WPAG Website is Launched

Dear Member

In my first Chairman’s Report in October 2012, I stated my aim to give members of WPAG better value for their annual subscription. At the AGM members then responded positively and asked that your Committee does more to involve the membership in the broad debate on key planning issues.  We agreed to respond by finding ways of sharing, with you, much of the data and information that Committee members acquire.

I am pleased therefore to announce that we have now created this website which we will use as the primary tool for achieving these objectives. We hope very much that you will like this website, and use it.

Our new website is still at an early stage of development, but as you look around it, you will see that it already holds useful information. Alongside news items, the aim is to provide you with a convenient method for finding things out for yourself, so that as a member of WPAG you will a) be better informed on planning matters, and b) be able to use the website and join in the debate on live issues, with an appropriate Committee member.

The ‘Links‘ Page will take you to appropriate external websites, and we will gradually build up a ‘knowledge base‘ of our own, initially created by a series of articles entitled – ‘What is..’, or ‘What does..’.

We want your comments!  – It is important for all of us that when you have had a chance to look around the new website, you complete the ‘Comment’ boxes provided on many of the pages, so that we can be sure that you are happy with the form, shape, and style of the website, and that it reflects your wishes and aspirations as an existing member of WPAG. We hope it is self-evident that this website should place us in a stronger position to attract a new audience, and strengthen the WPAG membership for the future.

One final point to note. Although currently accessible by the general public,  ultimately www.wpag.org.uk will be a ‘Members Only’ site, but with a public face to encourage wider interest and applications to join WPAG . However, it will remain ‘public’ until the majority of those WPAG members who have email addresses, ‘subscribe’ (see below), and do become users. When that happens, we will introduce a ‘sign-on’ routine so that parts of the site will be accessible exclusively for paid-up members of WPAG only.

You can subscribe now, if you wish to, but we will soon be sending an email to members with an invitation to subscribe.

With thanks for your continuing interest and support.

John Roper

30th November 2012

New Barnfield – Action Delayed

Hatfield energy-from-waste scheme on hold

The Planning Portal reports on 22nd November 2012 that the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has issued a holding instruction preventing any further action by Hertfordshire County Council over an energy-from-waste scheme at Hatfield, while the minister considers whether to intervene.

What is/are – Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted Development Rights

The Government’s Planning Portal guide details the certain types of minor changes that can be made to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called Permitted Development Rights.  They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. If you live in a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas.

There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.

To learn more about the detail of what is, or is not, click here, Permitted Development Rights, or go to the Government Planning Portal on the Links page for information on a wide range of planning related subjects.

What is – a Local Development Framework (LDF)?

Planning involves making decisions about the future of our cities, towns and countryside. This is vital to balance our desire to develop the areas where we live and work with ensuring the surrounding environment isn’t negatively affected for everyone. It includes considering the sustainable needs of future communities.

The planning system in England requires each local planning authority to prepare a local development framework – a folder of documents outlining how planning will be managed for that area.

In determining planning applications, local planning authorities  must have regard to their LDF.

Go to the WHBC LDF site for local details.

Go to the Planning Portal (Links Page) to learn more about the plan-led system.


What is – National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)?

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework was published on 27 March 2012. This is a key part of Government reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, to protect the environment and to promote sustainable growth.

Visit the Planning Portal to get up-to-date with current planning principles.

Go to the Links page for the Planning Portal, to learn more about the planning system in England, including information about planning permission and how you can get involved in local decision making.

Planning the future of Welwyn Hatfield – Emerging Core Strategy 2012 Consultation

The Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is carrying out public consultation on the Emerging Core Strategy from Monday 12 November 2012 to Friday 18 January 2013

The Emerging Core Strategy sets out the council’s preferred strategy for planning in the borough over the next 15 years and if adopted will be the key planning document in the Local Plan.

The Emerging Core Strategy and accompanying documents and the list of consultation events are now available to view online at www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan2012.

The evidence base for these documents is available to view online at http://www.welhat.gov.uk/evidencebase.

As discussed at the WPAG AGM in October 2012 we plan to undertake tripartite discussion and debate with the Welwyn Parish Council, and the Welwyn Parish Plan Action Group, and respond in conjunction with them.

The necessary arrangements have been put in place we will hope to keep you up-to-date with our progress.

In the meantime, please take the time to read through the salient points in the WHBC documents whose links are given above, and let us have your comment in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below, in good time. Thanks.

Neighbourhood Plans – A Tactical Dilemma

Neighbourhood Plans – a tactical dilemma

The following article by Jon Green was addressed to ANTAS members, and recently published in their Newsletter

With the increasing interest in exploring the pros and cons of pursuing a Neighbourhood Plan a tactical question will soon arise in the civil parish of Welwyn , which spreads over three  physically separate settlements, linked administratively but with distinctly different characters.

The question will be whether to develop smaller and localised Neighbourhood Plans for each settlement which would perhaps bring greater community involvement in preference to a ‘composite’ Plan for the entire parish, which might appear more logical to our Borough Council but risk a weaker identity across our disparate community.

Practical issues such as the attitude of our local authority and the costs of preparation and implementation are clearly likely to be the determining factors, but it will be helpful to learn the views and better still the experience of members who have faced a similar quandary.

Jon Green

2011 Chairman’s Annual Report


A.G.M.    5/10/11    –     CHAIRMAN’S REPORT


          On behalf of the committee a warm welcome to this the 37th Annual General Meeting of Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group.

To explain the reason for a somewhat less intimate venue, the Parish Offices, which we have used for many years is no longer available for public hire following some internal alterations.

As usual I will start with some background to our past 12 months work

2010/11 – A Year of Change with more to come

The dominant feature of the past year has been to keep abreast of the potential effects of new policies and legislation on development planning. Continue reading

2012 Chairman’s Annual Report




This is a departure from normal procedures, in that I am publishing my Annual Report in advance of the AGM. My purpose is to explain how I want to change the way we operate as a Group, and change the structure of your Committee accordingly.

I hope that by so doing you will be encouraged to attend the AGM, and be better prepared not only to comment and criticise (in fair measure I hope), but above all, be prepared to contribute to the debate. My aim as we go forward is that your Committee will not only carry your agreed views with us, but will also start to provide you, members of the Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group, with a better service based upon the provision of selected information which we know will be of interest to you, and perhaps encourage your greater involvement.

That is not to say that the WPAG hasn’t achieved considerable success in the past – we have – but I feel that in return for your Annual Subscription, the Committee should offer a service which better matches the modern lifestyles of our members, including the regular provision of pertinent information online, for those of you who wish to receive it; information on a wide spread of matters covering such broad issues as planning, transportation, environment, community safety and so on.

Some of these issues might not affect Welwyn directly, such as
developments at Luton Airport, or the introduction of Incineration Units in the locality, but these are issues which I feel you as members will have views on, and which you might wish us to express collectively as a body of influence. Continue reading