National Trust – revised opening hours

We’ve been advised by the National Trust of the following plans for their properties in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

Ashridge – small, outlying car parks:  all open as of Mon 11 May, with the exception of Little Gaddesden where we are keeping it closed to minimise dog fouling in the adjacent meadow while the cattle are grazing and Northchurch Flats, where we are trying to promote some grass restoration following a lot of abuse during the wet weather.

Ivinghoe Beacon and Dick’s Camp: these will open by Saturday 16 May. There will probably be third-party operated ice cream vans in both of these car parks on fine days and at weekends.

Ashridge, Monument Drive: this will remain closed until Monday 1 June.  This is because it is a very difficult site for us to try to manage numbers and any kind of social distancing. We will operate it at 50% of the usual capacity and will turn people away once it is full. We will open the toilets; if people do not observe social distancing whilst using them, we will close them again. The shop and visitor centre will remain closed. There may be a reduced, take away offer available from the café. The Juice Dub is likely to be on site at weekends from 1 June.

Dunstable Downs: we will open the main car park and the beach car park at 50% of their usual capacity from 10am – 4pm daily from Monday 18 May. The car park machines will be operating using the ‘Pay by Phone’ facility and the charge will be £3.50 per visit.  The toilets will be open and we will monitor use to ensure social distancing is being observed. There will be a third party operated ice cream van in the beach car park on fine days. Cars that cannot be accommodated will be turned away.

Sharpenhoe, Totternhoe, Whipsnade Heath: all open from Wednesday 13 May.

Sundon Hills and Morven Park: still open – never closed.  There is no parking at Morven.

Whipsnade Tree Cathedral: this will remain closed for now.

Shaw’s Corner: this will remain closed for a long time yet. There is little prospect of us re-opening until social distancing is no longer required. We may look to operate some kind of pre-booked visits later in the season.

Mobile base station pre-consultation

The Council has been approached by the Harlequin Group on behalf of Cornerstone Group, a joint venture between Telefonica and Vodafone, as a pre-application consultation in advance of a planning application for the erection of a mobile base station on Hempstead Lane opposite the lay-by to provide 4G coverage within the area. The Parish Council is only being informally consulted and does not have the authority to allow or refuse the application. We have until the 24th January to make comments and have also been asked to advise Harlequin of any local stakeholders or groups that might like to make comments.

This will be discussed at the council meeting on 16th January but if anyone is unable to attend that meeting and would like to submit comments via the council please contact the Parish Clerk.

An explanatory letter from Harlequin may be found here, and a map of the proposed location may be found here.