Fears new homes will turn 'Herts into London'
PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 November 2018
Proposals to build new homes in Potters Bar as part of Hertsmere's Local Plan have met with mixed reactions from residents.
Hertsmere Borough Council is gathering feedback on potential sites for housing and employment until Thursday, December 20, with the aim to build 500 new homes in Hertsmere each year for the next 15 years.
In Potters Bar, four sites with the potential to provide more than 250 homes are being considered - land west of Dugdale Hill and Baker Street, land north west of The Avenue (Potters Bar Golf Course), land south of Oakroyd Avenue and west of Barnet Road, and land south of Park Avenue and east of Southgate Road.
The land west of Dugdale Avenue is currently open fields and farm buildings, and the council is proposing turning it into a residential development with the potential capacity of 1,300 homes. The proposal includes a new local centre and a primary school, but there are concerns about the limited bus services in the area and the impact of noise from the M25.
The current golf course site would be changed to a residential development with the potential for 570 homes, while retaining a nine-hole golf course. The new homes would include both flats and family housing, and would be served by existing bus services, doctors surgeries and schools.
Challenges and constraints include the increase in traffic on Darkes Lane from the development, and the loss of Green Belt land.
The land south of Oakroyd Avenue is currently rural land between Potters Bar and the M25, but would be turned into a development of 880 homes with a primary school and sports and leisure facilities.
This development would also provide both flats and family housing, but would be potentially constrained by the need for increased GP provision and the impact on local highways.
Finally, the land south of Park Avenue is being considered for a residential development with 440 homes. This would provide a mix of housing for the community, but would be difficult to access via Southgate Road due to its proximity to an M25 junction.
Some residents expressed concerns that the new homes would cause overcrowding in the town. Steve Hobbs said: “We live on a small island with a growing population - if the infrastructure is proven to be in place prior to any permission being granted it would be different, but we all know it’s just a formality.”
Colin Shepherdski said: “The traffic is horrendous now, doctors overwhelmed. I’ve been a Potters Bar resident since 1953. Maybe time to move elsewhere - such a shame.”
Residents also objected to building homes on Green Belt land. Mark Ward said: “Green Belt land is just that for a reason, so leave it alone. Once they start building on what was meant to be London’s fresh air they won’t stop.”
Kim Webb said: “It’s already a nightmare in the morning getting out of Baker Street into Dancers Hill Road. The whole infrastructure will fall apart.
“There’s a lack of school places already. It’s just turning Hertfordshire into London.”
Many residents believe that Potters Bar does not have the necessary infrastucture to accommodate new housing. Bev Dewberry said: “They will build the houses and plonk people in with no regard whatsoever for any infrastucture”, while Len Biggs said: “I don’t think any of the roads around where they’re going to build will be big enough for the traffic.”
However some residents acknowledged that Potters Bar is in need of new housing to support an increasing population.
Lynette Sullivan said: “We do need more housing. We have an ageing population who are staying in their homes longer. We need to encourage a working population to live in the area, use our shops and resources.”
Chris Cook said: “Somehow we have to have more housing - a basic human need let’s face it - and have people nearby to service an ageing population - they can’t commute from up North.
“Also in the plan is to create 9,000 jobs so benefitting the local economy.”
A public exhibition on the Local Plan will be held at the Wyllyots Centre in Potters Bar on Tuesday, November 13, and residents are welcome to drop in any time between 4pm and 8pm.
Residents can also give their views on the proposals until midnight on Thursday, December 20 at https://hertsmere-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/ before the draft plan is submitted to the planning inspectorate.