You may have seen the notices on various posts around Stevenage and Graveley paths. It is nothing to do with threatened houses in the Local Plans for either North Herts or Stevenage. This affects many of the paths on the Stevenage side of the belt of trees and also the route through the churchyard. The notices are about a change of status for some paths and realigning the official route to match the one that everyone walks. It is a result of an application by the British Horse Society. This is just the latest step in a process; people had a chance to protest about a year ago and this is just the ‘is it all legal’ phase. It only affects a tiny bit of Graveley.
The resurfacing of the bridleway to Chesfield has been done at my request, many years ago on behalf of The Ramblers. It has only now got to the top of the list. It will make our walk on Forster's birthday, New Years Day, a little easier.
The trenches near North Road appear to be for archaeological checks. I think this is routine before any major building project as was done before the Baldock bypass. I feel it is premature given the local plan has not been approved but any developer wants to get it out of the way.
At the AGM we launched a new booklet on Forster Country with contributions from some patrons and from our chairman. The Foreword is by Ronald Blyth, acclaimed rural living writer, best known for Akenfield. There are many illustrations, all but historic ones in colour. It was edited by our co-founder Margaret Ashby, herself a patron and recently winner of the CPRE Peterkin Award.
An inspector has now been appointed to examine the SBC Local Plan and Inquiry hearings are within these days (no Mondays) 17-24 Jan, 21-24 Feb & 21-30 March, 2017. The SBC appointed Programme Officer is Louise St John Howe. She can be contacted at SBC if you would like to seek any details.
The Local Plan that was at draft stage in January 2016 and which received many comments from the public has been submitted without amendment. We feel that this is somewhat surprising as we are aware at least of factual inaccuracies.
As reported previously, the Plan does include the effective destruction of Forster Country. We have asked for oral hearings at the Inspection and are preparing our case for the defence. There is discussion going on about employment of a professional lawyer to help us but we have limited funds to fight on a protracted basis.
We remain hopeful that the Inspector will be sympathetic to our position.