Local Plan – Observations on Infrastructure and related issues

Background

With regard to the infrastructure needed for any new developments that are eventually approved, the WHBC Chief Planning Officer has indicated that whereas it is “hoped” that infrastructure would be in place, the responsibility for much of this would be down to the developers.

But we observe that much recent development around Welwyn has not supplied any accompanying infrastructure improvement at all. Indeed. some of those developments have explicitly exacerbated infrastructure strains, through insufficient off-street parking leading to substantial overflow on-street parking that blocks traffic flows and clogs
junctions.

Highways

Lack of co-ordination with the County Council, particularly regarding County Highways, has also been a feature of much recent development. WPAG are unaware of any plans to address the congestion at the Clock roundabout, other than a reliance on a future Smart A1(M).

County Highways’ plans to reduce on-street parking within Welwyn will work against encouraging an increasing population to use the local shops, and there are no plans announced to manage increased congestion along Welwyn High Street, the B656 Codicote Road, and the B197 Oaklands/Knebworth/Stevenage roads.

Infrastructure and Planning

WPAG believe that the WHBC planners should make it a condition of granting planning, that all infrastructures are put in place in ‘Phase One’ of any large building development.

Only once completed could the next phase of the development progress. This would, hopefully avoid the possibility of any developer not providing the necessary infrastructure.

Another condition of any development should be full enforcement of affordable and social housing obligations, because too many recent developments have been allowed to water down their commitments in these areas.

Any envisaged developments should be sympathetic in style to the nature of Welwyn’s village and surrounding settlements, and also not add to parking or traffic problems.

Heritage – Singlers Marsh

WHBC should guarantee the long term integrity of Singlers Marsh through reassignment of its protected status and, if necessary, its ownership.

(The above edited report was based on papers prepared by Sandra Kyriakides and Russell Haggar).

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