Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society

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Views of Wheathampstead

About the Preservation Society

Diamond Jubilee Garden and Wheathampstead Mill
Diamond Jubilee Garden and Wheathampstead Mill

 

WDPS’s Aims and Objectives

 
 
 
Stated simply, WDPS's objectives are to
  • preserve and improve the environment and
  • oppose inappropriate development

 

in Wheathampstead and the surrounding area. However, it is not our intention to “preserve” the village and its environs in their existing state, but rather to conserve what is best about Wheathampstead. We accept that there has to be change and that some change is inevitable. WDPS’s aim is to try to ensure that change is managed in the best interests of Wheathampstead as a whole, and that unacceptable developments are not forced on the village against its wishes.

 
To this end, we try to work with, rather than against, the appropriate authorities and organisations - notably the Parish Council and the Countryside Management Service.
 
 
Specifically, the aims and objectives as stated in our constitution are:
  • Preserve and enhance the environment of the village and the surrounding area
  • Promote traditional village enterprises and promote community cohesion
  • Promote employment opportunities within new and existing rural businesses
  • Raise awareness and encourage pride in our village and the surrounding area
  • Oppose inappropriate development within the village and surrounding district.  
  •  
     
     In practice the activities on which WDPS concentrates can be summarised as:
    1. opportunities to improve or make better use of the village's many assets
    2. reviewing planning applications and objecting to any inappropriate development
    3. reacting to external threats to the village
    4. taking part, along with other local organisations, in community-wide initiatives
    5. encouraging energy conservation.

     

     
    What WDPS does 
     

    Opening of the Diamond Jubilee Garden
    Opening of the Diamond Jubilee Garden

    1. Improving the village and making better use of its assets

     

    WDPS seeks to

    • to identify opportunities to improve the village or make better use of its many assets
    • to undertake whatever is necessary to make that happen
    • afterwards to carry out any necessary maintenance.

     

     

    Red Phone Box in the High Street
    Red Phone Box in the High Street

    Examples are:

    • development of the Diamond Jubilee Garden across the River Lea from the Bull
    • maintenance of the Diamond Jubilee Garden
    • development of Bury Green Garden at the junction of Bury Green and Old Rectory Gardens
    • the installation of the red phone box in the High Street
    • the installation of the Community Notice Board outside Tesco
    • recommendations for tighter standards for signage in the village
    • regular cleaning of traffic and similar signs which would otherwise be left dirty and difficult to read
    • annual bulb planting at key locations to enhance the appearance of the village.


     

    Planning Application Notice

     
     
     
    2. Reviewing Planning Applications
     
     
     
    Opposing inappropriate development in the area means that WDPS gets involved in land-use planning matters when necessary.
     
     
    We usually react to planning applications which, in our view, affect Wheathampstead as a whole or have a significant impact on part of it.
     
     
    Wheathampstead is a large village set in the Metropolitan Green Belt. The central part of the village is designated as a Conservation Area. We therefore pay particular attention to development proposals:   
     
     
     
    • which may be regarded as inappropriate in the Green Belt or
    • which have a detrimental effect on the Conservation Area or important statutorily listed buildings
    • which, in our view, would significantly damage the architectural, historical and archaeological inheritance of the area.
     
    We do not get involved in relatively minor planning applications which affect only the immediate neighbours or which, in our opinion, do not have a significant impact on the village as a whole or an important part of it. It is not our role to comment on every planning application in the parish of Wheathampstead: that is a matter for the Parish Council. 

    More information about how the planning process works

     
     
     

    Aircraft takes off from Luton Airport

     3. Reacting to external threats to Wheathampstead
     
    Wheathampstead and the surrounding district may be under threat not merely from inappropriate development within the area but from external developments that could adversely affect the village.  WDPS seeks to identify these dangers and to oppose them.
     
    Examples in recent years have been:
    • proposals to increase the capacity of Luton Airport, which could cause more aircraft noise and would almost certainly increase the volume of road traffic in Wheathampstead
    • proposals to change air traffic routes which would result in increased aircraft noise in Wheathampstead
    • road traffic issues affecting Wheathampstead (and in particular Lower Luton Road)
    • suggestions that the area covered by the Green Belt should be altered
    • the St Albans’ Strategic Local Plan
    • proposals to develop a new village at Simonshyde. 

    Launch of Wheathampstead Heritage Trail
    Launch of Wheathampstead Heritage Trail

      

    4. Involvement in community initiatives

     

     
    WDPS frequently partners other local organisations. 
     
     
    These include Wheathampstead Parish Council, Wheathampstead Business Group (WEB), Countryside Management Services and Wheathampstead History Society.
     
      
    Examples of joint ventures and of taking part in community initiatives are:
     
     
     
    • Wheathampstead Heritage Trail (with the Parish Council and WEB)
    • 'Wheathampstead's War' evening (with the History Society)
    • Village Day, when each year WDPS has its own stall.


    Transition Streets

     
     
     5. Encouraging energy conservation
     
     
     
     
    Examples are:
     
     
    • monitoring energy consumption statistics for the four local census areas within Wheathampstead
    • in association with Transition St Albans, introducing the “Transition” movement to Wheathampstead to address how the village, along with the rest of the world, will react to
      • the fact that in future there will be less oil, and we shall have to cut back on how much we use
      • climate change
    • introducing Transition Streets to Wheathampstead: a way to bring neighbours together to cut their household bills and their carbon footprint by taking practical action.

    Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society

     

    The Members of the Committee

    The Committee is responsible for determining the strategic direction that WDPS takes.  The current members of the Committee are:


    Julie Bell

    Chair

    Nigel Oxley

    Vice-Chair

    Linda Halford

    Treasurer and Membership Secretary

    Richard Brett

    Secretary

    Jean Curant

     

     Sarah Millac

     

     Kate Fotherby

     

    Sue Hemming

     

    WDPS
    Church Street from St Helen's Churchyard
    Church Street from St Helen's Churchyard
     
     
      
    Formation of WDPS
     
    Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society was formed in 1995 with the immediate objective of opposing the proposal by Sainsbury’s to build a superstore and petrol station on the former Murphy’s Chemicals site on the edge of the village.
     
    WDPS took the view that the proposed store was too big (22,000 square feet) for a village the size of Wheathampstead, and was effectively an ‘out of town’ superstore that would have attracted custom and traffic from a much wider area. It would also have affected the viability of existing shops and businesses in the village centre. Following a public planning inquiry in 1996, the application was refused by the Secretary of State. The site has since been redeveloped for housing.
     
    The next major campaign for the Society was to fight the proposal by Redlands (now Lafarge Aggregates) in association with Hertfordshire County Council and the Groundwork Trust (now Groundwork Hertfordshire) to re-open Blackbridge Tip, on the outskirts of the village.
     

    Click here to read more about the Blackbridge Tip campaign.

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    Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society
    Email: info@wheathampsteadpreservation.org.uk