Update on Church Road land plots

You will be aware that the land fronting Church Road directly, was split into 17 plots running from the plot 1, adjacent to the carpark next to the Bowls Club, to Plot 17 directly opposite the Church.

The land behind Plots 1 to 17 i.e. behind the hedge/tree line was split into plots A to Q. with A being behind plot 1 and  Q being at the Church end.

We received an initial application consultation on Plot 7 for residential development. So many people in the village objected that the application was withdrawn by the applicant before being considered by Dacorum.

We received an application consultation on Plot 17 for replacement fencing and path realignment and a new vehicular access. This was refused by Dacorum. The applicant appealed and the Planning Inspector agreed with Dacorum and also refused to allow replacement fencing to be erected where historically it had been present.

We now have a person in occupation of Plots 5 & 6, keeping some chickens and goats there and taking down the fence on the roadside for access. He says he is the owner of Plots 5 & 6 and Plots E & F (that back onto 5 & 6). He has not shown proof of ownership and we cannot be certain who owns what yet because the Land Registry are still in the process of registering titles to sold plots.

The Parish Council have reported breaches of planning to Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) who are the planning enforcement authority.  DBC will be serving an enforcement notice on the occupant to ensure that breaches do not occur, letting him know what is permitted on the land and what is not.

Once additional plot owners are identified that information will be shared with them. The Parish Council intends to put up a noticeboard in the vicinity of Church Road containing the same information.

The Parish Council with the help of residents are monitoring the activity and will continue to use the Enforcement Officers at DBC to take the necessary action. The Lead Enforcement Officer has already been to site, he was the one who has assisted in protecting the land with the Article 4 Direction and with the Tree Preservation Orders. The Article 4 Direction was imposed as a measure to prevent uses of the land that in normal circumstances are permitted without planning applications. These matters are, creation of a new access, erection of fencing & temporary uses of the land. None of these activities can be carried out on the Church Road plots without approval through a formal planning application due to the imposition of this Article 4 direction.

Planning is a civil matter and the Police will not want to be involved unless there is any criminal activity.

The next Parish Council meeting is on Monday 2nd August and it will held in the Village Hall at 8pm. This matter will be discussed at that meeting.