Frequently Asked Questions
Requirement for an informal leisure route, Stortford Fields
The supporting documents submitted with the original planning permission for Stortford Fields granted in 2015 (ref. 3/13/0804/OP) made reference to the inclusion of a “leisure route”, which would form a link between Hadham Road in the west and Farnham Bourne Park in the east. This was secured more formally later in the Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Management Plan (GIBMP) which was approved in April 2019 (ref. X/18/0239/CND). Note the GIBMP was submitted as a discharge of condition application. The Council is not required to consult on these types of applications.
The GIBMP makes reference to the leisure route as follows:
A new informal recreational route is provided along the length of this corridor, forming a link between Hadham Road in the west and Farnham Bourne Park in the east. As well as grassed areas along the foot of the perimeter mounding, the route will incorporate the proposed Green Lanes, and or Private Drives, that extend around the western edge of the development, so that the corridor is a safe and useable space.
A cross-section was included, with the position of the route shown such that it clearly made use of the proposed Green Lanes.
Whilst the GIBMP sets out the strategy for landscaping the various areas of public realm, taking into account their location and purpose, it is for the landscaping drawings to show in detail how the strategy will be implemented.
To allow the implementation of the leisure route in accordance with the GIBMP, a non-material amendment application (3/22/2355/NMA) was submitted showing the line of the route in detail on the landscaping drawings. It shows how obstructions on the Green Lanes would be avoided by constructing paths around them. The paths are 2m wide and of an informal design comprising wooden edging and a surface of self-binding gravel or slate chippings where drainage is required. It should be good for all seasons, whilst being appropriate next to the planted area. The Council does not consult on NMA applications, which are not material changes in planning terms. In this case the principle of the leisure route is long-established, and the design and construction of low impact.
It should be emphasised that what is not proposed is a 3m wide and asphalt topped cycleway of the kind that form a network elsewhere in Stortford Fields, providing an alternative to the use of cars and buses. It is a leisure route, which will attract walkers and joggers, although cycling will not be prevented.