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.
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.
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.
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.