Parish Council News – May 2024

The Parish Council meets on Thursday, 16th May at 7.30pm in the Church Room at Potten End. The agenda for the meeting can be downloaded from the Council’s website. If you’d like to get more information about items on the agenda it includes links to supporting documents, and if that doesn’t satisfy you, please come to the meeting and ask questions or contact me!

Consultations/information sessions

At the February Council meeting we heard from Paul Miller from the National Trust about the significant challenges facing the NT from increased footfall at the Ashridge Estate.

A reminder that the NT will be giving an update on their plans at a public engagement event behind the Visitor Centre on Monument Drive on May 25th and 26th between 11am and 4pm. Details are available on the NT website.

The Local Government Boundary Commission is consulting on ward boundaries in Dacorum. More information is available on their website. The closing date for comments is 15 July.

We’ve been approached about whether there might be any interest in a mobile vet service visiting Potten End – there are no details of timings or venue yet but please let us know if this might be of interest.

Highways

Both the tragic accident at the drainage works outside 76 Hempstead Lane and the accident at the junction of Church Rd and Water End Rd are scheduled for updates.

The scheduled closure of Potten End Hill from 8 – 10 May has been cancelled because of the delay to the Hempstead Lane works but the closure on 10 June remains. Roman Road will be closed from 3-7 June for drainage works. See one.network for details of roadworks.

Open spaces

The Plough has asked for permission to install more picnic benches on Spencer Holland. This was scheduled for discussion in April but was delayed to allow time to investigate possible implications.

Planning

The Council will consider applications from:

Brynnon Cottage, The Back for a single storey extension (24/01020/LDP

Cleft Oak Cottage, Hollybush Close for a double storey extensions to front, single storey extension to side and part single- part double-storey extension to rear, increased main roof and chimney heights, fenestration changes and new pitched roof to garage, all following demolition of existing conservatory (24/01041/FHA)

38 Rambling Way (aka Valerie Way) for removal of Condition 2 (Approved Plans) attached to planning permission 21/00138/FUL (Construction of 5 dwellinghouses including associated hard and soft landscaping) (24/01053/ROC)

CIL project prioritisation

The Parish Council received £72,024.35 Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from the development at Valerie Way which has to be spent on infrastructure in the parish. Over 35 ideas of what to spend the money on have been received covering projects as widely different in scale as improvements to the Brownie’s cupboard in the Church Room to the replacement of the Scout Hut.  At the May Council Meeting it is proposed that the Council proceeds with the following projects without consultation: 

to improve accessibility to open spaces

to improve the Brownies cupboard in the Church Room

to repair the entrance pathway to the Old Green

a roadside data recorder

to protect the verges around The Green

The Council will consult with the community to prioritise a further nine projects.

Dates for your diaries

The next two Council meetings will take place on 20th June and 18th July

Parish Council News – April 2024

The Parish Council meets on Thursday, 18th April at 7.30pm in the Church Rooms at Potten End. The agenda for the meeting can be downloaded from the Council’s website. If you’d like to get more information about items on the agenda it includes links to supporting documents, and if that doesn’t satisfy you, please come to the meeting and ask questions or contact me!

Ashridge House

The meeting will start with a presentation by Mr David Evans, Managing Director, Ashridge House who will be talking about their plans for future events. 

National Trust

At the February Council meeting we heard from Paul Miller from the National Trust about the significant challenges facing the NT from increased footfall at the Ashridge Estate. The NT will be giving an update on their plans at a public engagement event behind the Visitor Centre on Monument Drive on May 25th and 26th between 11am and 4pm. Details are available on the NT website.

Highways

Please note that the DENS Hillbuster cycle ride takes place on 28th April with routes through the parish. There are no road closures but there will be more bikes around than normal! More details are available on the council briefing note.

The work to correct the flooding along Hempstead Lane has started with the road closure scheduled to last another 10 days. Potten End Hill is scheduled to be closed from 8 – 10 May and 10 June; see one.network for details.

At the March meeting the Council agreed to pay for the installation of a gateway to emphasise the change in speed limit on The Common when approaching from Berkhamsted as part of the project from Herts County Council to standardise the speed on The Common to 40mph. As the land in question is owned by the Golf Club their permission has been requested.

Little Jim’s bus service (532/502) has been deregistered. Residents wanting to use a bus should consider HertsLynx, an on-demand bus service that doesn’t run on a scheduled route but does need to be booked in advance.

Open spaces

The Plough has asked for permission to install more picnic benches on Spencer Holland.

The Council would appreciate residents views on how to tackle an issue where cricket balls are landing in the gardens of Vicarage Rd and Vicarage Gardens – there’s more details about the issues involved in the Council’s briefing note.

Congratulations to the Potten End Football Team who after making the final of the Aylesbury and District Football League’s Sheffield Jackman Cup last year went one better this year to win it.

Planning At the last meeting the council supported an application for a new pitched roof over a garage and various other works at 18 Hempstead Lane (24/00459/FHA) and since that meeting has also supported an application for a single storey rear extension and various other works at Fryth View, Vicarage Rd (24/00656/FHA).

The Council will consider applications from 21 Hedgeside for a new porch and various other works (24/00655/RET) and various detailed changes to the proposed new property for which planning permission has already been given at 31 Hempstead Lane (24/00778/DRC).

The Council will also receive an update on a proposal to create a “SANG” – a publicly accessible green space which largely fills the area between Nettleden Rd and Potten End Hill, and from the Leighton Buzzard Rd to beyond Binghams Park Farm. The majority of this proposal is in Great Gaddesden Parish where there was a lively council meeting on Monday when the developers presented their proposals.

CIL project prioritisation

The Parish Council received £72,024.35 Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from the development at Valerie Way which has to be spent on infrastructure in the parish. Over 35 ideas of what to spend the money on have been received covering projects as widely different in scale as improvements to the Brownie’s cupboard in the Church Room to the replacement of the Scout Hut. The Council intends to consult with the community about which projects should be prioritised but before it does so has identified projects which for a number of reasons such as lack of space or not meeting the requirements for CIL expenditure it doesn’t propose to take forward to consultation. At the moment this is a draft list and if you think that the categorisation is incorrect the Council would like to hear from you before the next Council meeting in May.

End of year accounts

The Council’s financial year ends in March and the draft year end results for 2023/24 will be considered.

Dates for your diaries The next two Council meetings will take place on 16th May and 20th June.

Parish Council News – March 2024

The Parish Council meets on Thursday, 21 March at 7.30pm in the Church Rooms at Potten End. The agenda for the meeting can be downloaded from the Council’s website. If you’d like to get more information about items on the agenda it includes links to supporting documents, and if that doesn’t satisfy you, please come to the meeting and ask questions or contact me!

Berkhamsted Golf Club

The meeting will start with a presentation by Mr Howard Craft, Club Manager, Berkhamsted Golf Club who will be talking about conservation grazing on Berkhamsted Common. 

National Trust

At the February Council meeting Paul Miller from the National Trust gave a presentation on the significant challenges facing the NT from increased footfall at the Ashridge Estate including eight different and often overlapping types of designations and heritage listings such as AONB, SSSI, historic park, ancient woodland and common land. If you want more information on the Trust’s plans for the Estate include restrictions on parking in Monument Drive and more visitor centres to move visitors away from the Monument go to the National Trust website.

On a related note there are two sessions on Wednesday 27thMarch from 5.30pm – 6.30pm, repeated at 7pm – 8pm, at the Ashridge Visitor Centre about proposed changes to horse riding on the Estate. It’s free but you need to book.

There has been comment about the state of the footpath from Frithsden Copse to Frithsden after a new fence was erected. The fence is to allow cattle to graze the woodland and field as part of a NT restoration project to improve the diversity of the habitat. Unfortunately that doesn’t help the condition of the footpath.

And finally our current representative on the NT Estates Committee, Geoff Brown, no longer feels able to continue in the role. Our thanks to Geoff for his time and to Chris Grimsdale for picking up the reigns.

Highways

Here’s a summary of what the Council will be discussing, together with updates on outstanding items where appropriate.

The flooding along Hempstead Lane has been resolved in the short-term by installing a pump to take the water from the road to the fields behind the houses. Work will start on a permanent solution on 2nd April which will require the road to be shut for four weeks. The solution is only possible because of the flexibility and support of local residents.

In addition to Hempstead Lane, Potten End Hill is scheduled to be closed from 8 – 10 May and 10 June; see one.network for details.

It has been suggested that the speed limit in the parish outside those areas where there is a set limit should be reduced from the default National Speed Limit of 60mph to 40mph. This would only be considered by Herts Highways if there was a significant percentage of the community supporting it, it would require a lot of effort to get that support, and it is unlikely even then that it would achieve anything other than make a clear statement of the community’s concerns. The Council could support such an initiative but doesn’t have the bandwidth to undertake the legwork necessary to get that level of support and so unless there are people willing to pick this up it will not be pursued.

In the meantime and after many years of effort we are expecting work to start on reducing the speed limit along The Common from 50mph to 40mph in the next few months. The current design includes a small chicane at the entrance to the Village and the Council will debate whether or not to pay for the installation of a gateway to emphasise the change in speed limit which will be from 40mph to 30mph.

Concern has been expressed at the state of the path from Common Gardens to Vicarage Rd running behind Cedar. The Council is most grateful to Cllr Douris who has agreed to have the path repaired in 2024/25.

Finally HertsLynx are offering a “children travel free” deal over Easter.

Open spaces

The Council will be considering a proposal to install a wildlife information board next to the pond, and is very grateful to Alan and Joyce Osborn who have agreed to fund it.

We have agreed that Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh may use The Pond as part of a study assessing the health of the common frog across the UK.

Planning

At the last meeting the council objected to an application at Mollcroft, Hempstead Lane (24/00157/FUL) for a change of use for an existing detached residential annex building to a separate dwellinghouse. It has supported an application for the reinstatement of a gated access to Spring Lodge, Hollybush Close (24/00368/FHA) and will be considering an application for a new pitched roof over a garage and various other works at 18 Hempstead Lane (24/00459/FHA).

The council has received notification of an appeal against the decision by Dacorum to refuse permission for works to trees at Browns Spring Wood (23/00314/TPO). The Parish Council objected to the original application.

Email address changes

Please note that with immediate effect all the Parish Council email addresses have changed. I can now be contacted at clerk@nettledenpottenend-pc.gov.uk whilst all councillors can be contacted at firstname.secondname@nettledenpottenend-pc.gov.uk (e.g. daniel.burfot@nettledenpottenend-pc.gov.uk). The old email addresses will work for a little while but will eventually be shut down.

Dates for your diaries

Mr David Evans, Managing Director, Ashridge House will attend the council meeting on 18th April to update us on their plans for events at Ashridge (deferred from January).

The May Council meeting will take place on 16th May.

Parish Council News – February 2024

The Parish Councils February meeting will start with a presentation by Mr Paul Miller, General Manager, National Trust Ashridge Estate, who will be talking about the very special and diverse Ashridge Estate, the significant current and future challenges across the estate, and the strategic approach the NT are taking to mitigate these challenges. ‘Protecting our Roots’ is the NT project developing the necessary transformational change, collaboratively with a range of stakeholders.

The Trust’s plans for the Estate include restrictions on parking in Monument Drive and more visitor centres to move visitors away from the Monument. More information can be found on the National Trust website. 

Highways

The flooding along Hempstead Lane is clearly causing significant inconvenience to the residents directly affected and to everyone who uses the road. A meeting involving Sir Mike Penning MP, County Cllr Terry Douris, the immediately affected residents and Highways was held on 9th February and there are now proposals for a short-term (as in any day now) and long-term solution. Details will be announced as soon as the plans have been finalised.

The Council will also consider a number of highways-related issues affecting Frithsden, including a proposal to install chevrons at the junction of Nettleden Rd and Frithsden Lane which has been the site of a number of accidents recently.

Open Spaces

Essential tree maintenance on the Old Green has been completed to remove some dangerous trees and allow more light into the area. Further work will be undertaken to reduce the amount of ivy on some of the trees. We are aware that the access to the Old Green from The Front is becoming more uneven and have included a proposal to improve it as one of the projects under consideration for funding from the CIL funds (see below).

The Council will be considering a proposal for a short term extension to the grass cutting contract. In itself this isn’t very contentious but the extension is to allow time to consider a proposal that the council change the grass cutting regime on the Old Green, part of The Green, and possibly the burial ground to improve the ecology of those areas. The Council would be very interested to hear resident’s views on this proposal.

The recent wet weather has further delayed work to cut back the trees overhanging the football pitch on the sports field but we hope that this will be completed as soon as possible. In the meantime we are about to submit a grant application to the Football Foundation to support a six year programme to improve the quality of the football pitch.

Dacorum have launched a consultation exercise on plans to improve cycling and walking routes in the borough. The aim is to identify walking and cycling routes of most importance to the community over the next 10 years and to make them more attractive and viable options than using a car. Funding will be sought from central Government. At first sight their plans appear to be very focused on urban routes so its important that everyone expresses their views.

Planning

Since the last meeting the council supported an application for a single storey extension and various other alterations to Crossways on Little Heath Lane (24/00090/FHA). 

At the meeting the council will consider an application at Mollcroft, Hempstead Lane (24/00157/FUL) for a change of use for an existing detached residential annex building to a separate dwellinghouse.

The council has received notification of appeals against the decisions by Dacorum to refuse permission for the new dwelling at Frithsden Vineyard (22/02538/FUL) and the retention of and addition to decking at 7 Olivers Close (23/01330/FUL). The Parish Council objected to both applications.

Finance and admin

At the January council meeting the Council agreed its budget for 2024/25 and the amount of Precept it requires to deliver its plans – the ‘Precept’ is that part of your Council Tax which is collected on behalf of the Parish Council. You can see the presentation given to the January Council Meeting explaining the main factors determining the level of precept here.

The Council has been considering possible areas in which to invest the £72,000 it received from the Valerie Way development in Potten End; the provisional list of projects was presented to the January Council meeting. It’s taken slightly longer to pull together high-level details of the various projects than we’d hoped but the Council will now consider them in early March before consulting with the community on priorities.

Challenges facing the NT Ashridge Estate

At the Parish Council Meeting on 15th February, Paul Miller from the National Trust will be talking to residents about the very special and diverse Ashridge Estate, the significant current and future challenges across the estate, and the strategic approach the NT are taking to mitigate these challenges. ‘Protecting our Roots’ is the NT project developing the necessary transformational change, collaboratively with a range of stakeholders. Paul will be pleased to listen to residents’ views.

There’s more information on the NT website.

If you’re interested to hear what Paul has to say he will be at the Church Room, Potten End from 7.30pm on Thursday 15th February.