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.

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.

Parish Council News – January 2024

Open spaces
The two trees on the Spencer Holland recreation ground which were considered high
risk have been removed. It wasn’t possible to cut back some trees on the sports field
whose branches are encroaching on the football pitch but this will be completed shortly.
Work will also commence in the next few weeks on some essential tree maintenance on
the Old Green.


Planning
Since the last meeting the council submitted an objection to proposed variations to work
at Williams Wood, Vicarage Rd (23/02958/ROC) but supported an application from Clayton
Cottage, Frithsden Lane for an extension and work to windows (23/02908/LBC).

At the January meeting the council will be considering proposals for:

  • 23 Water End Rd and land to rear of 21 Water End Rd (23/01211/FUL). This development has been discussed in various iterations at three council meetings and the Parish Council has objected to each proposal. The Applicant has proposed some additional alterations which don’t yet appear on the planning portal but are detailed in the briefing note for the Parish Council meeting.
  • 15 The Back, Potten End – works to trees (23/02963/TCA).
  • Hill House, Frithsden Copse – installation of heat pumps (23/03029/RET).
  • National Trust Land adjacent to Nettleden Road – felling of ash trees (24/00021/TCA).

The council has received notification of an appeal for a proposal to build a stable and hay
and feed store to which the Parish Council objected on land off Little Heath Lane (22/03183/FUL).

Dates for your diaries
Mr Paul Miller, General Manager of National Trust, Ashridge Estate will attend the council
meeting on 15th February to update us on their plans.


Mr Howard Craft, Club Manager of Berkhamsted Golf Club will attend the council meeting
on 21st March to update us on their plans for tree management.

Parish Council budget for 2024/27

At its meeting on 18th January the Parish Council received a presentation on a three year budget from 2024 – 2027 prior to agreeing a 10% increase in precept for 2024/25; precept being that part of the Council Tax which goes toward funding the Parish Council’s activities. Part of the Council’s reasons for increasing precept included the need to put aside reserves so that facilities like the play equipment or artificial football pitch can be repaired or replaced in the future.

The presentation and formal paper proposing the precept increase are available by clicking the links below.

Presentation.

Budget proposal

Dacorum Local Plan consultation – Parish Council response

Dacorum BC have published a draft Local Plan (2024-2040) Revised Strategy for Growth. Full details of the proposal and how to comment on it may be found on the Dacorum website. If you want to comment on the plan you must do so by 11.59pm on Monday 11th December.

The Parish Council has published its response focusing on the impact of increased traffic volumes through the parish as a result of developments at Berkhamsted, Pouchen End Land and to the north of Hemel. The Council is also concerned that the choice of secondary schools for residents will be curtailed as a result of the developments.

The Parish Council has also expressed concern at the proposals to release Green Belt land for development, inconsistencies in the analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various development sites, and a general lack of information about infrastructure such as roads, water supply and sewerage.