February Update

Neighbourhood Planning is actively promoted by the Government through the Localism Act and “gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.

Well that’s the theory anyway! It turns out that planning is far more complicated than you might think and there are numerous complex and problematical rules to understand and comply with.

We recently had a review of all the local green spaces in Knebworth, plus the local iconic and heritage buildings. This was interesting stuff, but it was hard to understand at times why some areas/buildings met with “approved” criteria and others did not.

For an opportunity to review the policies and objectives that have been developed for Knebworth, come to the Open Day on Saturday 2nd March in the Village Hall, 10am-4pm, with short presentations every hour between 10am and 3pm. Please come along and comment. More details next month.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

January Update

The first news for 2019!

Useful information from the team can be found at https://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk.

Over the last two years, members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee have met on a regular basis to progress the feedback from the six working topic groups, this is all based on research undertaken within the village.

We have drawn up objectives and are in the process of developing policies. In January, we hope to be able to submit these draft policies for review to Knebworth Parish Council. If supported and agreed by the Parish Council, a draft document outlining these objectives and policies will be delivered to each household in Knebworth for consideration.

We will then hold an Open Day, probably in early March. This will be a critical opportunity for you to come along to ask more questions and discuss anything within the document. Please look out for the date of this important presentation.

We are always pleased to hear from residents and local businesses with your views on the future of Knebworth. If you have some thoughts or ideas you feel would be helpful in producing a good plan for our area, we would love to hear from you. Please email the team at: neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

Winter Update

Here’s the latest from the team.

All six working groups are continuing to develop their objectives and policies based on information obtained by research and consultation with stakeholders.

The Traffic, Transport and Parking group have recently been out daily noting car parking patterns that cause so many problems on Knebworth roads. We will be able to see from this survey whether or not these difficulties are due to commuters or other unidentified issues.

Some young people took part in a Youth Focus Group led by our planning professional. It was agreed that this direct approach would be better than the originally intended survey form. We were very impressed by the knowledgeable and reasoned responses we got from these youngsters.
If you know of any other young people who would like to be consulted on future issues, please ask them to contact us at jacqueline@govresources.co.uk.

The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website continues to develop and can be found at https://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk.

If you would like more information or would like to give us feedback on the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you. Contact: neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

October Update

The Neighbourhood Plan working groups are:

  • Traffic, Transportation and Parking– aiming to improve infrastructure and parking issues. Suggestions include electric charging points and free and easily accessible parking.
  • Local Economy, including retail, restaurants and bars, looking for ways to maintain current facilities. Other ideas also put forward involve satellite hubs for mixed use, eg small businesses, offices, retail, entertainment and commercial.
  • Environment and Flooding– all aspects of local green spaces, conservation and pollution. Work has been done to preserve and protect current amenities.  Historic flooding problems have been examined with a view to ongoing improvement.
  • Built Environment, which covers housing density and character. An important and central part of the Plan. Current proposals are looking at development opportunities that choose appropriate designs to improve and enhance Knebworth’s housing stock and minimise infrastructure impact.
  • Schools and Education– covering pre-school, primary and secondary provision. A crucial group which has been looking at sustainable provision, with innovative solutions that meet current and future needs in as many ways as possible.
  • Wellbeing, which includes medical and public services, aiming to ensure that residents’ welfare is well served with access to recreation, sport and leisure facilities in addition to health and public information availability.

The six working groups have objectives and are developing policies that aim tomitigate the effect of the housing allocations imposed by the NHDC Local Plan, the work being done by the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan is aiming to be positive and achieve the best outcomes.

Some of the groups have overlap areas within them, for example local green spaces are covered by both Wellbeing and Environment groups.  Similarly, Knebworth traffic and parking problems are fundamental issues affected by, and having an effect on, the local economy and housing character.  This crucial aspect of Knebworth planning is now being addressed with some urgency and any help in this area would be appreciated.

One of our committee members conducted a retail survey of 45 businesses in the village.  The main issues were again parking, traffic and the retention (hopefully) of The Station Pub.  I don’t suppose there are many Knebworth residents or business owners that wouldn’t recognise these concerns.  If anyone has expertise in the business sector, we would welcome their help.

We now have our own Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website, where we hope to be able to keep everyone up to date. It is still being developed, but do have a look and let us know what you’d like to be kept informed about.    Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website can be found athttps://knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/

Once again, we’re appealing for more residents to help us.  If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you.  Contact:  neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk

September update

Following on from our June update, the pace of progress with the Neighbourhood Plan has increased considerably.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan? – A reminder:
In general, a Neighbourhood Plan is a way of helping local communities influence the planning of the area in which they live and work; it has to work with the Local Plan, not fight against it.

In Knebworth, our Neighbourhood Plan is a rare opportunity to influence the development of the village to make it a sustainable and a pleasant place to live, despite the housing developments proposed in the NHDC Local Plan, and define certain policies to influence design standards.

With the support of the Parish Council, we have managed to secure the help of a Neighbourhood Planning professional, whose knowledge and input has been invaluable. We also applied for and received grant funding for technical assistance from Aecom with ‘Design Codes’ and ‘Master Planning’. They have been on one of several visits they will make to Knebworth to help define types of housing to match Knebworth’s needs and determine appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the consequences of increased housing.

We are in the process of undertaking a series of surveys – your participation in any of these will be very helpful. The Housing Needs Survey continues as we really need more responses. You can now fill this in easily online at  https://tinyurl.com/y9k5apc2  if you haven’t already completed a paper version.

Some committee members are talking to local businesses to get their views, there is currently a Sports & Leisure survey taking place and there will be a Youth Survey soon, so that everyone has their chance to makes their views known. We would particularly welcome encouragement for the younger people to have their say. We will be asking children at Knebworth School, those attending the Knebworth Youth Project, plus Scouts and Guides. If anyone has any ideas on how to target the senior school children to take part, we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

With all this going on, we’re appealing for more residents to help us.  If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan, we would very much like to hear from you.  Contact: neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website launches!

Today marks the launch of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan website. Content for the website will be added in the coming days/weeks, so please bear with us while we work on the site. Please contact us if you have suggestions for content you would like to see on the website, or if you have any questions or concerns.

June Update

Unfortunately, initial progress was slow, with many aspects of a Neighbourhood Plan having to be learnt before any action could be taken.

Plans  (by North Herts District Council) for some 700 new homes around the village  would increase the population by over a third. The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) is a rare opportunity to influence the development of the village to make it a sustainable and a pleasant place to live despite the dramatic increase in population, and should not be missed.  Contact:  neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk

The task is to create a plan based on the views of the people of the Parish.  This then has to be passed by an inspector and finally it has to be approved by the residents of Knebworth via a referendum.

The plan enables us to define types of housing to match Knebworth’s needs and can make a requirement for appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the consequences of increased housing.

What we want to achieve is a vision for the future of Knebworth Parish and create a sense of community and a sense of ownership of the village by the residents and businesses.

What have we done already?

  • Established a steering group
  • Surveyed residents on priorities and issues
  • Established six working groups on the top priority areas
  • Undertaken additional surveys
    • Parking
    • Housing needs
  • Held two Open Days and displayed information at the Annual Parish Meeting
  • Noted comments and observations from those attending

What are the working groups?

  • Traffic, Transportation and Parking
  • Local Economy (including Retail, Restaurants and Bars)
  • Environment and Flooding
  • Housing and Character
  • Schools and Education
  • Wellbeing (to include Medical and Public Services)

Why do we need a Neighbourhood Plan and why do we need it now?

  • A Neighbourhood Plan can influence the type of development that should happen in the neighbourhood
  • Under the Localism Act 2017 it has a legal status which must be taken into account by the Planning Authority (NHDC)
  • It can also define certain policies(e.g. design standards) that take precedence over the existing Local Plan policies for the neighbourhood within certain constraints
  • We currently have no roadmap or policies to guide planning decisions that are specific to Knebworth
  • A Neighbourhood Plan is needed now as this is our best chance to have an influence on how the village develops over the next few years.

Let us have your opinions and Get Involved!

  • We are seeking to engage all local stakeholders to do this
    • Residents
    • Community groups
    • Local businesses
    • Landowners
  • We also need more help in developing each work stream

Let us have your opinions and Get Involved!

  • We are seeking to engage all local stakeholders to do this
    • Residents
    • Community groups
    • Local businesses
    • Landowners
  • We also need more help in developing each work stream
  • Please contact us: neighbourhood-plan@knebworthpc.org.uk

Windfall Developments

  • The numbers of proposed houses quoted are simply notional figures
  • They are not targets.
  • Therefore any additional developments do not reduce the proposed number of new dwellings.
  • Additional developments are regarded as ‘windfall’ by NHDC.
  • Including windfall significantly increases the number of new dwellings.

So, what are we doing next?

  • The subject matter groups are in the process of researchinginto various areas identified such as what evidence is readily available such as statistics on traffic flow and population demographics, what we can and can’t define in the Plan and what other people have put in their
  • Ultimately they will be working towards creating policies to go in the Plan

If you would like to help develop the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan and have some expertise in any of the areas covered by the Plan, we would very much like to hear from you.