20-acre field owner to appeal
Report by Laurel Smithson of the Welwyn Hatfield Times
(Reproduced courtesy of the Welwyn Hatfield Times)
The determined man behind plans for an eco-friendly country house has vowed to appeal.
Applicant Neil Bedford from Water End, who has had his proposal rejected twice in two years, feels his revised plans have been ignored by councillors.
He told the WHT after the meeting: "There were 22 pages of the committee report recommending approval, but it seemed like most of the members ignored it.
"There was a lot of pressure put on them to vote a certain way from outside councillors.
"It's totally wrong and it's so frustrating after thousands of hours of work."
He added: "It seemed like a done deal, but I will go to appeal."
As well as addresses from councillors, a prepared amendment to reject the application was also read out.
The 20-acre field property, which Mr Bedford said has already gained interest from TV stations and national press, would generate its own water, electricity and heating.
Originally rejected in 2004, the surrounding four small fields in the plan would be landscaped to keep rare breed cattle and sheep.
Mr Bedford said the fact a farm house was on the site until the 1800s - long before many of the houses in Brookmans Park - should strengthen his case.
However, despite 84 letters of support and central government backing, Mr Bedford faced 77 letters of objection.
Council leader John Dean denied he was at Thursday's planning meeting to put pressure on, but merely to represent his ward members.
Councillor Dean said: "Council policy is very firm on this - we do not want to see development in Green Belt.
"Residents write to me because I am their councillor. I am pleased with the way members voted."
He said council officers were acting on the advice from central government, but were aware of the strong opposition from some councillors and that it was not a done deal.
Note: This article is the copyright of the Welwyn Hatfield Times and is reproduced with the paper's permission. The original article can be found by clicking here. Last week this site carried the other side of this story in an article written by parish councillor and member of the North Mymms District Green Belt Society, Bob Horrocks. Click here for his report. You can discuss this issue in this site’s forum.
12 April 2006
Green belt country house rejected - 6 April 2006
Opposition to country house urged - 3 April 2006
Country house rejected by council - 29 July 2004
Letters set out green belt concerns - 2 January 2004
Country house proposed on green belt land - 29 December 2003
Friday Grove letter from NMDGBS - 29 December 2003
Council handed second greenbelt petition - 23 July 2003
Council to be handed second greenbelt petition - 22 July 2003
Green belt petition handed to council - 17 June 2003
Green belt letter to council - 17 June 2003
Opposition to green belt changes grows - 8 June 2003
Green belt update meeting planned - 29 May 2003
Politicians back green belt campaign - 22 May 2003
Green belt proposal opposed - 20 May 2003