Appeals on two separate sites in Hartford, Grange Farm and Hollis Farm, were combined for the purposes of the Appeal. The proposals consisted of a total of 650 residential properties across the two sites. The farmhouse building proposal, including conversion to class D1 use such as a doctor’s surgery or a residential use, and a community green and public car park will be provided as part of the Grange Farm site scheme for the local community.
The scheme will provide a range of much needed new market and affordable homes within walking distance of Hartford’s wide choice of local schools. Fundamentally, both schemes will provide travel planning management and infrastructure to make a step change in the way local people travel.
Vectos was commissioned to provide expert witness evidence at the conjoined Planning Inquiry. Both sites had been refused on grounds of traffic impact. As well as the objection from the local highway authority, a well organised pressure group was also represented at the Inquiry.
Vectos’ approach was to present the importance of masterplanning, community and travel choice, all ahead of peak period traffic congestion. It was to make the case that it is not the purpose of planning policy to protect the convenience of car commuters. This chimed with the Inspectors’ interpretation of policy, endorsed by the Secretary of State.
We worked with the local schools, the Canals & Rivers Trust and Network Rail to provide meaningful travel plan management schemes, and hard infrastructure. We did not promote any capacity improvements to the local highway network, despite noticeable driver inconvenience at peak times.
The Inspector agreed with us that our proposals would not just provide for the new residents, but also improve choice and hence reduce car demand, amongst existing residents.