Aston St Mary's Church

ASTON PARISH COUNCIL

Welcome to the Aston Parish Council web site. This site is not designed to give information about the Parish since much can be found in the Aston Village Plan and other Aston web sites which can be accessed from here. This site has been designed to give information about the activities and duties of the Aston Parish Council. To this end the following information is contained here.

Parish Council Meetings   - dates, agenda and minutes of meetings

Parish Councillors – contact details

Annual programme of  APC

Policies of APC

Planning applications – current, past and views of APC

Useful contacts

News Items

The current Parish Council Budget, the list of assets and Parish Council Policies (currently under review) can now be found on the About Us  Page.

The Parish Council of seven members is elected every four years. If you have any concerns about a matter which you think may be Parish Council business, please contact the Clerk, the Chairman or any other Councillor. Contact details are in the Aston Parish News. Alternatively, please e-mail: astonpcclerk@gmail.com


NEWS


Annual Parish Meeting – 600 more houses?:  The
Meeting of 110 people was packed into the School Hall and would have been
better in the Village Hall.  However, the
main item of the Gresley Park Development of 600 houses was unknown when the
agenda was drawn up, handbills printed, and venue booked.  It was only on March 17th that
members of the Parish Council went to Hertford to find out the details from the
East Herts Planners.  With main agenda
items of Aston Bury Wood and a Rose & Crown update, an attendance of about
50-60 was expected so the Council booked the School.  Apologies if you sat on the floor in rows
like year 5 pupils.

            So, how has this late development
come about?  East Herts thought they had
allocated all their Government target houses up to 2031 (now adjusted to 2033)
only to be told recently that the County Council would not allow 5,000 extra
houses to feed on to the A414 between WGC, Hertford, Ware and Harlow and
therefore 2,000 would have to go elsewhere. 
East Herts have until the end of this year to find these locations
before the District Plan goes to the Government Inspector in early 2017.  Then, if it is rejected, the Government will
take over deciding where houses should go.

            The District have struggled to find
suitable sites for these 2,000.  Space is
not the issue – there is plenty of that – but it needs to have the
infrastructure that the people would need and between 2017 and 2033 there needs
to be about 900 new houses every year and the early years are the problem if
infrastructure and land with plans already drawn are not available.  The District have found some sites around
Sawbridgeworth, around and in the middle of Bishop’s Stortford, and at
Buntingford but not enough for 2,000. 
Hence the Gresley Park proposal with the Stevenage infrastructure all in
place alongside it.

            The land is owned by a developer,
who did try to develop it in the 1980’s as part of Chells Manor, but was
stopped because of encroachment on the Beane Valley and a large earth bund (like
Offa’s Dyke!) was put alongside Gresley Way and trees planted on top to give
Stevenage a solid boundary and protect the Beane Valley.  The land is also designated as high value
green belt, because of the valley, and the site was again rejected by East Herts
when the owners offered it in the current District Plan formation.  Now East Herts are desperate and the owners
have come up with an impressive set of proposals for 600 houses with 240
affordable, a primary school, health centre, leisure areas, sheltered
accommodation and pitches for 2 travelling showmens stands.  Given a green light, building could start
straight away with the first people moving in within 3 years.

            This could get East Herts off the
hook, and despite opposition to the proposal, Aston Parish Council members did
feel some sympathy for the East Herts Officers at the Hertford meeting, who
were working under such a tight time frame and seemed to have not that much
more influence on the outcome than the Parish Council.  The danger is that if the Government do not
approve the East Herts Plan and appoint their own inspector to determine
where  houses should go, then everything
in the proposed plan, like the Aston Village Boundary, is no more and
developers will be able to apply for all the sites in Aston and Aston End which
parishioners clearly voted to stop, and the inspector may allow sites like
Coppers Field and Little Orchard etc.

            Aston Parish Council are yet to take
a view on this.  They will be consulted
in the early Autumn IF this plan becomes a solid proposal by East Herts, so the
Parish Council do have a few months to consider its position and how further to
consult the parish.  Please let the
Parish Council know your views directly or via this magazine.  A number of issues were rightly raised at the
Parish Meeting:  building on green belt,
the Beane Valley, setting a precedent – since the same developer also own
adjacent sites around Box Wood,  1,000
extra cars and how many of them would use Lanterns Lane and Aston and the
effect on Aston School numbers.

            The day after the meeting, members
of Aston Parish Council met with a senior planner at Stevenage Borough
Council.  At the Parish Meeting, a member
of Walkern Parish Council, said they had not heard of this proposal and it was
doubted whether local MP’s had too, and despite “the duty to co-operate” across
District Boundaries, it came as no surprise that the Stevenage senior planning
officer had ‘only vaguely heard of the proposals along with other ones’.  Stevenage are certainly not including this as
part of their plan up to 2033 or making any adjustments to their traffic
predictions and road programme, it is certainly an East Herts project, and the
Officer agreed that it would make Stevenage even more lop sided with the Town
Centre moving ever further away from the centre.  What was clear, that just as Great Ashby is
part of North Herts District and Stevenage have no desire (nor do North Herts
or the Gt.Ashby residents) to make it part of Stevenage, the same would apply
to Gresley Park.  It would stay in East
Herts and initially in Aston Parish.  The
implications for local democracy need thinking about.  There are currently 688 Aston Parish voters,  but with 600 new houses in Gresley Park, the
Park voters would have control.  This
position caused a lot of ill feeling in both Graveley Parish and Gt.Ashby so,
since 2011, Gt. Ashby have had their own Community Council.  The Stevenage Officer made it clear that
there are no community councils in Stevenage Borough and they do not want them.

            This article is an attempt to update
everyone and other items at the Parish Meeting must wait until next month.  No doubt much more will be heard about this
in the coming months but, thanks to the RBRA, plenty of water will flow down
the Beane before  we know the final
result. 

 





 







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