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Local News & Notices



Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group (HEGNPG)

Greatly disappointed by the Inspector’s Approval of the East Herts District Plan to build 10,000 homes in Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston, after two-year battle.

The Government Inspector has approved East Herts District Plan to build 3000 houses in the Gilston Area by 2033 with a further 7000 after that.

Although EHDC’s original plan submitted to the Inspector for Public Examination was found to be unsound, the Council and the Inspector jointly made major Modifications to it which enabled it to proceed to approval despite thousands of objections from HEGNPG, the community at large, protest groups representing them and our local MP.

 She decided that the need for housing in East Herts was an exceptional ground for the largest release of Green Belt land in the country though the figures used to predict housing needs in this area are disputed by many.

 She was persuaded that the Gilston Development was justified as part of a wider strategy for the area and to support plans by other authorities to regenerate Harlow.

Chairman Anthony Bickmore said that HEGNPG was deeply disappointed by her decisions and especially that: -

  • The Modifications to the original plan were not made in an open and transparent way and that virtually all the public objections to them were ignored.
  • The alternatives to building on the Green Belt in our community were not sufficiently investigated to make the case for “exceptional grounds” to throw away 60 years of public policy.
  • The Inspector too readily accepted vague assurances to deliver the essential infrastructure to meet the demands which the development will have on roads, rail, health and essential public services.

However, HEGNPG now recognises that unless there is a successful legal challenge to the Plan or the Secretary of State blocks it which seems highly unlikely, its role in the community now has to be to see that the development in the Gilston Area is carried out in the best way possible for present and future residents of Hunsdon Eastwick and Gilston. It will be dedicated to see that promises made in the District Plan and consultations so far are fully met: -

  • There must be full and proper community engagement in the detailed planning process and that the authorities and developers are not allowed to shy away from the requirements the Inspector laid down about this.
  • That all the assurances about the essential infrastructure are delivered in time so that the community can rely on proper transport, health and public services without the development wrecking their way of life.
  • That the Gilston development lives up to its promises of being built as distinct and separate villages with high quality homes and not simply an adjunct to Harlow.
  • That the Council captures the profit from the development for the benefit of the community.

E- Anthony Bickmore

   And Frank O’Shea

17 July 2018 v4

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