebworth Neighbourhood plan has been reviewed by an external examiner and has been found to be sound.
On 22 March 2022, NHDC Cabinet met and considered the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. It RESOLVED:
(1) That the Examiner's report for the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan was noted.
(2) That following the inclusion of the Examiner's proposed modifications to the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, as set out in Appendix B, it was approved to proceed to a referendum.
(3) That the Counting Officer was instructed to conduct a referendum on the Knebworth Parish Neighbourhood Plan.
(4) That the decision to "make" the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan was delegated to the Service Director – Regulatory in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning, as previously agreed by Cabinet in July 2018 (Minute 21).
REASON FOR DECISIONS: To progress the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, enable a referendum to take place and, if more than 50% of those voting in favour of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan to "make" the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan
KNEBWORTH PARISH COUNCIL PLANNING UPDATE, MARCH 2021
The North Hertfordshire District Council Local Plan proposes changing our Green Belt boundary. It allocates 731 new homes around an expanded Knebworth village. Knebworth Parish Council can't change the allocation of these sites, but it can influence their use.
So, we wrote our own Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan as our community vision for the future. It aims to ensure that our community can influence and benefit from any new development, including that proposed by the NHDC Local Plan. There will be a referendum on our Neighbourhood Plan in a few months' time. We hope you will support it.
Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan update
Knebworth Parish Council cannot change the NHDC Local Plan or the housing allocation. We are, however, allowed to create a more specific Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan.
Our Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan cannot contradict the NHDC Local Plan's strategic policies. But we can add our own policies for our community. These can influence the way that future village developments will happen here. NHDC has to consider them, when making decisions on planning applications.
The Parish Council formed the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan team in 2016. The team have created a plan that will allow the village to remain a great place to live. It aims to keep Knebworth distinct from its neighbouring communities. We presented a draft plan in the Village Hall in April 2018 and we have also run other consultations.
Some people in our community do not want any new building. This is unrealistic and new development is inevitable. We need some level of new housing for our own children and grandchildren.
The process to finalise our Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan is now mostly complete. We have submitted it to NHDC for a final consultation, which they will run from 21 April 2021. When that consultation, and an independent examination, is completed, NHDC will hold a local referendum in the Parish. This will be your opportunity to vote for your Neighbourhood Plan. The submitted version of our plan can be found below. We encourage everyone to read it.
We want Knebworth to be a vibrant and inclusive village community. Our vision is to aspire to good design and improved environmental performance. We want everybody to have access to green spaces. We want to accommodate sustainable growth in our population, services and infrastructure. We want to see development that embraces our values and heritage. It should have the smallest impact on local nature and wildlife. Development should maintain Knebworth's fundamental rural character.
We hope that you will support our Neighbourhood Plan and vote in favour of it at the referendum. We would like to thank the team of volunteers that have been working on this, putting in a huge effort since 2016.
Regulation 16 and Referendum documentsMarch 31, 2022
Although things have been quiet on the website, work in the background has continued. We have added some new documents regarding the Regulation 16 Consultation and the Referendum.
Consultation on proposed submission Neighbourhood Plan – Regulation 16
April 24, 20210
Knebworth Parish Council submitted their neighbourhood plan to North Hertfordshire District Council on 14 March 2021.
Consultation will take place between Wednesday 21 April to Wednesday 9 June 2021.
The plan sets out a vision for the parish and planning policies which will be used to determine planning applications within the parish.
Have your say
You can view and respond to the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan through the NHDC online consultation software (registration required to make comments). A copy of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan can also be viewed by downloading the PDF document here.
Representations to the neighbourhood plan can be made:
- online – through the NHDC consultation portal (registration required)
- email – email@example.com
- post – strategic Planning and Projects Group, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham, NG6 6DW
All comments and representations will be made publicly available, including on our website, but personal details will be redacted. Anonymous responses will not be accepted.
Your comments will be collated and forwarded on to an independent examiner. The independent examiner will only consider whether the proposed neighbourhood plan meets the basic conditions and other requirements set out by law. More information about the basic conditions is set out in the Planning Practice Guidance.
More information: https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/planning/planning-policy/neighbourhood-planning/approved-neighbourhood-areas-knebworth
The process continues
The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan document is progressing slowly through the necessary stages. Eventually there will be a formal referendum and you will be asked to vote on whether you support the policies within the Neighbourhood Plan, or not.
We would like to start making it clear that, when the time comes to vote, you will NOT be voting on whether the housing developments will go ahead or not. This is not the purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan. North Herts District Council (NHDC) conducted a 'Call for Sites' process and the land was made available to them. Despite considerable opposition to this from Knebworth residents, NHDC felt that the requirement for housing in North Herts outweighed those objections and the proposed development areas remain within the Proposed NHDC Local Plan.
The role of the Neighbourhood Plan is to provide more detailed policies regarding ALL potential development within the Knebworth Parish Area and mitigate any potential adverse effects.
In a referendum, you will be voting on whether you agree to the positive and improving KNP policies being implemented in order to alleviate and diminish the impact of the housing developments. This, of course, is looking ahead until at least next year as the Government has ruled that no referenda can take place before May 2021 due to the pandemic.
The team has finally completed the evaluation of the comments received for the Regulation 14 consultation. This was a major undertaking, but has resulted in several positive amendments and improvements. We have addressed the concerns and main issues raised during this consultation process and the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan document is currently being updated.
Various supporting documents will also be updated with the revised information, cross referenced and collated for submission to the Parish Council for their approval, hopefully for their October meeting.
Once approved, we will then submit it to NHDC, this is termed the Regulation 15 Submission. NHDC will then launch the Regulation 16 Consultation by publicising it and inviting comments, this consultation will run for 6-8 weeks. There are quite a number of stages to a Neighbourhood Plan and it must be properly documented in order to be approved by the External inspector.
Continuing to evaluate the comments
We are carrying on with the work of examining the comments submitted following the Regulation 14 Consultation. Our aim is to take relevant suggestions and find ways to improve the wording of policies and therefore enhance consequent outcomes relating to the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. Residents will have to live with the developments proposed for around Knebworth by the NHDC Local Plan, if implemented, but our intention is to diminish any disadvantages to reach a successful conclusion for the whole parish.
As mentioned last month, there were over 400 comments that need to be looked at, these could be broken down into:
- Excellent suggestions that we will be able to incorporate,
- Excellent suggestions that are outside of any Neighbourhood Plan scope,
- Good ideas that will help us rewording some policies to strengthen them,
- Some embarrassing 'typos' that we failed to spot despite proof reading it several times,
- Some interpretations of the document that we need to clarify,
- Some unusual and new ideas that we will consider for an Action Plan.
Once this is done, we need to update our Basic Conditions Statement and our Consultation Statement, which will show who we consulted and how. In addition, there will be a summary of the main issues and concerns raised through the consultation process and how they were addressed. After that, it's back to the Parish Council for approval.
Examine, reconsider, modify, improve
The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) Pre-Submission Document
Thank you to those of you who submitted your comments regarding the KNP Pre-Submission Document. To ensure that everyone who wished to had the opportunity to comment, we extended the original consultation period until midnight on 31st May. Many gave their comments on several aspects of the Plan and, as a result, we will be reviewing:
- 324 individual comments from a total of 27 residents and organisations
- 90 individual comments from statutory consultees
Statutory consultees include local community organisations, neighbouring parish or district councils and bodies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, English Heritage and many others.
As you can imagine, this will take some time. Every comment will be considered and evaluated. We expect the comments to result in improvements to the wording of the policies and other parts of the plan. The changes we make will be logged in a spreadsheet which will be included in the Consultation Statement.
Use the form at the back of the Summary document: submit it online, by emailing a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave paper forms in the Village Hall post box (Annexe Entrance).
Online, using the form on the website
If you have any queries relating to the dKNP, please leave a message on the Parish Council answerphone (01438 813795) and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.
Please leave your name, telephone number and query (including section reference, if possible).
The full draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan can be found online.
As it turns out, planning is a complex issue. This is something the KNP Steering Committee has learned during the past four years of developing the Draft KNP, sometimes to their cost. There have been some disappointments when a lot of time has been spent on a topic that the residents of Knebworth have very strong views about and they are later revealed to be 'out of scope' of what a Neighbourhood Plan is allowed to cover, ie "not planning", according to our specialist consultant. However we have used many of them in our Action Plan to be taken forward independently.
On the other hand, we have learned a lot and have developed an understanding of the process. An official government process that needs to be followed does exist. We have listened carefully to the views of local residents and stakeholders. Our open days and various consultations have been well received on the whole and we have listened intently to what you want. This was the basis of the Draft KNP, ie how to make our neighbourhood the best it can be under the guidelines as far as we can under your direction.
There were several times that we wondered if we would ever get to the end*, there were events that conspired to prolong the process. After all, who could have imagined that a viral pandemic would have hindered the latest consultation process? As usual, we overcame the problem, this time by extending the consultation period until midnight on 31st May and giving everyone a further chance to comment on the Draft Plan. So, if you read this before the 31st, please get your comments in.
However, actually, we haven't reached the end yet. We cannot get the Plan finally 'made' until next May due to Coronavirus related delays in the final referendum event, as declared in a recent Government announcement that no more referenda can take place until May 2021, this includes Neighbourhood Plans. However we can continue with the final consultation and Planning Inspector review stages before this. As we go through those final steps, the KNP will have an increasing weight of significance with respect to planning applications.
All comments received will now be recorded in a document. The KNP Steering Committee will then have to consider each comment and decide whether or not to make any changes as a result. These changes need to be justified and agreed as to what the changes will be.
Following any amendments resulting from the pre-submission consultation stage, the revised Neighbourhood Plan has to be submitted to the local planning authority, in this case North Herts District Council. This submission has to include the KNP area map, a Consultation Statement detailing the consultations undertaken in order to prepare the Plan and a statement on how the Plan fulfils the basic conditions, shown below:
Meeting the Basic Conditions for Neighbourhood Plans which are specified by law:
- must be appropriate having regard to national policy
- must contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
- must be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan for the local area
- must be compatible with human rights requirements
- must be compatible with EU obligations**
*The "end" will be when the Plan is 'made' following a referendum.
**We're not sure if this still applies and are seeking advice.
A timely reminder that you can comment on the proposals as laid out in the above document until midnight on 9th May. It is still possible to view the full Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan
document online as detailed below:
https://www.knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/ (includes online response form)
NB – We are unable to hold our Open Day due to the Coronavirus situation. If you have any queries relating to the Pre-Submission Document, please leave a message on the Parish Council answerphone (01438 813795) and someone will get back to you as soon as they can. Please leave your name, telephone number and query (including section reference, if possible).
The printed copies of the summary which were posted through your letterbox had further details, plus information on completing the paper forms on the back pages. Your Response form can be submitted online, by emailing a copy to email@example.com or paper forms may be still be returned to the collection box located in Village News (which is currently still open as usual), or put through the letter box of the Village Hall office post box (Outside the Annex door).
By now you will have received the KNP Pre-Submission Summary and Response Form through your
letterbox. Please take some time to read it as it could affect you personally.
NB – As we write the Coronavirus situation is starting to have a large impact on many events and we are still waiting for confirmation on whether or not the Open Day will be able take place. In the meantime we have decided that up to date information will be put on the KNP website and the Parish Council website as soon as we have confirmation one way or another. Plus there will be a notice on the door of the Village Hall on the day advising people of what they can do to see the full document and have queries answered.
Despite being a very comprehensive document detailing the policies that we have developed over the past four years, it is, in fact, only a summary of the Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. The full draft KNP document is available in print format or online as detailed below:
Plus hard copies are available at the following locations:
- The Community Library, currently situated in St Martin's Church, London Road, Knebworth
- Village Hall office, Park Lane, Knebworth
- The Station Pub, Station Approach, Knebworth
- The Lytton Arms, Park Lane, Old Knebworth
- Knebworth & District Royal British Legion Club, Gun Lane, Knebworth
- North Hertfordshire Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
The policies in this Neighbourhood Plan have emerged from an ongoing process of consultation with the community. We are once again seeking your views, this time on the policies in the Pre-Submission Draft Neighbourhood Plan. We would like your opinions on the policies as detailed in the document.
The consultation period started on 14th March and runs to 9th May 2020. All responses received by midnight on the 9 th May 2020 will be considered and may be used to amend the draft document. To submit your comments, please see details on page 22 of the document delivered through your letterbox. There you will find details on how to reply directly online or by email. Paper forms may be returned to the collection boxes located in Village News and the Community Library, or put through the letter box of the Village Hall office in Park Lane.
Please come along to Knebworth Village Hall on Saturday 18 th April between 10am and 2pm if you would like to talk to us about the consultation, have any questions, would like help with filling in the form or to see a copy of the full draft document.
If you had been wondering why news of the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan has been quiet recently, this is because we were all waiting patiently for the Parish Council to scrutinise the details of our draft submission document. This was no mean feat at 111 pages!
However, we are now pleased to be able to inform you that Knebworth Parish Council (KPC) approved the official Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan during their February meeting. We feel that, not only is this a strong indication of the strength of the backing we have from KPC, but a considerable endorsement of all the work of the Steering Committee so far.
We knew that there would be several steps in the process to follow, but we were all somewhat surprised to learn that this process can be broken down into around 20 more steps! So, the work continues.
The three most imminent stages to be implemented are:
- Submit Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Report to North Herts District Council
- Prepare Summary document for Knebworth Parish residents
- Distribute Summary with Parish Update newsletter – 6-week consultation and Open Day (March/April)
As usual, we will keep you informed, in the meantime please check the website for updated documentation and information.
If you use the buses or trains, if you use the B197 or use the High Street, if you drive or park a car in Knebworth, or if others park in your street this is relevant to you. Traffic, Transport and Parking was one of the working groups developed during the survey and consultation stages of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. Feelings run high and there are plenty of opinions to be heard on these matters within Knebworth.
With this in mind, we would like to bring the following items to your attention: Hertfordshire County Council has developed the North Central Growth and Transport Plan (NCGTP) which covers the northern end of the A1(M), including the towns of Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Baldock and Royston, and key transport links between these towns and to surrounding areas. The NCGTP considers the key problems and opportunities which currently exist, or may in the future, on the transport network and identifies what types of interventions are needed to improve the transport network. There is also a draft South Central Growth and Transport Plan which covers the southern end of the A1(M) and includes the towns of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.
Public consultations on both the draft North Central Growth and Transport Plan and draft South Central Growth and Transport Plan started on 6th January, 2020 and close 30th March 2020.
Hertfordshire County Council is also currently consulting on its proposed Local Transport Plan via its Rail Strategy Consultation, which can be found here: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/consultations/transport-and-highways/rail-strategy-consultation.aspx#. It sets out the County Council's aspirations for developing the rail network in Hertfordshire at both the strategic and local level. This document is a revision of the strategy originally adopted in 2016.
Also, NHDC is currently looking at parking management and how this can be implemented. There is a consultation out from NHDC on their Parking Strategy, which should be read in conjunction with the previously approved parking strategy, which can be found at: https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/parking/parking-strategy in pdf format. This is a reasonably interesting and important document as there is reference to 'improvements' in Knebworth and the B197.
The detail of how NHDC proposes to implement the policy framework set out in the Parking Strategy will be contained in a separate document, the 'NHDC Parking Operational Guidelines', which will set out the necessary guidance and assessment criteria to be followed.
These Guidelines are currently under preparation and will be presented to the NHDC Area Committees and Cabinet in Spring 2020. If you have any queries regarding the NHDC Parking Strategy, its Strategic Action Plan or its associated documents please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to these issues, there have been changes to the bus services through Knebworth and these can be found at: https://bustimes.org/localities/knebworth and https://www.centrebus.info/service-changes/ Please note specifically that the 388 is affected at the current time. We hope you find this helpful and that you are able to comment if you wish to.
The good news is that the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) is so thorough and comprehensive that "it's the biggest Neighbourhood Plan" that our planning professional has ever dealt with. Residents should be reassured by this as it means that we have taken on your views comprehensively and dealt with your local concerns and issues, at least those which fall into the scope of the NP*. However, Devil is in the detail and to ensure that everything is absolutely correct we have decided to submit it to the December meeting rather than November.
Following intense and extensive extra sessions, it now looks very certain that we're on course to have it ready for Parish Councillors to review in time to discuss at their meeting on 11th December.
You might be interested to know that one of the issues within the KNP is how important the Green Belt is around Knebworth, particularly with regard to avoiding coalescence with other settlements such as Stevenage. NHDC produced a document in 2016, which was revised in September 2018 before they made amendments to their own NHDC Local Plan.
We would like to draw your attention to the North Hertfordshire Green Belt Review Update 2018 on the NHDC website Local Plan Examination Page https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/local-plan-examination/examination-documents. It clearly shows that the Green Belt around Knebworth plays a significant part in helping to keep separation from other settlements. One of the reasons that the Planning Inspector has asked for more hearings to take place is because NHDC commissioned the Green Belt Report and then appeared to ignore the findings.
That might help you understand why we are still waiting for further information on the status of the NHDC Local Plan and any potential impact due to the Inspector's requirement for more hearings.
*The scope of the Neighbourhood Plan is often a cause for confusion as it can only deal with planning issues. We intend to make the scope clear when we ask for your views again.
We are still waiting for further information on the status of the NHDC Local Plan and any potential impact due to the Inspector's requirement for more hearings.
In the meantime, we are continuing with the development of the KNP Draft Pre-submission document and it is intended to present this to the Parish Council at their November meeting for review and comments.
Those of you wondering about the purpose of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) should perhaps consider the photos below; these show the current stages of two large, current developments in our village. Do you like them? Do you think they are of a good design, or the right size for the plot? Has the village ambience been captured in their schemes? What about the impact on the current community services and amenities?
Once we have a Neighbourhood Plan in place, we can have some influence over planning proposals and help mitigate the effects of proposed developments such as these. As we have mentioned previously, Neighbourhood Planning is actively promoted by the Government through the Localism Act and "……….. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area." What we want to achieve is a vision for the future of Knebworth Parish and create a sense of community and a sense of ownership of the village by the residents and businesses.
Follow our progress by checking the website: https://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/ or via the Parish Council website: https://www.knebworthparishcouncil.gov.uk/neighbourhood-plan.html.
However, there has been a recent development with the NHDC Local Plan. Following the Main Modification changes to the NHDC Local Plan, the Planning Inspector now requires more hearings. This is quite unusual. The implications are that it's possible that the number of new dwellings required in North Herts may change, increase or decrease, with a consequential impact on Knebworth. This will delay the progress of NHDC Local Plan and possibly the Neighbourhood Plan too.
Hopefully, we will have more information on the impact of these delays soon.
Meanwhile we will continue to the 'Pre-submission' stage. Our Planning Consultant is in the course of combining all our research, consultation results and individual subject group texts into a combined, structured document. This paper will be the basis of our Draft Pre-submission document and this work is continuing.
For those of you trying to keep up to date with everything that's changing in Knebworth and our neighbouring villages, here's the current situation with the Neighbourhood Plan.
Following on from the policies documents that were accepted by the Parish Council in June, we are now in a position to present drafts of the important Consultation Strategy and Consultation Statement for review by the Parish Council at their July meeting. These are required as part of the official process and will need to be submitted to NHDC for scrutiny. We were surprised just how many consultations and surveys we have conducted to get to this stage.
After three years of working on the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, the Steering Committee felt pleased that the end of the exercise is in sight within the next 12 months. However, we have been alerted to a recent call for development sites by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and have been
particularly disheartened to see what they are planning for their own Local Plan, specifically with reference to additional housing in Woolmer Green. The effects on the amenities and infrastructure in Knebworth will be significant, especially traffic issues and local services such as the GP Surgery. More detailed information on the impact of these proposals will become clear once we have had the opportunity to study the details more fully.
So the work of mitigating the effects of these developments continues and it highlights how important it is to have a Neighbourhood Plan in place as soon as we can. You will be asked to take part in a local referendum as part of the process
The current position
We have been working on mitigating the impact of the huge developments allocated by the North Herts District Council Local Plan for nearly three years now. Your contributions have helped and the revised policies were presented to the Parish Council at their meeting on 12 th June by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee. Various queries were raised and explained, with the result that the proposed acceptance of the revised KNP policies document was carried without objections.
We are now in the process of writing the actual Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) document. This will demonstrate the work that we have undertaken to get to this stage and show that we have met the legal requirements for producing a Neighbourhood Plan. Heavy stuff!
We will include some background history of the development of Knebworth, collate all the research information around the concerns highlighted by consultation with residents and stakeholders and include some photos. Looking through some of these photos, to determine which to include, has reminded us of Knebworth's intrinsic character and what we are trying to preserve.
Our next deadline is the July meeting of the Parish Council when we hope to present the KNP document to be used for the Pre-submission Consultation.
As mentioned last month, the Steering Committee has revised and refined some of the policies following your feedback at the Open Day at the beginning of March. Thank you to everyone who came along and gave us your comments.
The Chair and Vice Chair of the Steering Committee both spoke in some detail about the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) during the Annual Parish Meeting of the Parish Council on 1 st May, particularly regarding what can and can't be done under a neighbourhood plan.
For example, the allocation of over 700 homes in and around Knebworth is a result of the NHDC Local Plan. It is NHDC who have allocated and allowed the Green Belt to be designated for development. There have been opportunities over the past two years to comment to NHDC regarding their proposals, but the consultation period has now closed. Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan is trying to mitigate the consequences of these allocations. You can view our efforts so far on the website.
There was a lot of comment from the Open Day regarding the lack of restaurants, wine bars and new shops. As residents ourselves, we agree with what you are saying but, although the KNP Steering Committee would welcome all of these enterprises to enrich the lives of local people, unfortunately the initiative to open these undertakings has to be from people or companies wanting to start new businesses here in Knebworth. If you know of anyone looking for a suitable location for a new enterprise, then please direct them to one of our vacant premises.
There were several suggestions for new family homes to be built, with adequate parking places on site, rather than any more retirement residences. We are trying to influence these requirements with our policies. Similarly, we are trying to influence the provision of better road access to the new areas and other parts of the village. Once finalised, Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan will have a legal status, North Herts District Council and the developers are obliged to take notice.
Unfortunately, despite there being many comments about the train service, the KNP cannot insist that extra trains are run every day, however there is a very active Knebworth Rail Users Forum – https://www.facebook.com/groups/knebworthruf/ – for anyone who is interested – it is a public group. For those wanting improved local bus services there is Bus Users Group Stevenage (BUGS) – https://www.bususers.org/your-local-group/bugs-bus-users-group-stevenage/about-us. They are "an independent group committed to campaigning for good quality bus services in Stevenage and the surrounding areas as well as speaking up for bus users in the area. Bus Users Group Stevenage works closely with local bus operators, Hertfordshire County Council, Stevenage Borough Council and other interested parties locally. We arrange public meetings on issues affecting local bus users, campaign on transport related issues and assist passengers with resolving their complaints."
Environmental and flooding concerns can be addressed on the Hertfordshire County Council website at: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/Recycling-waste-and-environment/Water/Flooding-in-Hertfordshire.aspx. There are many more useful links to contacts for various services on the Knebworth Parish Council website at: https://www.knebworthparishcouncil.gov.uk.
Our revised policies will now be scrutinised by the Parish Council and, if agreed, will then be presented at an initial meeting with NHDC for discussion. There will be further consultations with residents later in the year.
We have now had the opportunity to review the comments that you gave us at the Open Day in March. On the whole, the feedback was quite positive with between 67.35% – 89.36% in favour of the policies, the rest having reservations about aspects of some of the policies, or no view on them.
As anyone who lives in Knebworth would expect, there was very strong support for avoiding coalescence with Stevenage; Knebworth's distinctive village identity is important to residents. Traffic, Transport and Parking (TT&P) produced the most comments and continued concerns. As a result of some very helpful observations from a local expert, the TT&P working group has scoped an application for funding for Technical Assistance on Transport. NHDC never seem to understand the problems and concerns that everyone has on these issues, despite many residents responding to their consultations in the past.
We are currently updating some of the policies in light of the feedback we have received. We then have to gather and collate all of the supporting reference documents, evidence, charts, photos and tables to prepare the consultation documents that need to be produced for NHDC. Also, we intend
to produce an Action Plan to keep us focused on what everyone requires to be achieved during the course of the process.
Watch this space!
We would like to thank everyone who attended the Open Day on Saturday 2nd March. Hopefully, the displays of maps, photos and spreadsheets helped everyone to understand the processes that have been undertaken over the last couple of years in order to arrive at our current point. Thank you too for standing and reading the policies, despite the daunting amount of print, and for listening to the presentations.
If you missed the event, but would still like to be up to date on what is proposed, the link below will take you to a page which contains documents that were available at the Open Day – https://www.knebworthparishcouncil.gov.uk/neighbourhood-plan.html.
Now we need to review the feedback that you gave us, summarise the significant things that we need to address and decide how we incorporate any suggestions into the existing policies/text/appendices/action plan etc. These are our next steps and we will keep you informed on what happens.
After a very successful Open Day on March 2nd, we've uploaded the documents that were on display for those who were unable to attend or those who would like to look at the documents again. The documents can be found on the Open Day Consultation page under the Documentation menu item.
Neighbourhood Planning is actively promoted by the Government through the Localism Act and "gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area."
Well that's the theory anyway! It turns out that planning is far more complicated than you might think and there are numerous complex and problematical rules to understand and comply with.
We recently had a review of all the local green spaces in Knebworth, plus the local iconic and heritage buildings. This was interesting stuff, but it was hard to understand at times why some areas/buildings met with "approved" criteria and others did not.
For an opportunity to review the policies and objectives that have been developed for Knebworth, come to the Open Day on Saturday 2nd March in the Village Hall, 10am-4pm, with short presentations every hour between 10am and 3pm. Please come along and comment. More details next month.
The first news for 2019!
Useful information from the team can be found at https://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk.
Over the last two years, members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee have met on a regular basis to progress the feedback from the six working topic groups, this is all based on research undertaken within the village.
We have drawn up objectives and are in the process of developing policies. In January, we hope to be able to submit these draft policies for review to Knebworth Parish Council. If supported and agreed by the Parish Council, a draft document outlining these objectives and policies will be delivered to each household in Knebworth for consideration.
We will then hold an Open Day, probably in early March. This will be a critical opportunity for you to come along to ask more questions and discuss anything within the document. Please look out for the date of this important presentation.
We are always pleased to hear from residents and local businesses with your views on the future of Knebworth. If you have some thoughts or ideas you feel would be helpful in producing a good plan for our area, we would love to hear from you. Please email the team at: email@example.com.
Here's the latest from the team.
All six working groups are continuing to develop their objectives and policies based on information obtained by research and consultation with stakeholders.
The Traffic, Transport and Parking group have recently been out daily noting car parking patterns that cause so many problems on Knebworth roads. We will be able to see from this survey whether or not these difficulties are due to commuters or other unidentified issues.
Some young people took part in a Youth Focus Group led by our planning professional. It was agreed that this direct approach would be better than the originally intended survey form. We were very impressed by the knowledgeable and reasoned responses we got from these youngsters.
If you know of any other young people who would like to be consulted on future issues, please ask them to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website continues to develop and can be found at https://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk.
If you would like more information or would like to give us feedback on the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you. Contact: email@example.com.
The Neighbourhood Plan working groups are:
- Traffic, Transportation and Parking– aiming to improve infrastructure and parking issues. Suggestions include electric charging points and free and easily accessible parking.
- Local Economy, including retail, restaurants and bars, looking for ways to maintain current facilities. Other ideas also put forward involve satellite hubs for mixed use, eg small businesses, offices, retail, entertainment and commercial.
- Environment and Flooding– all aspects of local green spaces, conservation and pollution. Work has been done to preserve and protect current amenities. Historic flooding problems have been examined with a view to ongoing improvement.
- Built Environment, which covers housing density and character. An important and central part of the Plan. Current proposals are looking at development opportunities that choose appropriate designs to improve and enhance Knebworth's housing stock and minimise infrastructure impact.
- Schools and Education– covering pre-school, primary and secondary provision. A crucial group which has been looking at sustainable provision, with innovative solutions that meet current and future needs in as many ways as possible.
- Wellbeing, which includes medical and public services, aiming to ensure that residents' welfare is well served with access to recreation, sport and leisure facilities in addition to health and public information availability.
The six working groups have objectives and are developing policies that aim tomitigate the effect of the housing allocations imposed by the NHDC Local Plan, the work being done by the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan is aiming to be positive and achieve the best outcomes.
Some of the groups have overlap areas within them, for example local green spaces are covered by both Wellbeing and Environment groups. Similarly, Knebworth traffic and parking problems are fundamental issues affected by, and having an effect on, the local economy and housing character. This crucial aspect of Knebworth planning is now being addressed with some urgency and any help in this area would be appreciated.
One of our committee members conducted a retail survey of 45 businesses in the village. The main issues were again parking, traffic and the retention (hopefully) of The Station Pub. I don't suppose there are many Knebworth residents or business owners that wouldn't recognise these concerns. If anyone has expertise in the business sector, we would welcome their help.
We now have our own Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website, where we hope to be able to keep everyone up to date. It is still being developed, but do have a look and let us know what you'd like to be kept informed about. Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website can be found athttps://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/
Once again, we're appealing for more residents to help us. If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on from our June update, the pace of progress with the Neighbourhood Plan has increased considerably.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan? – A reminder:
In general, a Neighbourhood Plan is a way of helping local communities influence the planning of the area in which they live and work; it has to work with the Local Plan, not fight against it.
In Knebworth, our Neighbourhood Plan is a rare opportunity to influence the development of the village to make it a sustainable and a pleasant place to live, despite the housing developments proposed in the NHDC Local Plan, and define certain policies to influence design standards.
With the support of the Parish Council, we have managed to secure the help of a Neighbourhood Planning professional, whose knowledge and input has been invaluable. We also applied for and received grant funding for technical assistance from Aecom with 'Design Codes' and 'Master Planning'. They have been on one of several visits they will make to Knebworth to help define types of housing to match Knebworth's needs and determine appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the consequences of increased housing.
We are in the process of undertaking a series of surveys – your participation in any of these will be very helpful. The Housing Needs Survey continues as we really need more responses. You can now fill this in easily online at https://tinyurl.com/y9k5apc2 if you haven't already completed a paper version.
Some committee members are talking to local businesses to get their views, there is currently a Sports & Leisure survey taking place and there will be a Youth Survey soon, so that everyone has their chance to makes their views known. We would particularly welcome encouragement for the younger people to have their say. We will be asking children at Knebworth School, those attending the Knebworth Youth Project, plus Scouts and Guides. If anyone has any ideas on how to target the senior school children to take part, we'd be very pleased to hear from you.
With all this going on, we're appealing for more residents to help us. If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you. Contact: email@example.com
Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website launches!August 5, 20180
Today marks the launch of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website. Content for the website will be added in the coming days/weeks, so please bear with us while we work on the site. Please contact us if you have suggestions for content you would like to see on the website, or if you have any questions or concerns
Unfortunately, initial progress was slow, with many aspects of a Neighbourhood Plan having to be learnt before any action could be taken.
Plans (by North Herts District Council) for some 700 new homes around the village would increase the population by over a third. The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) is a rare opportunity to influence the development of the village to make it a sustainable and a pleasant place to live despite the dramatic increase in population, and should not be missed. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The task is to create a plan based on the views of the people of the Parish. This then has to be passed by an inspector and finally it has to be approved by the residents of Knebworth via a referendum.
The plan enables us to define types of housing to match Knebworth's needs and can make a requirement for appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the consequences of increased housing.
What we want to achieve is a vision for the future of Knebworth Parish and create a sense of community and a sense of ownership of the village by the residents and businesses.
What have we done already?
- Established a steering group
- Surveyed residents on priorities and issues
- Established six working groups on the top priority areas
- Undertaken additional surveys
- Housing needs
- Held two Open Days and displayed information at the Annual Parish Meeting
- Noted comments and observations from those attending
What are the working groups?
- Traffic, Transportation and Parking
- Local Economy (including Retail, Restaurants and Bars)
- Environment and Flooding
- Housing and Character
- Schools and Education
- Wellbeing (to include Medical and Public Services)
Why do we need a Neighbourhood Plan and why do we need it now?
- A Neighbourhood Plan can influence the type of development that should happen in the neighbourhood
- Under the Localism Act 2017 it has a legal status which must be taken into account by the Planning Authority (NHDC)
- It can also define certain policies(e.g. design standards) that take precedence over the existing Local Plan policies for the neighbourhood within certain constraints
- We currently have no roadmap or policies to guide planning decisions that are specific to Knebworth
- A Neighbourhood Plan is needed now as this is our best chance to have an influence on how the village develops over the next few years.
Let us have your opinions and Get Involved!
- We are seeking to engage all local stakeholders to do this
- Community groups
- Local businesses
- We also need more help in developing each work stream
Let us have your opinions and Get Involved!
- We are seeking to engage all local stakeholders to do this
- Community groups
- Local businesses
- We also need more help in developing each work stream
- Please contact us: email@example.com
- The numbers of proposed houses quoted are simply notional figures
- They are not targets.
- Therefore any additional developments do not reduce the proposed number of new dwellings.
- Additional developments are regarded as 'windfall' by NHDC.
- Including windfall significantly increases the number of new dwellings.
So, what are we doing next?
- The subject matter groups are in the process of researchinginto various areas identified such as what evidence is readily available such as statistics on traffic flow and population demographics, what we can and can't define in the Plan and what other people have put in their
- Ultimately they will be working towards creating policies to go in the Plan
If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan and have some expertise in any of the areas covered by the Plan, we would very much like to hear from you.