• Hertford & Stortford CLP

Template Letter on Enclosure of Public Land in Thorley Park

To: Sara Saunders, Head of Planning & Building Control, East Herts Council (sara.saunders@eastherts.gov.uk)

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Councillor Diane Hollebon, (diane.hollebon@eastherts.gov.uk),

Councillor Graham McAndrew (graham.mcandrew@eastherts.gov.uk),

Councillor John Wylie (john.wyllie@eastherts.gov.uk)


Enclosure of public land in Thorley Park


We/I are/am writing to express our concern at the construction of hoarding around what previously was common land in Thorley Park in the Winchester Close/Ashdale area. As (a) local resident(s) I find it greatly troubling that this land and many other similar small parcels of land on the estate were never owned by the local authority in the first place.

They have now been sold off to speculators and property developers who have submitted a series of planning applications to build on these sites. It appears that following the most recent refusal of planning permission the owner of the land between Ashdale and Winchester Close has constructed hoardings enclosing this area.


Fencing off this and any other site deprives local residents of a small but important local utility. It blocks a right of way across the land that has been established for almost thirty years. It will inevitably have had an impact on the value of properties adjoining the site and any other where a similar risk of enclosure is faced. It is unsightly and will be liable to graffiti and vandalism.


As the local planning authority it is for East Herts Council to respond robustly to this recent development. I/we call upon the council to take urgent action to have this hoarding removed and the right of way across and access to this land restored. I/we also call upon East Herts to seek an undertaking from the owners and the owners of all similar plots of land in Stortford that they will not block rights of way over their land in a similar manner.


The council’s initial ineffective response, that it was not prepared to take action as the height of the fence is only slightly above the permissible level, was deeply disappointing. Planning restrictions are implemented very unevenly in Stortford, with householders and small businesses being punished punitively for minor infractions of obscure planning regulations, but flagrant abuses of the rules are waived away by the Planning Department. All we are asking for is a fair application of the rules.


I look forward to hearing from you with the steps you are intending to take as a matter of urgency.


Yours

(signed)