BIOPARK PLANNING INQUIRY
We have heard back from the inspector regarding the Biopark appeal and, unfortunately, he upheld the appeal, meaning planning permission is granted for the construction of 289 dwellings.
Whilst this is obviously a very disappointing outcome, and not one that we wanted, I will say this.... The whole process that we followed, and the experience gained from it, has put us in an infinitely stronger position than we were in three months ago, and this result will only make us more determined to ensure that other developments, planners and the council are held to account by the community.
This appeal was always going to be a tough ask, but with the support of the community, in partnership with the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust and with the WGC Society also working in parallel, the community put forward a credible and cohesive case – our participation was commented upon by the inspector in his decision notice.
Thank you to everyone who helped with your time, attendances, finances and moral support – we appreciate it and it made a difference.
So, what next? We have all come a very long way since September 9th last year and to use a cliché, we may not have won this battle, but the whole group can assure you that they have absolutely no intention of losing the ‘war’ – I am sure that you guys are with us on this.
Tomorrow, we ride again!
Biopark Appeal Public Inquiry has now concluded
This was an immense piece of work and effort, and a huge learning curve for the KTG team. We represented the community with the help of Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust and had a strong team there for the whole 8 grueling days, ably led by Rose and Malcolm and supported by the Planning consultant that we had retained. The WGC Society also had a team together and attended the whole inquiry next to us. The town was most certainly putting up a fight.
We won’t know what the outcome will be for many weeks or months, but what I can say is that as a community group we were not out argued, we presented a cohesive planning-based case and we will have given the inspector a tough decision to make. The whole KTG team are proud of what was achieved.
The KTG and WGC Heritage Trust's closing statement to the appeal is on our Facebook Page As you'll see it references evidence that we or others have given throughout the appeal and is based on planning policy.
A massive thank you again to Rose, Tim our Planning Consultant and people across both organisations for their time, knowledge, dedication, passion that has been put into this appeal. It was a huge piece of work and Tim and Rose in particular have been working every evening after sitting through the evidence all day, in order to prepare for the next day.
At the Cabinet Planning & Parking Panel (CPPP) meeting 21st July, councillors agreed to put a motion forward to change the numbers in the Local Plan. This includes removing an additional 600 dwellings that were inexplicably added to the required figure on Broadwater Road, this takes the figure down to just over 1400, which is what has been consented already. The motion will now go to the full council next week, if voted through the new plan will go to the Inspector where he will either approve it, ask for changes or completely reject it in due course.
Whilst it is unlikely that the inspector will accept this plan - we should see this as a victory for those of us that have been campaigning for this to happen - and for those that think that things are always a done-deal - think again!
Campus East Car Park
The Keep the G team will be meeting with the developer Bellway Homes. Bellway have been keen to engage from the outset and we look forward to seeing their revised plans for this high profile, town centre site.
No specific updates here other than, the new planning applications from Wheat Quarter and MTVH have not yet been submitted. The first 208 dwellings at the southern end of the MTVH site are nearing completion and can now be clearly seen – let us know what you think.
Another thank you from everyone at KTG for your help in raising funds for the Biopark appeal. We were touched by the generosity of the town, and challenging the appeal could not have happened without your kindness.
There is, of course, lots more going on, and we will update you again on other issues shortly.
Ebenezer Howard said
"The people of the Garden City will not for a moment permit the beauty of their city to be destroyed by the process of growth. The town will grow, but it will grow in accordance with a principle which will result in this - that such growth shall not lesson or destroy, but ever add to its social opportunities, to its beauty, to its convenience."
The Story So Far
In September 2021 the planning application for the BioPark was rightly rejected by the Council. They have now appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and a Planning Inquiry will take place. We must ensure the Planning Inspectorate comes to the same decision as the Council.
It will be a Planning Inquiry, a formal process with planning barristers, expert witnesses and around 8 days of evidence. Keep the G, together with WGC Heritage Trust, have therefore appointed a Planning Consultant to help us put forward the best possible case and win.
We all consider the Biopark Appeal is a pivotal event in our campaign against over-development. Success will put in place the means to preserve our heritage, sustain our quality of life, and directly influence the future course of our unique town.
But we need your help to fight the appeal. If it is successful it will allow the building of a large number of up to 9-storey high, densely-packed tower blocks on this site.
Funds are needed urgently as the appeal process is already underway.
Please give as generously as you can to help us fight these proposals and safeguard what we love about this town. You can make a difference by giving as an individual, house or neighbourhood/street donating to help protect our town.
Please do share the page though to help us meet the goal.
Be part of the fight... Your contribution will make a difference!
The KTG Team
On behalf of Keep the G in WGC and Heritage Trust
KEEP THE G IN WGC