Dear Broxbourne Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council and Lands Improvement Holdings,
As you’ll be aware the highly disputed and planning permission breaching works have already begun on Lord Street. From the 4th February 2019 onwards Lord Street will be subject to closures, causing current residents to unfairly suffer. It is clear in the planning documents that the gas and electricity utilities were meant to come via Hertford Road, instead you have chosen to ignore this and have done so without informing local residents as to why. We still don’t know why, and honestly it is hard going to get the truth from you. Will you tell us why the planning permission has changed?
Throughout the High Leigh Garden Village development so far there have been numerous planning permission breaches, some of these breaches have resorted in Broxbourne Council contacting Lands Improvement Holdings or Breheny Civil Engineering, requesting that they adhere to the planning permission or planning conditions. It is believed that a formal planning enforcement notice has never been served on Lands Improvement Holdings or Breheny Civil Engineering.
Local residents are concerned that a power divide is being fostered within Broxbourne Borough Council planning department, due to this clear bias behaviour in favour of developers. A gap between the rights of standard residents who acquire planning permission and those of commercial entities that are of benefit to the council is apparent, both financially and having to meet housing targets. Ideally planning permission enforcement should take place in a way that is without bias, this is not happening within Broxbourne Borough Council.
If a standard resident were to apply for planning permission and be granted such permission to carry out works between the hours of 8am and 6pm, it would have to be strictly adhered to and failure would likely result in an enforcement notice from Broxbourne Borough Council. Yet Lands Improvement Holdings are persistently granted ‘special permissions’ that a standard resident would unlikely be able to acquire and can ignore various conditions of the planning permission. A standard resident likely wouldn’t be able to carry out overnight works for multiple weeks in breach of permitted hours, without any kind of enforcement notice being served.
Allowing a large construction company to walk all over current residents, with planning permission breaching working hours, is extremely damaging to local residents wellbeing and has degraded trust in the council. Then to see so little done by the Councils to prevent it occurring again, except for their ‘intentions’ to not allow it to recur.
Again, this is the same with Lord Street. If a standard resident were to state in a planning document where they would be installing gas and electrical utilities it would need to be adhered to. Yet Lands Improvement Holdings are able to easily bypass the conditions set out in various planning documents, while Broxbourne Borough Council sit by idly. The developers have powers and special rights that standard citizens would not be able to have; this is deeply unsettling and worrying.
Hertfordshire County Council have the audacity to refuse to grit the diversion route via Mangrove Lane when we are struggling through a cold winter snap. We are experiencing frequent flurries of snow and minus temperatures at night causing ice on the ungritted roads. This could lead to residents of certain areas on Lord Street, Box Lane and adjoining roads of Lord Street essentially being isolated and unable to leave their properties via car. Hertfordshire County Councils reason as stated on the Hertfordshire Mercury for not gritting the diversion is: “Even with the additional traffic, the diversion route does not meet the criteria for precautionary salting, therefore we would not treat this route.” This behaviour from Hertfordshire County Council is appalling, it shows how little regard they have for residents of Lord Street and all adjoining roads. Current residents are once again unfairly affected by works on Lord Street, which for some reason are being carried at one of the coldest point this year so far.
These are just two examples of when Lands Improvement Holdings or Breheny Civil Engineering have been able to bypass planning conditions with little consequences; there are plenty more.
This behaviour from the planning department, at Broxbourne Borough Council, is deeply concerning and sets a precedence of a power divide between normal residents and commercial entities.
Lands Improvement Holdings are effectively able to bypass most planning conditions, due to the bias that Hertfordshire County Council and Broxbourne Borough Council harbour towards them.
Hertfordshire County Council representatives, such as Phil Bibby, have told us as much that they do not have to follow or take Broxbourne Borough Councils planning permission into consideration regarding any actions they take, even if it breaches the agreed planning permission. From a legal perspective they may be correct, from a moral and ethical one, are they?
The animosity building between residents, the local councils and the developers is starting to create a residents vs High Leigh Garden Village situation. The lack of sympathy shown to local residents so far is shocking and contributing to this situation. Residents are rapidly losing trust in Hertfordshire County Council and Broxbourne Borough Council, as the councils continue to favour the wants of developers over current residents concerns.
Back when this development was first approved, a number of strange things happened which seemed to indicate an underlying bias from Broxbourne Borough Council. During the planning decision meeting when the development was voted to be approved, various councillors were seen hugging, smiling and shaking the hands of developers, as if they had a secret reason to be so elated. The planning process should of taken place in a way without bias and in a neutral way. Multiple concerns of local residents and consultants who put forward, with extremely well reasoned arguments against the development which were not fully considered during this process. Many of these concerns are now coming to light, which will continue to plague the development and local residents for years to come.
Last year a large sinkhole opened up on the High Leigh Garden Village development site, it is still not known why this sinkhole occurred and if more could occur on the development site. Local residents would like to know more as to why this large sinkhole occurred on the developers site, and if a exact answer is known to why.
Residents of Box Lane and Lord street continue to have their postcodes hijacked on Google Maps by the dumbbell roundabout and other parts of the High Leigh Garden Village development, due to potential incorrect usage of EN11 8SB and EN11 8SJ by Lands Improvement Holdings or their contractors. This is leading to parcels not being delivered and people struggling to locate property. Who has to look into getting this fixed? Local residents. Lands Improvement Holdings and the local councils have so far shown little regard for this issue that plagues residents of Box Lane/ Lord Street.
In closing, if conditions related to this development do not being to improve then we will begin to protest on the streets and outside council offices until you hear us. Our requests are simple and straightforward: that planning permission is followed, that when planning permission is breached it is thoroughly investigated and that current residents are treated with sympathy and basic respect.
It’s embarrassing how little the councils care about current residents and favour developers so much.
Hertfordshire Mercury Group Photo on Lord Street
To residents of Lord Street, Kennedy Avenue, Langton Road, Box Lane, all adjoining roads, councillors of Broxbourne and Hertfordshire and supporters of this campaign, you are invited to a group photo on the Saturday 9th February 2019, at 2:30pm on Lord Street where it joins Langton Road with the Hertfordshire Mercury.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2251155425154650/