Knebworth Parish Plan 2007

From Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan


Welcome to Knebworth

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Lytton family promoted the development of “Knebworth Garden Village”, designed by the pre-eminent architect of the day, Edwin Lutyens, who was married to Emily Lytton.

In 1908 Charles Lowe bought plots 198 and 199 for £75 and plots 202 and 203 for £139. The Garden Village scheme was interrupted by the First World War.

In the 1940s Knebworth was considered as the site for a “New Town”, but with the two railway lines converging north of the village it transpired that Stevenage was chosen instead.

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s Knebworth Park earned a worldwide reputation as the most prestigious rock music venue in Britain. In August 2003, it hosted the largest music event in British history when Robbie Williams played to 375,000 people over three days.


OUR ENVIRONMENT:

The Parish of Knebworth lies to the south west of Stevenage and covers approx. 2,600 acres of Hertfordshire countryside stretching between Rye End in the west to Bragbury Lane in the east and Norton Green in the north. A few houses on the southern tip of the village are actually outside the parish boundary in the adjoining parish of Woolmer Green.

The A1(M) passes through the parish with the original settlement of Old Knebworth to the west of the motorway and the newer (mainly 20th century) part of the village, known as Knebworth (but referred to as ‘Knebworth Village’ for the purposes of this document) to the east.

Still rural in its character, much of the parish countryside is arable farmland and mixed woodland and is designated Green Belt. Knebworth Park and Estate covers a large area in the western part of the parish and Knebworth Golf Club nestles in the valley between Knebworth and Stevenage. One large field is now all that separates the north-east of the village from the neighbouring town of Stevenage.

OUR ECONOMY:

With its fast rail services to London, Knebworth is a popular commuter base and also offers easy access to jobs in Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. Over 50 small and medium sized businesses operate from the parish and they attract inward bound commuters and provide employment for village residents. Employers include Chas Lowe Builder’s Merchants, the Co-op, Odyssey Health and Fitness, Hamilton Billiard and Games Company and Knebworth Park/Lytton Enterprises.

Knebworth Park has an international reputation as a venue for rock concerts and the House is famed for its stunning gothic architecture and beautiful gardens. The venue attracts thousands of visitors to the area each year and offers casual work for local youngsters and retirees. Surprisingly there are few hotels and guest houses in the parish.

Despite its rural character, local farms employ very few staff but overall unemployment in the parish is relatively low.

OUR HERITAGE:

The parish boasts a rich heritage which includes the historic Knebworth House and Country Park, numerous Lutyens designed buildings including St Martin’s Church, Homewood and Knebworth Golf Club House, countless listed buildings, three Conservation Areas, various Sites of Special Scientific Interest, an Area of Archaeological Significance, cultural links with Edward Bulwer Lytton and Charles Dickens and an important place in the history of pop music.

1st Edition / April 2007 Knebworth Parish Plan Page 2

Contents

WELCOME TO KNEBWORTH…………………………………………………... 1

FOREWORD……………………………………………………………………….. 4

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………... 5

PRIORITIES & IDEAS…………………………………………………………….. 6

AIMS OF THE PARISH PLAN………………………………………………….... 7

THE PARISH PLAN PROCESS…………………………………………………. 9

RESULTS OF THE COMMUNITY SURVEY…………………………………… 10

SECTION 1 – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT………………………………… 14

1.1 COMMUNITY SPIRIT 16

1.2 COMMUNICATIONS 17

1.3 VOLUNTARY GROUPS & CHURCHES 17

1.4 SPORT & LEISURE 18 1.5 YOUNG PEOPLE 19

SECTION 2 – SCHOOLS AND LIBRARY……………………………………... 20

2.1 PRE-SCHOOLS AND NURSERIES 22

2.2 PRIMARY SCHOOL 22

2.3 SECONDARY SCHOOLS 23

2.4 LIBRARY 24

SECTION 3 – COMMUNITY CARE AND SAFETY…………………………… 26

3.1 CRIME AND POLICING 28

3.2 GP SERVICES 29

3.3 DISABLED AND ELDERLY 30

SECTION 4 – TRAFFIC, TRANSPORT AND PARKING…………………….. 32

4.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 34

4.1 ACTION AREA 1 – “High Street”/London Road and Side Roads 40

4.2 ACTION AREA 2 – Railway Station, Station Rd Bridge & Surr. Areas 42

4.3 ACTION AREA 3 – Safety, Speeding and Rat Runs 44

4.4 ACTION AREA 4 – Public/Community Transport, Walking & Cycling 46

SECTION 5 – LOCAL ECONOMY……………………………………………… 48

5.1 LOCAL SERVICES 50

5.2 SHOPS AND BUSINESSES 50 5.3 TOURISM AND KNEBWORTH HOUSE 52

SECTION 6 – ENVIRONMENT AND HOUSING……………………………… 54

6.1 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 56

6.2 COUNTRYSIDE 59

6.3 HOUSING 61

6.4 CHARACTER AND HERITAGE 63 6.5 MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC AREAS 64

STREET MAPS AND AERIAL PHOTO………………………………………… 65

FINANCIAL REPORT………….……………….............................................. 68

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………….. 68

Edition / April 2007 Knebworth Parish Plan

Foreword

File:Media/image10.jpg

The aim of the Parish Plan is to improve the social, economic and environmental well-

being of the parish of Knebworth in line with the wishes of the parish community.

A copy of this first edition of the Parish Plan is being delivered to all households, businesses and organisations based in the Parish of Knebworth to give everyone the opportunity to comment so that community views can be reflected in future updates.

The 2004/5 community consultation exercise and subsequent research generated hundreds of

comments, concerns and ideas. Of necessity, this edition is rather lengthy in order to do justice to the community’s input and to adequately explain some of the complex issues facing

our parish.

We sincerely hope that you will take the time to read those sections which may be of interest

to you and then to tell us what you think. You can HAVE YOUR SAY by returning the COMMENTS FORM included inside the back cover of this booklet or by logging on to

www.knebworthparishplan.org.

Knebworth Parish Council intends to adopt the ‘Aims’ of the Knebworth Parish Plan as set out on pages 7 and 8. It will use its best endeavours to deliver these ‘Aims’ and to facilitate

implementation of the ‘Suggested Action Plans’ with the support of the parish community and

subject to feasibility and funding.

It should be noted that there is no provision within the current Parish Council budget to cover Parish Plan expenditure and it is expected that fundraising activities and grant support will be needed to fund those projects which would not normally be covered by the Parish Precept. At

this stage, funding sources have not been identified and with so many possible projects

competing for financial support, it is inevitable that viability will be limited according to the

availability of funds.

During the three years it has taken to prepare the Parish Plan, some of the ideas and projects included in the Action Plans have already been initiated and the Parish Council has been

progressing those matters which form part of its general remit.

The Parish Council comprises 12 elected councillors (volunteers) and one paid part-time

Clerk. Realistically, we do not have the resources or the powers to implement the whole

Parish Plan single handed. However, we do have considerable influence and local expertise

and, working in partnership with the community and local authorities, we believe that the Parish Plan will make a positive contribution to the well-being of our community and help

guide its future development.

John Bantick

Chairman, Knebworth Parish Council

For further information about Knebworth Parish Council please contact the Parish Clerk on 01438 813795

Edition / April 2007 Knebworth Parish Plan

Introduction

Parish Plans were introduced in the Government’s ‘Rural White Paper’ back in 2000 as a means of supporting rural communities in developing a framework to plan and influence their own future. At the instigation of Knebworth Parish Council, a team of volunteers (the Parish Plan Team) was set up in December 2003 with the task of producing the Knebworth Parish Plan. This document is the results of their findings following an extensive consultation exercise which included a Community Survey delivered to all homes in September 2004. Focus Groups were then formed to carry out research and consider feasibility with a view to preparing a plan of action for tackling the various issues. These action plans have been consolidated into this single document.

The Suggested Action Plans seek to represent the wishes and ideas of the community. They are not intended as a strict programme of works but do provide a flexible strategy to show what should be targeted and what could be achieved if the necessary will and resources are available. It is hoped that the Parish Plan will provide a clear agenda to help organisations work together for the benefit of the parish community. It will be used both as a working document to help drive change and as a reference document to influence policy with the Parish Council, local authorities, service providers and statutory bodies.

The Parish Plan covers a 5 year period although some long term projects will extend beyond this period. Inevitably the plan will need to be adapted as circumstances change and new challenges arise and it will be updated on a regular basis.

It should be noted that the Plan has been prepared by volunteers and is not a professional report. Clearly, expert opinion and professional advice will be needed to gauge the feasibility of some of the more major projects together with support and consent from relevant authorities. Above all, the success of the implementation program will be dependent on the active support of community members and the influence of politicians and key decision makers.

The Parish Council hopes to set up Volunteer Action Groups to tackle some of the projects and help with fundraising - all parish residents, businesses, organisations and other community members are welcome to get involved! Please speak to any member of the Parish Plan Team for more information.

The Parish Plan Team
Telephone Number (01438)
The Parish Plan Team
Telephone Number (01438)
Linda Brookes (Chair)
812168
Jason Reeves (Secretary)
226911
Alan Montgomery (Treasurer)
811076
John Catt
233919
Henry Cobbold
814150
Ian Gilmore (Parish Council)
814059
Barry Hall (Parish Council)
233919
Robin Wordsworth
812151

HAVE YOUR SAY!

It is expected that community members will have differing views on some of the suggestions included within this first edition of the Parish Plan and a Comments Form has been included at the back of this booklet to allow feedback. There will be a collection box at the Library for your Comment Forms.

You can also have your say on-line via the Parish Plan website at www.knebworthparishplan.org or you can write direct to the Parish Plan Team, c/o Knebworth Village Hall, Park Lane, Knebworth, SG3 6PD.

Please submit responses by Friday 1st June 2007.

This booklet can be recycled with your newspapers or returned to the collection box in the Library before 1st June.

Edition / April 2007 Knebworth Parish Plan

Priorities & Ideas

PRIORITIES

The results of the September 2004 Community Survey (see pages 10-13) were not professionally analysed but it was evident from the findings that, in addition to the balance of Yes/No responses, the number and nature of Written Comments relating to a particular topic gave a good indication of the strength of feeling and relative importance of the issues. Over 6,000 Written Comments were recorded (anonymously) and analysed.

TOP TEN ISSUES FROM COMMUNITY SURVEY:
URGENT
  • Traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and parking
  • The future of Chas Lowe builder’s yard
  • Crime, antisocial behaviour and policing

HIGH

  • Maintain and improve local shops and services (especially the GP surgery, post office and library)
  • Improve communications with and support for the teenage community
  • More community events such as the fete/festival (and volunteers to help organise such events)
  • Protect local countryside and village character and avoid coalescence with Stevenage
  • Improve railway station facilities and ticket office opening hours
  • Concern about primary school places and secondary school provision
  • Improve news coverage and village wide communications
OTHER ISSUES:
Discussions with village businesses highlighted particular concerns about:
  • Traffic and Parking,
  • Crime/antisocial behaviour
  • The ‘Chas Lowe effect’
  • Need to improve communications with the Parish Council
A meeting with 40 teenagers collected opinions in a variety of ways - most of them seemed to like living in Knebworth and their Wish List included:
  • Better communications between teenagers and the rest of the community
  • Somewhere to hang out without disturbing neighbours, including more open sessions at the Pavilion.
  • Digital projector for film nights and music/sport channels at the Pavilion
  • More community events like the fete and street parties
  • Some improvements in the recreation grounds including benches, lighting, shelters and sports facilities
  • Many had fond memories of the Primary School and wanted more involvement
  • Need to improve image, especially with senior members of community

IDEAS

Some of the many suggestions and ideas collected through the Community Survey and at meetings included:

* New Health Centre
  • Disabled access to station
  • Increased CCTV coverage
  • Indoor Sports/Community Centre
  • Parish Hopper Bus
  • Teenage drop-in sessions at the Pavilion
  • Free village wide newsletter
  • A Community Events Notice Board
* Reduced entry charges for parish residents visiting Knebworth House
  • Village Volunteer Recruitment Service
  • Village Green/Plaza
  • Relocate Lowe’s yard on land south of the village
  • Not to mention countless calls for the return of a village bobby!

Edition / April 2007 Knebworth Parish Plan

Aims of the Parish Plan

AIMS

Taking into account the results of the Community Survey and the findings of the Focus Group research, the following aims have emerged - see Suggested Action Plans for explanations.

Ref
TOPIC
AIMS
OVERALL AIM
To improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the parish of Knebworth in line with the wishes of the parish community.
1.0
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
1.1
Community Spirit
To enhance community spirit and involvement and a sense of pride and belonging.
1.2
Communications
To improve village-wide communications.
1.3
Voluntary Groups & Churches
To improve publicity for church and voluntary group activities and promote volunteer involvement.
1.4
Sport & Leisure
To support existing sports and leisure clubs and improve leisure facilities for teenagers.
1.5
Young People
To improve communications with, and offer greater support for, the teenage community.
2.0
SCHOOLS & LIBRARY
2.1
Pre-Schools and Nurseries
To maintain and support the existing choice and high quality of pre-school/nursery provision within the parish.
2.2
Primary School
1. To maintain and support the high standard of primary school provision within the parish.
2. To seek to influence school admissions policy to ensure that all children living in Knebworth should have guaranteed access to a place, should they require it.
3. To support measures to reduce the safety risk to pedestrians near the school and alleviate parking problems.
2.3
Secondary Schools
To be vigilant to opportunities to improve the choice and standards of secondary school provision for parish children.
2.4
Library
To secure the long term future of the library in the parish.
3.0
COMMUNITY CARE & SAFETY
3.1
Crime & Policing
To help reduce antisocial behaviour, crime and the fear of crime and improve police visibility and accessibility.
3.2
GP Services
To maintain and improve GP services in the parish.
3.3
Disabled and Elderly
To improve access, facilities and support for the elderly and disabled members of the community and their carers.
4.0
TRAFFIC, TRANSPORT & PARKING
4.1 to 4.4
Traffic, Parking and Transport
1. To improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and road users with special consideration for children.
2. To address the problems associated with excessive (over the legal speed limit) and inappropriate speeding within the parish.
3. To improve traffic flow along the B197 (London Road and Stevenage Road).
4. To alleviate parking problems in Knebworth Village.
5. To encourage walking and cycling and use of public/community transport.
6. To lobby for improved facilities, security and parking at the railway station.
Knebworth Parish Plan

Aims of the Parish Plan

5.0
LOCAL ECONOMY
AIMS
5.1
Local Services
To resist the loss of essential village services such as GP, Library, Chemist, Post Office, Bank.
5.2
Shops & Businesses
1. To support the local economy and employment opportunities for those living in the parish.
2. To help maintain a diversity of retailers in Knebworth Village centre.
5.3
Tourism and Knebworth House
To consider opportunities for developing tourism which would benefit the community and the local economy whilst protecting the rural character of the parish.
6.0
ENVIRONMENT & HOUSING
6.1
Planning & Development
To guide the future development of the parish of Knebworth for the benefit of its community.
6.2
Countryside
1. To preserve Knebworth’s essence as a rural parish and seek to protect and enhance the local countryside.
2. To oppose development that may result in coalescence with Stevenage.
3. To improve awareness of, and access to, local countryside and public rights of way whilst discouraging unauthorised use of public rights of way and private land.
6.3
Housing
To broker a balance between local and national housing needs and local desire for a rural community.
6.4
Character & Heritage
To protect and enhance the character and heritage of the parish’s built and natural environment.
6.5
Maintenance of Public Areas
To foster the maintenance and improvement of, and respect for, public areas and facilities such as pathways, alleyways, roads, recreation grounds, verges, hedges, amenity land, common land, burial grounds and public conveniences.

DEFINITIONS

(for the purposes of this document) Original part of village west of the A1(M)

Section of London Road between Watton Road and St

Martin’s Road
Knebworth Parish:

Knebworth Village:

As shown on map on back Old Knebworth:
cover

Main part of village east of High Street:

the A1(M)

Knebworth Parish Plan

The Parish Plan Process

CONSULTATION EXERCISE

The consultation process was launched in September 2004 when over 2000 questionnaires seeking opinion on various aspects of village life were delivered to all homes and businesses in the Parish. 592 completed surveys were returned, including 68 on-line, representing approx 27% of Knebworth’s 1894 households - a disappointing response but not unusual for this type of exercise and sufficient to give a good insight into the views of the community. The pattern of response was well spread across the parish. All age groups showed a slightly higher return rate for females but there was a poor response from the under 25’s.

Age group 14-17yrs 18-25yrs 26-40yrs 41-60yrs 61+ yrs
Response 1% 2% 22% 40% 35%

As well as the specific questions the questionnaire provided space for written comments and ideas - nearly 6000 were recorded and proved invaluable in assessing priorities and guiding Focus Group research.

During 2004/5 opinions were sought from parish businesses and local organisations through various meetings and surveys. More useful feedback came from the village Open Morning in February 2005 and a lively meeting with 40 teenagers in October 2005.

TIMELINE

Jan 06 Total grants and donations reached target £4,800.
Feb 06 Outline report and action plan presented to Parish Council

KPP Team hosted Village Festival Ideas meeting

May 06 Draft Action Plans submitted to Parish Council
Oct 06
Discussions with Parish Council
Feb 07
Draft Parish Plan approved by Parish Council
April 07 Parish Plan distributed to community and stakeholders for comment
May 07 Annual Parish Meeting 2nd May – opportunity for publicity/feedback
June 07
Review Plan in light of feedback.
July 07
Parish Council to adopt ‘Aims’
Sept 07
Start implementation programme.
Jan 08
Review progress and update public opinion
Dec 03
Parish Plan project launched by Parish Council
Jan 04
Parish Plan Team established
April 04
Started fundraising programme - target estimated at £4,800
Sep 04
Public consultation through Community Survey and meetings with local businesses and village organisations
Feb 05
Published results of Community Survey at Open Morning
April 05
Focus Groups set up to carry out research and check feasibilities
Aug 05
Publicity stand at Village Events Afternoon in Main Recreation Ground.
Sept 05
Focus Group traffic/parking surveys
Oct 05 TeeNage LinK consultation meeting
Nov 05
Focus Groups reported findings
Dec 05
KPP Team arranged distribution of new Community Directory and Parish News magazine to all homes in the parish

Knebworth Parish Plan

RESULTS OF THE COMMUNITY SURVEY

The following tables summarise the results of the September 2004 Community Survey to which there were 592 responses and over 6,000 written comments. The results were first published in February 2005. The original questionnaire can be viewed on-line at www.knebworthparishplan.org.uk

Figures may contain errors due to rounding.

Bold = highest response

QUESTION
RESPONSES
No. of

Written

Comments
TOP 3 WRITTEN

COMMMENTS &

CONCERNS

YES NO No Opinion
%
Qty
%
Qty
1. COMMUNITY
Are the following important to you:
A sense of community?
92
537
2 12
Community events?
84
487
5 28
Voluntary groups?
70
405
5 28
2. COMMUNICATION

Do you feel adequately served for news and info. about Knebworth by:

Local newspapers?
56
328
32
184
‘Parish News’ magazine?
82
483
6 33
Local websites?
24
139
11 62
3. HERITAGE
Do you value the contribution to the community of:
Our churches?
75
438
6 35
The library?
88
511
4 21
Knebworth House?
70
410
11 65
4. LOCAL SERVICES

Is it important for the village to have its own:

(even though services may be more comprehensive and better equipped in local towns)

Local shops?
99
575
0 1
Post Office?
99
575
0 1
Doctors’ surgery?
97
566
0 2
QUESTION
RESPONSES
No. of

Written

Comments
TOP 3 WRITTEN

COMMMENTS &

CONCERNS

YES NO No Opinion
%
Qty
%
5. SCHOOLS
Are you satisfied with the provision of:
Nursery schools?
38
222
2
Primary school?
46
268
3
Secondary schools?
10
59
27
6. SPORT & LEISURE
Are the current sport & leisure facilities in

Knebworth adequate for:

Adults?
42
243
21
Teenagers?
13
78
34
Children?
29
167
20
7. CARE
Are you satisfied with the community’s current provision for:
General medical services?
52
302
20
The elderly and carers?
14
81
9
The disabled and carers?
7
43
8
8. CRIME & POLICING
Would you support use of the following for cutting crime and nuisance:
Alcohol restrictions?
70
408
15
Closed Circuit Television?
82
477
10
More police visibility?
96
557
2
9. TRANSPORT
Are you satisfied with the following services:
Buses within village?
33
190
9
Buses beyond village?
29
171
9
Rail and station?
75
441
13
QUESTION
RESPONSES No. of

Written

Comments
TOP 3 WRITTEN

COMMMENTS &

CONCERNS

YES NO No Opinion
%
Qty
%
Qty
10. TRAFFIC

Do you consider the following to be a significant problem:

Speeding traffic?
60
349
34
200
Traffic congestion?
84
490
13
76
Road & pedestrian safety?
60
351
31
181
11. PARKING

Would you support any of the following:

More parking restrictions?
66
385
27
158
Parking charges?
27
156
61
356
Resident parking zones?
54
310
29
167
12. COUNTRYSIDE

Do you value the local countryside:

As a reason to live here?
94
548
2 11
For leisure pursuits?
79
458
6 34
For its public rights of way?
78
454
4 21
13. HOUSING

Would you support limited housing development on village edges if it provided:

(assumes a need identified in

Housing Needs Survey)

Affordable housing?
45
259
48
277
Other types of housing?
21
121
61
354
Funds to improve village?
50
289
32
187
QUESTION
RESPONSES
No. of

Written

Comments
TOP 3 WRITTEN

COMMMENTS &

CONCERNS

YES NO No Opinion
%
Qty
%
Qty
14. CHARACTER

Is it important to safeguard/cherish the following:

Local architectural styles?
74
435
7
41
General village ‘character’?
86
500
3
19
Certain buildings/ features?
72
417
5
27
15. PLANNING &

DEVELOPMENT

Would you support the following development within Knebworth village:

Refurbishment of station?
80
463
9
53
More car parking spaces?
72
423
19
108
Redevelop ‘Lowes’ site?
61
358
23
132
A village green/square?
59
341
20
117
16. PLANNING &

DEVELOPMENT

Would you support the following development within Knebworth Parish:

(development within the parish may involve green field sites)

A secondary school?
36
208
36
211
Sporting facilities?
52
303
17
96
A new site for Lowe’s yard?
72
419
16
91
A bypass?
40
234
42
241
17. GENERAL

Are there any other issues you would like to see addressed?

File:Media/image14.png

File:Media/image15.jpg

1.1 COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Knebworth is a large village with a parish population of over 4,300. The two parts of the village, Knebworth Village and Old Knebworth, are geographically and, to some extent, socially divided and although there are plenty of clubs and leisure activities on offer, groups seem to operate independently and there are very few opportunities for the whole village to get together at events such as fetes, festivals, fireworks displays, etc. Awareness of leisure and social opportunities is not good and the lack of a villagewide newsletter is considered a problem. Voluntary groups are active but in need of more volunteer support.

The Community Survey showed that 92% agreed that a sense of community is important, although Written Comments were divided as to whether Knebworth actually has a sense of community. 84% felt that community events are an essential part of village life and there were numerous requests for more village wide events. The feedback from the Teenage Link meeting also identified the need for more village wide events.

Many considered Knebworth House and Park to be a major asset and an important part of the village community but feedback suggests that there is room for improvement in community relations, particularly on issues such as consent for building work, arrangements for major events and entrance fees.

1.1
COMMUNITY SPIRIT
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To enhance community spirit and involvement and a sense of pride and belonging
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Village Organisations, Churches, Schools, Parish News Editor, Comet Column, Village Website, Parish Council,

Knebworth Village Trust, Sports & Leisure Clubs, Library/Herts County Council, Knebworth House Archivist, Knebworth Estate, Cobbold Family, CDA for Herts (Community Development Agency)

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
1.1.1
Improve communications within the parish
See Section 1.2
1.1.2
Facilitate more organised events for the whole parish
Consult with Local Organisations

Seek funding and volunteers

Consider village fete/festival

1.1.3
Encourage greater awareness of, participation in, and support for, voluntary groups (see Section 1.3)
Improve publicity

Provide more networking opportunities

Consider setting up a Community Association

Consider ‘Volunteer’ coordinator/timebank

Travel support for those with mobility problems

Update Community Directory

1.1.4
Improve awareness of existing sport and leisure clubs and facilities
Update Community Directory & Website

Consider village open events to showcase clubs

1.1.5
Promote greater awareness of Knebworth’s history and heritage, particularly for children/teenagers (see Sections 6.4.5. and 6.5.5).
Set up local history group

Produce parish map with sites of interest Involve school in projects/art work

Guided parish walks/beating the bounds Consider museum/display in library

Maximise links with Knebworth House

Update local history books

1.1.6
Foster community relations with Knebworth House
Share survey results and ideas with Knebworth

Estate and the Cobbold Family

Identify opportunities for community events at the House/Park.

Review house alteration licensing/covenants.

Improve communications for major events.

KEY:

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

1.2 COMMUNICATIONS

For various reasons, including its relatively large size, the spread between two villages and proximity to Stevenage, Knebworth suffers from the lack of a single local newspaper or newsletter which is delivered to the whole parish. There is a village website but the survey showed that this is not well known and used. We also have an excellent parish magazine produced by the Parochial Church Council but this is delivered by subscription only and reaches less than half of the homes. A free advertising booklet has recently started distribution but this concentrates on advertising for local shops and businesses and carries very little Knebworth news, although there is a small free section for community information. Without an effective means of communicating with the whole village, the publicity of events, public notices and community information is patchy at best.

1.2
COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To improve village-wide communications
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Parish Council, Parochial Church Council, Knebworth Village Trust, Village Organisations & Clubs, Parish News Editor, Lookaround Knebworth Editor, Comet Column, Village Website, Library/Herts County Council, North Herts District Council, CDA for Herts.
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
1.2.1
Increase distribution and review format of existing parish magazine
Discuss options with Editor and Parochial Church Council
1.2.2
Set up a village information centre in the library
Seek consent from Library Service

Find volunteer to manage table/display

1.2.3
Update and distribute community directory (Also see Section 1.3.2)
Find volunteer to update information & produce directory. Arrange distribution and funds.
1.2.4
Consider free village-wide newsletter
Discuss with existing news providers and Parish Council. Consider viability and funding options.

Gauge demand for electronic newsletter.

1.2.5
Increase coverage of Knebworth in local papers and magazines
Promote awareness of contact details and tips for getting coverage.

Approach editors.

1.2.6
Improve communications between the various sectors of the village community and the two parts of the village
Consider setting up a Residents Association or a

Knebworth Community Association with representatives from residents, businesses, groups, churches, schools, Parish Council, etc

1.2.7
Introduce ‘Welcome Pack’ for people moving into the parish – for distribution by estate and letting agents and sale in shops
Find a lead organisation, seek

funding/sponsorship, form team of volunteers to produce/sort advertising.

1.2.8
Consider potential for more prominent events/community notice boards
Discuss with Parish Council

Identify suitable sites/board designs

Sort capital and ongoing funding

Agree ongoing management/maintenance

1.2.9
Increase awareness and use of the village website www.knebworth.org and Hertbeat FM radio station

(based in Knebworth)

Discuss with volunteer website provider

Promote awareness through printed media

Review website content/demand

Consider leaflet drop

Approach Hertbeat FM, local news slot, sponsorship, higher profile in village

1.3 VOLUNTARY GROUPS & CHURCHES

The survey showed that the community greatly appreciates the work of voluntary groups although there seems to be a lack of information about what is on offer and some of the groups are struggling to find volunteers. The contribution of the churches is also highly valued, even by those who do not regularly attend. However, Written Comments suggest that the churches may need to be more proactive in ‘reaching out’ to the rest of the community although it is clear that there is a general lack of awareness regarding the churches’ contribution to the community through such initiatives such as The Good Egg Club, The Good Neighbour Scheme and of course the Parish News magazine.

There is a general lack of communication and coordination between the numerous groups offering activities and organising events and much competition for fundraising and volunteer support. Publicity for events is a problem.

1.3
VOLUNTARY GROUPS & CHURCHES
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To improve publicity for church and voluntary group activities and promote volunteer involvement.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Churches, Voluntary Groups, Knebworth Village Trust, Council for Voluntary Services, North Herts District Council, CDA for Herts
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
1.3.1
Liaise with Knebworth Family of Churches and feedback the results and suggestions from the Community Survey
Discussions already opened

Consider ideas for ‘reaching out’

1.3.2 Update and distribute a community directory including church and voluntary groups
(Also see Section 1.2.3)
Find volunteer to update information & produce directory. Arrange distribution and funds.
1.3.3 Publicise the work of voluntary groups and volunteer opportunities in magazines and newsletters
See Communication Section 1.2
1.3.4
Consider setting up a volunteer time bank and recruitment coordinator
Seek advice from CDA for Herts and find out if done in other villages. Would need lead organisation and funding. Could be done as part of Community Association
1.3.5
Improve communications between the various voluntary groups
Consider setting up a Community

Association

Consider village open events to showcase voluntary groups and recruit volunteers – perhaps on St Martin’s Green.

1.4 SPORT & LEISURE

With the exception of leisure provision for teenagers (see below 1.5), it seems that residents are generally satisfied with the range and level of sport and leisure facilities on offer within the parish and nearby, although there were some requests for a village swimming pool and indoor sport/leisure facility. Focus Group research also shows that some of the sports clubs and the teenagers would support the idea of a small community sports centre within the main village.

Requests for improvements to children’s play areas in the recreation grounds are already being dealt with by the Parish Council.

1.4
SPORT & LEISURE
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To support existing sports and leisure clubs and improve leisure facilities for teenagers.
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
Teenagers, Herts Youth Service (Youth Club), North Herts District Council, Knebworth Village Trust, Sports & Leisure

Clubs, JMI School, Funding Bodies

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
1.4.1
Improve leisure facilities for teenagers (see ideas from Teenage Link meeting)
See Section 1.5
1.4.2 Promote publicity of existing sports and leisure clubs
See Section 1.1.4
1.4.3
Consider opportunities to assist with and increase awareness of funding opportunities to improve facilities.
Investigate grant funding opportunities for major projects and establish priorities.

Seek advice from CDA for Herts Pass on information to clubs on grants for smaller projects – publicise funding events

1.4.4
Look at the feasibility of providing a community sports centre with special consideration for children, teenagers, the elderly and disabled.
Establish demand, meet with clubs/school, take advice on capital and ongoing costs, consider site options, discuss with North Herts Planning, check grant funding
MEDIUM
Funds – High

Influence

Volunteers

Expertise

Prof. Advice

1.4.5
Provide more opportunities for sports and leisure clubs to network with each other and other sectors of the community.
Consider setting up a Community

Association

Consider village open events to showcase activities and provide networking opportunity

LOW
Volunteers

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

1.5 YOUNG PEOPLE

As the community survey did not successfully engage with under 18s, a special Teenage Link meeting was organised in October 2005 with the support of the Parish Council, NHDC, CDA for Herts and Herts Youth Service. This was attended by 40 teenagers and the main points to emerge were:

1.5
YOUNG PEOPLE
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To improve communications with and offer greater support for the teenage community.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Teenagers, Parish Council, Herts Youth Service (Youth Club), North Herts District Council, Knebworth Village Trust, JMI

School

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
1.5.1
Offer regular teenage open meetings (at least once or twice a year)
Find volunteer adults to arrange meetings Liaise with youth services, Parish Council and other authorities.
1.5.2
Set up a teenage Action Group to take forward some of the ideas from the Teenage Link meeting
Group has been set up and is working with Parish Council and Youth Club
1.5.3
Enlist the help of more adult volunteers to assist with fundraising and project management
Clarify volunteer needs

Take advice from CDA for Herts, especially on CRB checks, insurance, etc.

Liaise with churches/existing youth groups

Consider fun recruitment initiatives

1.5.4
Work with Herts Youth Service in trying to improve and adapt the youth club to suit the needs of the teenagers
Discussions already opened

(NB. Youth Club temporarily closed as at 27.2.07)

1.5.5
Consider initiatives to involve the youngsters more in the community and in particular improve relations between the elderly and the teenagers.
Discuss ideas with teenagers

Identify opportunities

Seek help from CDA for Herts Find out what goes on in other communities

1.5.6
Liaise with the JMI school on options for greater teenage involvement
Discuss ideas with teenagers Approach JMI School
  • The need for more opportunities for youngsters to have their say
  • Agreement on suitable places to hang out without causing a nuisance
  • Better lighting in the main Recreation Ground
  • More cheap/free sports/leisure facilities in the village
  • Opportunities to expand and shape existing asset of youth club with older teenagers in mind
  • Funding and adult help to support their ideas
  • Café nights – for teenagers , by teenagers (perhaps as part of Youth Club)
  • Need to improve reputation of young people – only minority who cause real trouble.
  • Teenage music events
  • Digital projector/satellite TV/DVD player for film nights and youth club
  • Opportunities to be more involved with the JMI school (of which many of the teenagers have fond memories)

File:Media/image16.png

File:Media/image17.jpg

2.1 PRE-SCHOOLS AND NURSERIES

The parish is fortunate to have the choice of two pre-schools/nurseries and one nursery (based at the JMI School). All three received positive feedback in the Community Survey. However there is concern that possible changes in national or county education policy may upset the current balance and jeopardise the future of early learning provision within the parish.

The only negative feedback related to parking and road safety problems outside Stepping Stones Pre-School on London Road.

2.1
PRE- SCHOOLS AND NURSERIES
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To maintain and support the existing choice and high quality of pre-school/nursery provision within the parish.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Pre-Schools/Nurseries (Staff and Management Committees), Parents, Parish Council, Herts County Council, North Herts District Council, District Councillors, County Councillors, Local MP
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
2.1.1 Monitor county and government policy on nursery and pre-schools and resist any changes which might reduce or dilute current provision.
Work with the pre-school/nursery communities and education authority to establish facts. If needed, work with the three pre-schools/ nurseries and parents to agree action plan to influence policy and elected officials.

Continue to monitor policy at regular intervals

2.1.2
Support the pre-schools/nurseries in identifying and pursuing opportunities to improve facilities with particular reference to parking and road safety issues (see

Transport Sections 4.1 and 4.2).

Identify ‘wish list’ for improvements/needs and overall vision for the future of pre-school and nursery provision in the parish

Research funding opportunities and share grant information

Encourage staff and parents to help produce and support proposed School Travel Plan (see Section 4.1.4)

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000),

Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

2.2 PRIMARY SCHOOL

The Community Survey showed that the vast majority are satisfied with primary school provision (only 3% not satisfied) and Written Comments were very positive. However, there was concern about the availability of places for children living within the parish as several village children did not get places in September 2005. This was partly due to the exceptionally large year group in 2005 and was not an issue in 2006. However it is acknowledged that there is an ongoing problem which could become critical especially if there is any new housing development in or around the village.

Written Comments and Focus Group research highlighted the need to address parking and road safety issues associated with having a thriving JMI school in the centre of the village and to encourage more walking/cycling.

Other suggestions included extending school hours, improving sports facilities, better links with the pre-schools and maximising use of the school premises for the benefit of the community. Discussions with the teenage community revealed that many have fond memories of primary school and would like to retain greater links once they have moved on to secondary school.

2.2
PRIMARY SCHOOL
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims # To maintain and support the high standard of primary school provision within the parish.
  1. To seek to influence school admissions policy to ensure that all children living in Knebworth should have guaranteed access to a place, should they require it.
  2. To support measures to reduce the safety risk to pedestrians near the school and alleviate parking problems.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
JMI School (Staff and Governors), Parish Council, Herts County Council, North Herts District Council, District Councillors, County Councillors, Local MP, CDA for Herts, Teenagers
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
2.2.1
Seek to influence admissions policy to ensure sufficient places for children living within the parish with particular reference to the effects of additional housing.
Study local demographics and identify trends and potential problems.

Liaise with school governors, staff, education authority and elected officials to clarify extent of problem and consider possible solutions.

Consider implications of new housing and how the school might cope/what resources would be needed.

If necessary, agree action plan and lobby education authority.

2.2.2
Assess parking and road safety issues and seek to address them as part of a School Travel Plan and Village Travel Plan.
Work with JMI school community and recruit volunteers to join School Travel Plan Group.

See Section 4.1.4.

2.2.3
Monitor and influence local housing development proposals for the benefit of the Knebworth primary school community.
Work with Parish Council and NHDC to highlight traffic/parking issues and lack of spare capacity at JMI school when considering any development proposals within and beyond the parish. Raise awareness of such schemes, including implications.

Ensure best outcome for JMI school where developments are permitted i.e. through Section 106 improvements

2.2.4
Support the JMI School in identifying and pursuing opportunities to improve facilities.
Work with school community to identify ‘Wish List’ and long term vision. Assess costs/feasibility

Fully assess the need and support for a village sports centre available for school use (see Section 1.4.4)

2.2.5
Consider initiatives for making best use of the JMI School buildings and land for the benefit of the community with particular reference to involving the teenage community.
Work with governors/staff to assess any spare capacity for out of hours use

Brainstorm ideas and assess demand

Consider feasibility and implications (security, insurance, etc)

Liaise with teenage community, staff and governors - brainstorm ideas for more teenage involvement with school community.

2.3 SECONDARY SCHOOLS

It is clear from the Community Survey that there is considerable concern about the current choice and standards of secondary schools serving Knebworth – 27% not satisfied, 10% satisfied, 63% no opinion. However, opinion is equally divided for and against the idea of building a new secondary school within the parish with worries about the traffic problems it would generate. The Focus Group research shows that, with predicted falls in the numbers of secondary school children in the area over the next 20 years, the County Council is more likely to consider closing, merging or enlarging existing schools rather than building new ones for village communities. Current policy means that a new school would need approx 900 pupils to be viable and even taking into account Datchworth, Codicote, Oaklands, Woolmer Green and surrounds, the numbers do not support the case.

On balance, the Focus Group concluded that it would not be realistic to pursue the principle of building a secondary school in or near the parish in the current climate. However, it is recommended that the Community should remain vigilant to changes in education policy and the implications of new housing development in the area. It is also suggested that efforts should be concentrated on working with existing secondary schools to help improve education standards and community relations between the schools and the village.

The dedicated school bus service to Stevenage secondary schools is considered essential to the community although there are some safety issues associated with waiting/drop-off points and bus routes through the village. Children travelling to Hitchin schools are required to use public transport. School travel is dealt with in Section 4.4

2.3
SECONDARY SCHOOLS
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To be vigilant to opportunities to improve the choice and standards of secondary school provision for parish children.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Head teachers, Governors, Parents, Primary and Secondary school children, Parish Council, District & County

Councillors, Local MP

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
2.3.1 Monitor education policy relating to secondary schools
Research and monitor policy and alert community to possible changes (including possible school mergers)

If necessary, initiate campaigns to influence education authorities and elected officials

2.3.2
Monitor and influence local housing development proposals for the benefit of the Knebworth secondary school community.
Monitor local housing proposals within parish, in adjoining villages and in Stevenage

Consider changes which might affect need for new secondary school or put extra pressure on existing schools.

If necessary, initiate campaign to influence education authorities and elected officials

2.3.3 Work with secondary schools, the JMI and village families to improve publicity of and involvement with the secondary schools.
Engage with primary and secondary schools, children, parents & County Council to brainstorm ideas

Carry out consultation, assess feasibility and funding

Survey older children and parents to gauge satisfaction levels (concerns highest amongst

primary school parents)

Prepare action plan and carry out

2.3.4
Work with the secondary schools and the County Council in identifying ways in which the community might help improve education standards e.g. volunteering at schools, village homework clubs/ tutor groups, etc.
Identify target schools

Engage with head teachers, governors and County Council, Parish Council and school children to consider ideas.

Assess demand, feasibility and funding options

Encourage parents to become Governors

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

2.4 LIBRARY

The village library is relatively small and suffers from lack of use which means that staffing levels and opening hours have gradually been eroded over recent years. 88% of respondents to the Community Survey agreed that the library is a valuable asset to the community and most of the Written Comments related to the perceived problem of opening hours. Irregular opening hours were causing confusion but since the Community Survey was carried out the library has carried out its own consultation and as from March 2007 opening hours have been simplified. (2pm – 6pm each week day and 9am -1pm Saturdays).

The library is conveniently located in the centre of the village and there is a strong feeling that better use could be made of the building (perhaps involving voluntary organisations) which may in turn help protect its future. Car parking is limited but there is a small area of land at the rear of the building which may have potential either for additional parking or to extend the building.

The opportunities for diversifying its use are obvious and residents have suggested numerous excellent ideas including book clubs, music events, teenage activities, café and even a museum area (the Survey identified the need to improve awareness of Knebworth’s history to help foster a sense of belonging and pride of place, particularly amongst children/teenagers).

2.4
LIBRARY
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To secure the long term future of the library in the parish
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Librarians, Library Service/Herts County Council, Village organisations and voluntary groups, Parish Council, District Councillors, County Councillors, Local MP, JMI School and Pre-schools/Nurseries, Teenagers
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
2.4.1 Encourage greater awareness and use of the library facility
Hold open ‘workshop’ to pool ideas Develop publicity with the library.

Host more events to draw people in

Diversify services - see Section 2.4.2

2.4.2
Promote ideas for making better use of the library building e.g. book clubs, café, school visits, teenage evenings, over 55’s events, music club, village information point, village museum, etc
Hold open workshops to pool ideas and discuss with library service

Liaise with village organisations, schools, residents, teenagers, etc

Carry out feasibility study on options

Work with schools to forge closer links e.g. timetable for visiting authors.

Work with NHDC museums department

2.4.3 Press for longer opening hours in conjunction with Section 2.4.2. (since survey, hours have been changed)
Monitor new opening hours
2.4.4
Consider extending/improving the

existing building or relocation/redevelopment elsewhere within the village e.g.

as part of a new community centre.

Work with Parish Council, County Council, NHDC planning dept and landowners to consider options. Identify funding sources
2.4.5
Consider schemes to assist with travel to and from the library for residents with mobility problems
Feed into Village Travel Plan.

Consult residents with mobility problems and make recommendations

File:Media/image20.png

Community Care and Safety

File:Media/image21.jpg

3.1 CRIME AND POLICING

Problems with antisocial behaviour and the apparent lack of police presence were top of the list of priorities for many villagers. 95% want to see a greater police presence (both foot and car patrols) around the parish and there were numerous calls for the return of a Village Bobby. However there was praise, especially from the teenagers, for the PC and PCSO and it is recognised that they are covering a large area and are not able to dedicate as much time as they might like to Knebworth. There appears to be a lack of awareness about the Mobile Police Station and negative feedback about its efficacy.

3.1
CRIME & POLICING
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To help reduce antisocial behaviour, crime and the fear of crime and improve police visibility and accessibility.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Police Authorities, Community Police Team, Neighbourhood Watch coordinators, Parish Council, Herts Youth Service, teenagers, seniors, youth groups, voluntary organisations, churches, schools, alcohol retailers, CDA for Herts (Community Development Agency), District Councillors, County Councillors, Local MP
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
3.1.1
Work with the local PC, the PCSOs

and the police authorities in maximising police coverage of Knebworth parish, particularly during the evenings.

Clarify problems, opportunities and resources

Identify high priority times and locations

Campaign for increased car and foot patrols

Enlist support from elected officials

Consider workshop to exchange ideas Maximise awareness of existing police resources, activities and contact details

Increase profile of individual officers

Review effectiveness of mobile police station and consider alternatives

3.1.2 Reactivate the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme throughout the parish
Set up public meeting

Initiate long term campaign to recruit street coordinators

Publicise contacts and procedures

3.1.3
Promote initiatives for improving communications with and access to the PC and PCSOs.
Publicise contact details/reporting procedures Help increase profile of individual officers Work with seniors, teenagers, schools and voluntary groups

Review mobile police station and comments box and consider alternatives

Consider confidential teenage help-line/village contact for reporting problems

3.1.4
Target initiatives for dealing with recognised ‘trouble spots’ such as the recreation grounds, near the bottle bank and the railway station.
Engage with teenagers, parents, alcohol retailers, pubs, youth groups, rail authorities, etc to consider options

Improve teenage facilities to discourage hanging around on street corners

Consider additional security measures such as

CCTV

Lobby for increased police/PCSO patrols Research successful initiatives in other communities

(Private security patrols ruled out at this stage)

3.1.5
Work with village alcohol retailers in controlling under-age alcohol sales.
Meet with police and retailers to discuss issues including staff training and support Support initiatives to publicise amongst teenagers

70% would support a targeted alcohol ban with special mention of the ‘High St’, railway station and recreation grounds. Written Comments included suggestions to limit opening hours and improve control of under-age alcohol sales.

The use of CCTV was approved of by 82% provided it does not become a replacement for ‘real’ policing. Since the Community Survey the Parish Council has arranged for the installation of CCTV cameras in two locations along the High St. Other locations suggested in the survey include the Station/Station Public House and the main Recreation Ground.

Focus Group research looked at various security options including the use of private security patrols for problem areas. However, accountability and insurance issues and the substantial costs involved would seem to preclude this option for the time being.

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

3.1.6
Consider initiatives for improving facilities for teenagers and relations between teenagers and the rest of the community, especially with seniors
See Section 1.5

Engage with teenagers, families, schools, youth groups, seniors, voluntary groups, churches and CDA for Herts to brainstorm ideas and identify opportunities

Research feasibility, resources and funding options

MEDIUM

(started)

Funds - High

Volunteers

Influence

Publicity

3.1.7
Consider alcohol bans in public areas such as the High St, station area and recreation grounds
Work with police authorities and North Herts

District Council to clarify current regulations Research feasibility and cost of implementing new by-laws

Research success of similar initiatives in other communities Consult public

MEDIUM
Funds- High

Influence

Prof. Advice

Public Opinion

3.1.8
Monitor the effectiveness of CCTV cameras in the ‘High St’ and consider additional locations.
Monitor crime figures on ‘High St’

Produce justification and case for increased CCTV - collect records relating to incidents around the station, recreation grounds, etc Investigate funding options

MEDIUM
Funds - High Volunteers influence Publicity
3.1.9
Carry out a lighting and security survey and identify potential danger spots.
Recruit volunteers to carry out survey and present report to discuss with the police and Highways authorities
LOW
Funds - High

Volunteers

Expertise

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

Although 52% were satisfied with GP services, 20% were not and there was a high number of Written Comments relating to difficulties in getting appointments and the need for more GPs. There were several requests for a new health centre offering a wider range of treatments, better provision for those with mobility problems and a more flexible appointment system.

Shortly after the Community Survey was carried out, the local Primary Care Trust announced that it was considering the closure of the Knebworth GP Surgery with services being relocated to a new super-surgery in south Stevenage. This lead to a significant public outcry and, although it is acknowledged that some medical services may be better provided in a new state of the art super surgery, there was a clear consensus that it would be unreasonable and environmentally unsound to expect a village population of over 4,000, many without access to a car, to travel by car, bus or taxi to Stevenage for day to day GP services. The practice also serves nearby villages such as Datchworth, Codicote and Woolmer Green, covering approx 8,000 people in all.

It is understood that the GPs have now renewed the lease on the existing premises for the short term but the threat of closure remains and the retention of a GP surgery in the parish is considered a top priority.

3.2
GP SERVICES
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To maintain and improve GP services in the parish.
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
Knebworth GPs and practice staff, East and North Herts Primary Care Trust (or replacement body), patients, North Herts

District Council, District Councillors, Local MP

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
3.2.1
Influence the GPs, PCT, politicians and other decision-makers in securing the future of a GP surgery within the parish.
Work with Parish Council to ensure that community opinion is heard on potential closure of surgery and relocation to Stevenage

Maintain pressure using campaign and lobbying

Work with GPs and Primary Care Trust

Engage support of MP and District Councillors Support GPs in finding a sustainable solution including options for alternative or new premises in the village

Consider funding implications/options

Enlist the help of experts/professionals if required

Consult the public on any proposals

3.2.2
Consider ways of providing and maintaining a new health centre within Knebworth Village, taking into account possible additional housing in the local area.
Determine support from GPs

Research options, feasibility, funding Work with GPs, PCT, Parish Council and landowners and politicians

Seek professional advice as needed

Consult the public on any proposals

3.2.3
Feedback the survey results and Written Comments to the GPs with particular reference to appointment problems.
Send copy of survey results and set up meeting with GPs to discuss options (done)

There were 132 responses to the question relating to community provision for the elderly and 81 of these were satisfied with the care and services available. However, 51 responses were negative with concerns relating to difficulties in accessing help, the shortage of carers and lack of affordable housing for carers to live in Knebworth, lack of daytime activities and places to meet. There was praise for the village Good Neighbour Scheme and the Link-Up Lunch Club both of which are run by volunteers.

87 residents responded to the question relating to provision for disabled members of the community of which 43 were satisfied and 44 not satisfied. Comments suggested that social services support has been improving but it is still a struggle to get adequate support, especially for family carers. The lack of respite care is identified as a particular problem.

The Focus Group research also identified problems with disabled access and parking in the village centre with particular concern for the total lack of disabled access to the railway station and the poor condition of many pavements. For those with mobility problems who do not have access to a car, travel within the parish (even to shops and the GP surgery) is impossible without assistance.

3.3
DISABLED & ELDERLY
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To improve access, facilities and support for the elderly and disabled members of the community and their carers.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contrib utors
Knebworth GP’s and practice staff, East and North Herts Primary Care Trust (or replacement body), Social Services, elderly and disabled community and carers, Parish Council, North Herts District Council, voluntary groups, leisure activity providers, rail authorities, highways and parking authorities, CDA for Herts, Local MP
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
3.3.1
Seek to ensure that there is a GP service based in the village with easy access for those with mobility problems
See Section 3.2.1 and ensure disabled access taken into account when considering premises solutions
3.3.2
Improve awareness of and access to care and support services.
Work with the vulnerable and their carers, GPs, PCT, Social Services and voluntary groups to identify and prioritise specific problem areas and consider options for improvements

Research services available and consider ways of improving coordination of service providers, communications and publicity including possible village information line, leaflet, website page, volunteer contact.

Identify grants and other sources of funding to assist implementation

3.3.3
Review leisure activities and facilities suitable for the elderly and disabled and work with providers to improve awareness of and access to existing opportunities and identify new opportunities.
Research existing activities and consult providers and voluntary groups Identify gaps/problems/opportunities

Consider improvement options, feasibility and funding

Support providers in implementing changes

Raise awareness within target community

(See Section 3.3.5)

3.3.4
Carry out a disabled access audit around the parish and identify problems and opportunities
Recruit volunteers to carry out audit and highlight priorities

Review disabled parking provision

Consider feasibility and funding

Work with land/property owners and Parish Council and other authorities to implement improvements

3.3.5
Work with the disabled and elderly and their carers in identifying travel and transport needs within the parish e.g. to shops, library, social clubs, doctors, etc
Carry out consultation exercise and feed information to Village Travel Plan Group
3.3.6
Work with rail service providers in considering the provision of disabled access to Knebworth railway station.
Also see Section 4.2.8.

Work with disabled community to prepare case to present to the Village Travel Plan Group and the rail authorities

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

SECTION 1
SECTION 2
SECTION 3
SECTION 4
SECTION 5
SECTION 6
Community Development
Schools and Library
Community Care and Safety
Traffic, Transport and Parking
Local

Economy

Environment and Housing
Page 14
Page 20
Page 26
Page 32
Page 48
Page 54

Traffic, Transport and Parking

File:Media/image27.jpg

4.0a GENERAL INTRODUCTION

In traffic terms, Knebworth is famous for its narrow ‘High Street’ which challenges the driving skills of those who dare to pass through the village! On an average day, traffic moves slowly but steadily during the peak periods but it doesn’t take much to bring things to a grinding halt and cause long tailbacks on the B197. A badly parked delivery vehicle, problems on the A1(M) or two buses trying to pass is often enough to tip the balance. With the ‘High Street’ (the section of London Road between Watton Road and St Martin’s Road) also serving as the main village car park for shop customers, delivery vehicles, and school-run drivers, there is direct conflict between local parking needs and maintaining traffic flow through the village.

Not surprisingly, traffic congestion and parking emerged as the top two priorities from the Community Survey with over 1200 Written Comments on these subjects alone.

The Travel Focus Group has examined the Written Comments and suggestions from the Community Survey and also carried out research on accident statistics and speeding data, various traffic surveys, pedestrian flow counts and parking surveys with residents and businesses. They have also had numerous meetings and discussions with Herts Highways, North Herts District Council and local police.

The findings show a complex web of issues, many of which are interlinked and where solving one problem could easily create a new one or simply push the problem elsewhere. For example, although the parking along the ‘High Street’ causes congestion problems it does have the effect of slowing traffic. If parking were to be restricted to one side of the road, traffic flow may improve but increased speeds would present a real risk to pedestrian safety. Hence further measures would be required to reduce speeds whilst still allowing traffic to flow more steadily. It follows that with less parking spaces available on the ‘High Street’, more people would park in surrounding side roads causing further congestion and safety issues - unless more off-street public car parking could be provided. Of course, it would also be important to ensure that any changes do not have a detrimental effect on the character and commercial viability of the parish.

It is fair to say that the success of any traffic and parking schemes will be inextricably linked to the future of the Chas Lowe sites. If Lowes stay, as many would hope that they will, there will be some major hurdles to overcome. However, Lowes have indicated that they are in search of larger premises and, if they go, the redevelopment of the site could present a make or break opportunity to tackle these persistent traffic and parking problems which have plagued our village for so long.

For many, the convenience of the railway station and local shops and the benefit of a thriving village JMI school are good reasons for living in Knebworth. However, these assets can generate serious traffic and parking problems with no obvious solutions. The Action Plan does not claim to have any radical solutions but it does suggest a series of improvements which might help ease the problems and minimise safety risks. Unless the shops and station close and the school relocates, the community will need to accept that there will always be some degree of associated parking and congestion but we can and should strive to keep this to an acceptable and safe level.

The Wish List is long and expensive and we will need to be realistic in what can be achieved within the timescale of the Parish Plan - numerous projects will extend beyond 5 years but have been included because, by nature, highways projects require long term planning. We will also need to be imaginative in overcoming the barriers we are likely to face in meeting local authority and funding criteria. When the justification for highway improvements is often measured in terms of accident statistics and hundreds of communities across the whole county are all competing for a share of a limited funding pot, patience and persistence will be crucial in pushing Knebworth issues to the top of the local authority priority lists.

Of course finance will be a major factor - solutions to parking and traffic problems do not come cheaply. Changes to parking and speeding restrictions involve lengthy and expensive legal processes even before the work is carried out. Land for additional parking may well be available but at what price? Even if authorities can be persuaded as to the need for our proposals, efforts will be thwarted unless suitable funding can be found.

It is acknowledged that some of the more obvious suggestions included in the action plan have been examined in the past by the Parish Council and the Highways Authorities and were found to be non-viable. However, for the sake of completeness, it was felt that all suggestions should be included to show that they are being given due consideration and to ensure that all possible angles are covered. It is hoped that as part of a combined package of measures, some options may now prove to be more viable.

4.0b COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS AND FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

The survey questions covered three main issues: TRAFFIC (Congestion, Safety and Speeding), PARKING and TRANSPORT. 1. TRAFFIC Congestion:

84% of respondents considered traffic congestion to be a significant problem and this subject provoked the highest number of comments. However, 13% did not consider congestion to be a problem and many were of the opinion that some delays and slower traffic through the ‘High Street’ is preferable to faster traffic and greater risk to pedestrians.

It is recognised that the repercussions of congestion are far more serious than mere inconvenience and delay and the consequential risks from speeding along rat runs, aggressive driving and danger to pedestrians need urgent attention.

Daily congestion problems are magnified when the A1(M) is closed or slow moving and the B197 is used as an alternative route.

However, when asked if Knebworth should have a by-pass, opinion was mixed with 40% saying Yes and 42% No. Written Comments claimed that Knebworth already has a by-pass in the form of the A1(M). Other comments relating to the A1(M) noted the need to improve traffic flow by widening the two lane section north of Junction 6 and to address traffic noise which affects homes close to the motorway. On balance, the Focus Group felt that these matters are beyond the scope of the Parish Plan although there is a need to remain vigilant to opportunities to influence such factors. However, efforts should be made to improve communications with police authorities and consider options for crisis management during A1(M) closures (including major events at Knebworth Park).

Residents and traders came up with numerous bright ideas on how to improve traffic flow along the ‘High Street’ and the Focus Group has included a short list of possibilities in the Action Plan for further discussion with the traffic authorities and police.

Safety:

Statistics show that the accident rate for the parish over recent years is remarkably low and suggest that there are no major problems except for a relatively high number of collisions along Old Knebworth Lane which is a popular east-west route and often used as a rat-run to avoid congestion on the B197. It is reasonable to suggest that the relatively low accident rate is partly a reflection of the extreme awareness that villagers have to hazardous blackspots around the parish and, in some cases, just plain luck that more serious road accidents have not occurred - Station Road Bridge being one such example.

Despite these statistics, 60% of respondents felt that road and pedestrian safety is a significant problem and many pedestrians and cyclists expressed their sense of insecurity within certain areas of the village. This concern was more acute when considering the needs of children negotiating their way to and from school and also for the elderly.

Speeding:

60% agreed that excessive speeding is a problem although Focus Group research found that, in some locations, the perception of speeding was greater than the actual measured speeds. The studies also showed that ‘inappropriate’ speeding, i.e. within the legal speed limit but too fast for conditions, is a more significant problem and a review of warning signs, speed reduction measures and speed limits would be advisable, especially along the ‘High Street’ and known rat-runs. Rat-running within the village is an increasingly serious problem as drivers choose to avoid the ‘High Street’ and use Pondcroft Road, Gun Road, Gun Lane, Stockens

Green, Gypsy Lane, Deards End Lane and Park Lane, often driving at inappropriate or excessive speeds.

2. PARKING

The Community Survey and Focus Group research has identified three main parking trouble spots:

  1. The ‘High Street’ and side roads
  2. The roads surrounding the railway station including Park Lane, Pondcroft Road, Lytton Fields, Gun Lane and Deards Wood
  3. The area around the JMI School

72% would like more public car parking in the village but were concerned about where this could be sited. 61% voted against the introduction of parking charges but the 27% who supported parking charges suggested, firstly, the area around the station and then the ‘High St’ as being suitable locations.

66% would like to see more parking restrictions especially along the ‘High St’ and side roads, Park Lane and side roads and northern ends of Pondcroft Road and Gun Lane.

There were differing views on the benefits of Residents Parking Zones, with 54% in favour and 29% against, with concern about pushing problems elsewhere. According to Written Comments, there may be some support for such a scheme on sections of Pondcroft Road and possibly other roads around the station.

Commuter parking is an emotive issue and generated many comments. In some locations it causes safety hazards and congestion and in others it causes great inconvenience to residents and resentment that, during the week, quiet residential roads are being turned into free long-stay car parks attracting both local and non-local commuters to use Knebworth as a Park and Ride point for London. Clearly the station car park is not large enough to cope with daily demand and there seems little regard on the part of the rail authorities as to the impact on the local community. Most consider the railway station to be a valuable asset and some degree of associated parking must be expected but there seems to be a growing case for suggesting that the rail authorities should take greater responsibility for the burden that the station imposes on the local community.

The Focus Group studies and surveys revealed serious safety issues in some locations, particularly associated with parking for the JMI School and Nursery and Stepping Stones Pre-School on London Road, where emotions run high amongst parents and local residents due to dangerous and inconsiderate parking by an obstinate minority of parents, despite numerous initiatives and appeals by the schools over the years.

Meetings with local traders highlighted the lack of short term customer parking in the village centre, especially when parking restrictions are not being properly enforced (as was the case when the Community Survey was carried out). For many ‘High Street’ traders, parking of delivery vehicles is difficult and results in immediate traffic congestion. This is a particular problem for Chas Lowe’s where large lorries deliver on a regular basis throughout the day and often park on Stevenage Road while they wait for access to the yard, causing more congestion and safety risks for pedestrians.

The village public car park is located behind the Co-op and Barclays Bank but this tends to fill early in the day with long term parking – usually local staff – which means that it cannot be used by short term visitors and shop customers. This compounds the short term parking problems on the ‘High Street’. The car park is also used by large delivery lorries serving the Co-op which can cause chaos and safety issues in such a restricted area.

The key factor affecting the future of parking in and around the ‘High Street’ is whether Chas Lowes decide to stay in the village. Having acknowledged the need for larger premises with safer access for their large deliver vehicles, it seems likely that they will need to move at some stage in the not too distant future in order to protect their commercial viability. In many ways this would be a sad day for the village and could adversely affect trade in some shops but in other respects it could present an opportunity to improve the village centre, both commercially and aesthetically, and solve some of the parking and traffic problems. This situation presents a dilemma to the Parish Plan on how far it should progress the Action Plan if significant change is imminent.

Of course, any initiatives which help to reduce car dependency and encourage walking and cycling around the parish and within the village centre will have a positive impact on parking issues.

In implementing any solutions, it will be important to adopt the correct sequence of projects - congestion and parking problems are closely interlinked and it is evident that in solving one problem there is a risk of creating a new one or moving the problem elsewhere. Equally it may be found that solving one problem might resolve other related issues with little further effort.

In assessing parking problems, the Focus Group has prioritised safety issues including the need to ensure access for emergency vehicles at all times.

3. TRANSPORT Buses:

The Community Survey statistics show that public bus services are not widely used (over 60% had no opinion) but of those who do use them, most were fairly satisfied with the services. Bad weather, high cost of local trips and unreliability were cited as the main reasons for not using the buses. The north-south service is fairly frequent and relatively reliable but east-west travel is poor and under-used. Suggestions include re-routing of buses to take in local supermarkets and secondary schools.

At present bus routes do not serve journeys in and around the village and the Focus Group research identified the possible need for a frequent and flexible public or community hopper bus service for journeys around Knebworth and to and from Old Knebworth, possibly extending to key destinations beyond the parish.

At present, those with mobility problems who do not have access to a car are dependent on friends and family and volunteer groups for even simple journeys to the shops, doctors, library, etc. A few respondents mentioned the Dial-a-Ride scheme but this is very limited and not widely known about. The village Good Neighbour scheme supports those needing lifts to doctors and the hospital and volunteers also ferry the elderly to the Link Up Lunch club.

With major parking and congestion problems in Knebworth Village, there is an obvious need to reduce car dependency and a hopper service may well appeal to commuters travelling to the station and school children/families making the journey to school as well as providing a service for those visiting the shops, doctors, library, etc in the village centre. The capital outlay and ongoing costs of a community hopper bus would be significant but certainly worthy of consideration and further research.

With no secondary school in the village, school children need a safe, reliable and economical means of travel to and from school. Those travelling to Hitchin schools tend to use the train and dedicated school buses serve other local schools with the majority heading to Stevenage. Survey feedback and subsequent research showed the importance of maintaining these dedicated services (which recently came under threat) and also highlighted safety problems associated with some bus routes (especially along Pondcroft Road) and with the pick-up/drop off point outside the railway station where large numbers of children congregate. Cold and wet weather brings added problems as children, not unreasonably, seek shelter in the station building.

Rail:

70% of rail users were satisfied with the rail service but there were hundreds of comments relating to the poor state of the railway station and problems with security, vandalism and antisocial behaviour. There were numerous requests for longer opening hours for the ticket office to help improve security and in particular to cover afternoon school travel times.

80% would like to see the station and car park area upgraded, and lack of disabled/wheelchair/pushchair access was considered a high priority by many.

The majority of Written Comments related to the considerable parking problems associated with the station with calls for more offroad parking. Other suggestions included: improved lighting and security in the car park, more comprehensive CCTV cameras, improved cycle parking and a newspaper/coffee kiosk.

Walking & Cycling:

Many Knebworth residents do not have access to a car and they walk or cycle as a matter of necessity. Others within the community choose to walk or cycle and enjoy the associated environmental and health benefits. Sadly, the bad condition of pavements and road edges, poor street lighting and the dangers from speeding vehicles on village roads and country lanes frequently contribute to produce a negative experience – 60% felt that road and pedestrian safety was a significant problem. This is a particular issue for children who may wish to walk or cycle to school - the risks are considered too high by many families. The poor condition of pavements is a serious problem for those with even the slightest mobility difficulties as well as wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. In addition, research showed that the community makes very little provision for those with serious mobility problems for whom walking or cycling is not an option.

It is obvious that reducing car dependency would help solve some of the parking and congestion problems in the village but for most car owners the advantages and convenience of travelling by car far outweigh the health and environmental benefits and no amount of encouragement will change their minds, especially when the weather is poor. However, other communities have succeeded in getting residents to leave their cars behind - so why not Knebworth? A package of measures including safer walking and cycling routes for school children, improved pavement and road surfaces, more secure cycle parking and some high profile community involvement initiatives would be a step in the right direction.

4.0c ASSESSING THE PRIORITIES

In considering the many issues thrown up by the survey, the Focus Group developed a grading system to help assess priorities and risk levels, taking into account safety (especially child safety), speeding, congestion, parking, environmental benefits, inconvenience and consequential positive/negative effects.

Although, for many, ‘congestion’ appears top of the list for annoyance and inconvenience, inevitably resources will need to be focussed on those safety issues which pose the greatest risk to the highest number of people (whilst recognising that congestion and parking problems can cause significant consequential safety hazards).

Combining the results of the Community Survey and the findings of the Focus Group research, the following priorities emerged:

  1. Safety risk to children, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers - especially the ‘High Street’, JMI School, Station Road Bridge, Station Approach, Trussell’s cross roads and junction Milestone Road / Pondcroft Road.
  2. Speeding (excessive and inappropriate) - especially Stevenage Road, London Road, Park Lane, Old Knebworth Lane and rat runs - Pondcroft Road, Gun Lane and Stockens Green
  3. Congestion problems along the ‘High Street’, London Road & Stevenage Road (B197) and consequential effects.
  4. Parking problems in and around the ‘High Street’, JMI School, London Road and Railway Station
  5. The need to improve community/public transport within the parish and to promote walking and cycling with a view to reducing car dependency

It is recognised that there are hundreds of traffic and travel related problems throughout the parish but the Action Plan will focus on those which were highlighted by the community survey and the subsequent research. This will be regularly updated and residents can report recurring problems to the Parish Plan Team (John Catt 01438 233919).

4.0d ACTION PLAN

It is clear that an integrated, holistic approach will be needed to have any hope of resolving some of these issues and the Focus Group recommends that the best way forward is to prepare a Village Travel Plan (incorporating a School Travel Plan) in association with the Parish Council, police, highways and parking authorities, schools, businesses and the wider community. Village Travel Plans are formally recognised by the authorities and can also attract grant funding.

In an attempt to break down the issues into more manageable and interrelated sections, the Focus Group suggests the following project action areas:

ACTION AREA 1 – The ‘High Street’ / London Road and surrounding area

ACTION AREA 2 – The Railway Station and surrounding area

ACTION AREA 3 – Safety, speeding and rat-runs

ACTION AREA 4 – Public and community transport, walking and cycling.

ACTION AREAS 1 AND 2

4.0
ACTION PLAN - Traffic, Transport & Parking
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

GENERAL ACTIONS and POLICIES applying to all Action Areas
4.0.1
Initiate and support Village Travel Plan (including School Travel Plan) project
4.0.2
Influence planning applications to ensure that new developments have adequate parking provision
4.0.3
Resist developments within and beyond the parish which may contribute to parking and congestion problems
4.0.4
Be alert to opportunities to improve parking and traffic flow in conjunction with new developments
4.0.5 Help to reduce car dependency and encourage walking, cycling and use of public/community transport within the parish
4.0.6 Ensure thorough feasibility and modelling carried out prior to any alterations and ensure correct sequence of projects to avoid unnecessary work
4.0.7
Consider the needs of those with mobility problems and seek to improve access
4.0.8
Seek to protect village/parish character and avoid too many street signs and road markings (street clutter)
Resources
Resources are not detailed in this section as they are similar for many projects. Volunteers and community groups will be able to contribute to some elements, especially publicity and campaigning to influence the decision makers. Support from District Councillors and our MP will be crucial.

Funding and technical aspects will require specialist advice at later stage.

Costs for most projects are likely to be High.

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

4.1
ACTION AREA 1 HIGH STREET / LONDON ROAD and side roads
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims # To improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and road users with special consideration for children.
  1. To improve traffic flow along the B197 (‘High St’/London Road)
  2. To alleviate parking problems in the village centre
  3. To maintain/improve the commercial viability of the village centre.
  4. To reduce car dependency for short journeys within the village
Lead
Parish Council and Village Travel Plan Group
Contributors
Herts Highways, North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, Police, JMI School and parents, Stepping Stones Pre-school and parents, residents, village businesses, landowners, district and county councillors and local MP.
Ref.
LOCATION and Problem
SUGGESTED ACTIONS

Subject to feasibility and funding

4.1.1
‘HIGH STREET’(London Road between Watton

Road and St Martin’s Road)

SAFETY RISK to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles/drivers due to:

  1. Busy school route – children most at risk
  2. Chas Lowe trade and delivery vehicles
  3. Vehicles accessing Lowe’s sand yard 4. Delivery vehicles to other commercial premises
  1. Narrow carriageway/parked vehicles

  2. Vehicles mounting pavement when parking 7. Pedestrians crossing between parked vehicles

8. Difficult pedestrian crossing point at north end (outside Trussells)
Liaise with highways authorities

Initiate Village Travel Plan and School Travel Plan projects

Work with Lowes to minimise impact of their operation

(including options for relocation)

Work with businesses to minimise (or ban) large delivery vehicles in rush hours and at school pick up time

Consider slight widening of carriageway (but note pavements already narrow)

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children) in conjunction with School Travel Plan

Consider ways of making ‘High St’ more pedestrian friendly including use of street furniture

Ensure traffic speeds along ‘High St’ are kept within safe limits if traffic flow is improved (see Section 4.1.2) See Section 4.1.6 for Trussell’s cross roads

4.1.2
‘HIGH STREET’ (London Road between

Watton Road and St Martin’s Road)

TRAFFIC CONGESTION caused by:

  1. Narrow carriageway and parked vehicles
  2. Trade and delivery lorries
  3. Rush hour and school journeys
  4. Diversions from A1(M)
Consequential effects:

1. Safety risk to road users and pedestrians along ‘High St’ and associated rat runs 2. Safety risk - impatience/aggressive driving

  1. Damage to parked cars on ‘High St’

  2. Inconvenience/delay

  3. Pollution

Ideas to be discussed with highways authorities:

Parking on one side only or alternate sides

Limited parking during rush hours – including delivery vehicles

Section of double yellow line to create substantial midway passing point

Consider slight widening of carriageway (but note: pavements already narrow)

Encourage walking & cycling to reduce car use for local journeys

Contingency plan for when A1(M) closed

More use of planters/street furniture

Provision of more off-road parking to make up for lost places on ‘High St’

NOTE: If traffic flow is improved, it will be necessary to consider speed reduction measures including:

Possible 20mph speed limit

Gateways to ‘High St’ section

Raised/marked road surface

Imaginative use of street furniture

HIGH
4.1.3
‘HIGH STREET’ (London Road between Watton

Road and St Martin’s Road)

PARKING PROBLEMS caused by:

  1. Shortage of off-road parking spaces (village car park used for all day parking)
  2. Lowe’s - staff, delivery & customer parking
  3. Inconsiderate parking
  4. Parking for school
  5. Narrow carriageway along ‘High St’
Consequential effects:
  1. Safety risks to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers
  2. Congestion
  3. Loss of business to local shops
  4. Damage to parked cars
  5. Inconvenience
  6. Dependence on ‘goodwill’ use of St Martin’s Car Park
Work with NHDC to improve management of existing parking facilities to better meet needs

Work with businesses to reduce/relocate staff parking Work with Lowe’s to minimise impact & consider options

Promote enforcement of existing parking restrictions

(NHDC)

Consider slight widening of carriageway (but note

pavements already narrow)

Investigate acquisition of land to provide more off-road parking (including provision of more secure cycle parking).

Liaise with JMI School and consider School Travel

Plan

Consider community hopper bus

Influence provision of adequate parking for new developments

HIGH
4.1.4
JMI SCHOOL & NURSERY

SWANGLEYS LANE

  1. Safety issues due to illegal and inconsiderate parking by parents
  2. Safety risk to pedestrians - busy crossing point to/from JMI School
  3. Congestion during school rush hours
  4. Consequential parking problems (including dependence on ‘goodwill’ use of St Martin’s Car Park)
Consider School Travel Plan involving staff, parents and children

Study pedestrian movements on Swangleys Lane and consider options for improving safety at crossing point. Promote walking, cycling, car sharing (provide more secure cycle parking)

Consider community hopper bus

Lobby for tougher parking restrictions & improved enforcement

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children) in conjunction with School

Travel Plan

Consider off-road drop off/collection point

HIGH
4.1.5
MILESTONE ROAD

1. Dangerous road junction with Pondcroft Road 2. Safety risk to pedestrians/children - busy school route

  1. Narrow road, poor visibility, congestion from parked vehicles (especially near Jacksons)

  2. Inconsiderate parking

Lobby for double yellow lines at junction with Pondcroft Road

Extend double yellow lines at junction with ‘High Street’

Consider options for improving safety at crossing point

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children) in conjunction with School Travel Plan

Consider additional white lines across driveways or short length of double yellow line on one side to create passing place

Work with Jacksons to reduce on-street parking by junction

HIGH
4.1.6
TRUSSELL’S CROSS ROADS
  1. Busy pedestrian crossing point (school and doctor’s route)
  2. Queuing traffic leads to aggressive driving
Consider options for improving safety on four crossing points (south point is highest priority)

Improve ‘High St’ traffic flow to reduce congestion

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

MEDIUM
4.1.7
LONDON ROAD (Gun Road to Milestone Road)
  1. Safety risk to pedestrians/children (school route) despite zebra crossing
  2. Inconsiderate parking relating to nursery and
JMI School
  1. Inappropriate speeding
(Also see Section 4.3.2)
Initiate School Travel Plan involving staff, parents and children & reduce car use

Create off-road parking at Stepping Stones

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children) in conjunction with School Travel Plan

Encourage pedestrians to use existing zebra crossing

Consider merits of second zebra crossing closer to Stepping Stones (unlikely due to proximity of two other crossings)

Improve school zone warning signs

Consider one-side only parking

Consider School Zone 20mph speed limit

MEDIUM
4.1.8
ST MARTIN’S ROAD
  1. Safety risk to pedestrians/children at junction with London Road (busy crossing point on school route)
  2. Illegal parking for bank and post office 3. Safety risk/congestion – Co-op delivery vehicles
Consider options for improving safety at crossing point including barriers outside bank/post office to improve safety and discourage parking

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children) in conjunction with School Travel Plan

Seek to improve enforcement of parking restrictions and availability of short stay spaces in village Work with Co-op to minimise day time deliveries

MEDIUM
4.1.9
VILLAGE (Co-op) CAR PARK
  1. Not enough short stay parking - used for long stay by local staff
  2. Congestion/safety risk – delivery vehicles and access to premises
Consider pay & display to limit long stay parking or reserve part car park for short stay only.

Work with businesses to reduce/relocate staff parking Work with Co-op to carry out risk assessment & minimise day time deliveries.

Consider acquisition of adjoining land to enlarge car park

MEDIUM
4.2
ACTION AREA 2 RAILWAY STATION, STATION RD BRIDGE and surrounding area
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims # To improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and road users with special consideration for children
  1. To reduce dangers and inconvenience caused by commuter parking associated with the railway station 3. To improve facilities, security and parking at the railway station
Lead
Parish Council and Village Travel Plan Group
Contributors
Rail Operators, Herts Highways, North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, Police, commuters, residents, local businesses, landowners, district and county councillors, local MP, bus service providers, secondary schools and pupils.
Ref.
LOCATION and Problem
SUGGESTED ACTIONS

Subject to feasibility and funding

4.2.1
STATION ROAD BRIDGE
  1. Very narrow, dangerous pavement - high risk to pedestrians, especially pushchair and wheel chair users. Busy route to station, school, nursery and school buses.
  2. Narrow roadway not wide enough for two-way traffic
  3. Blind spots on approach
Ideas to be discussed with highways authorities: Consider single lane highway under bridge with traffic light control - in conjunction with Section 4.2.2. (but ensure thorough feasibility and modelling)

Consider barriers on pavement to protect pedestrians

Investigate options to extend railway subway to east side of the bridge and create access way.

Improve signage/warnings on approach to bridge.

4.2.2
STATION APPROACH & GUN LANE

JUNCTION

  1. High risk to pedestrians crossing Station Approach - poor visibility, wide road, speeding traffic (school, pre-school, station and secondary school bus point route)
  2. Inappropriate speeding - especially from Park Lane direction.
Ideas to be discussed with highways authorities:

Consider light controlled crossing in conjunction with Section 4.2.1

Consider warning signs, road markings or coloured tarmac to alert drivers and slow traffic

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children)

Keep sight lines clear (e.g. shrubs by Station House and undergrowth on railway embankment)

4.2.3
STATION ROAD, KERR CLOSE &

PONDCROFT ROAD JUNCTION

  1. Safety risk to pedestrians and drivers. (Busy pedestrian route for school, nursery, station and secondary school buses)
  2. Confusing junction with various problems - poor sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians, drivers often seem ‘surprised’ by give way/mini roundabout, inappropriate speeding from east and west, cars from west veer right to avoid parked cars opposite newsagent, parked cars obscure sight lines of crossing point outside newsagent, risk due to pedestrians crossing between estate agent and north side of Station Road
Ideas to be discussed with highways authorities: Carry our further studies of pedestrian and traffic movements

Consider options for improving pedestrian safety Improve driver ‘awareness’ on approach to roundabout/ give way requirement.

Consider removal of parking spaces opposite newsagent and replace with double yellow lines to improve driver sight lines of crossing point and prevent vehicles veering into oncoming traffic Discourage crossing to and from estate agents corner

Promote road safety awareness for pedestrians

(especially for children)

N.B. Wide turning area into Kerr Close needed for high vehicles unable to use bridge and large vehicles turning right from Pondcroft Road.

MEDIUM
4.2.4
PARK LANE (Station to Deards End Lane)
  1. Inappropriate speeding (risk to nursery school children)
  2. Commuter parking reduces road to single lane with insufficient passing places
  3. Parked cars on north side cause safety risk to cars trying to exit driveways and side roads – poor sight lines.
  4. Poor condition and narrow pavement Station to Deards Wood – risk and inconvenience to pedestrians.
Improve warning signs and consider 20mph School

Zone near nursery school at Trinity Church

Seek to improve off road parking at the station Consider early morning parking restrictions to limit commuter parking

Consider stretch of double yellow line to provide longer passing place between Deards Wood and

Deards End Lane

Record pavement condition as part of parish- wide pavement survey and discuss with relevant authorities

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems (e.g. removal of parked cars will speed up traffic and create greater safety risk)

MEDIUM
4.2.5
LOCAL ROADS - Pondcroft Road, Gun Lane,

Deards Wood, Lytton Fields, Kerr Close 1. Excessive commuter parking turning residential roads into ‘free’ long stay car parks 2. Inconsiderate parking causing safety problems, congestion and major inconvenience to residents

Consider residents parking zones

Consider parking restrictions 7-9am or one hour am and pm.

Persuade rail authorities to take more responsibility for commuter parking

Lobby for rail authority (or other body) to acquire land to increase off-street parking for station

Consider need for additional yellow lines at junctions and passing places plus white lines across driveways

Consider community hopper bus for village commuters

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

MEDIUM
4.2.6
SCHOOL BUS PICK-UP POINTS & ROUTES
  1. School children at risk at bus pick-up/drop off points on station forecourt, Station Road and Pondcroft Road. No defined waiting zones or shelter in poor weather.
  2. Congestion/safety problems caused by buses using Pondcroft Road.
Study bus and child movements

Consult school children and parents

Arrange suitable risk assessments and liaise with schools, bus operators and County Council Consider alternative bus routes and safer pickup/drop off points but note that school buses need to be able to turn around somewhere in the village and double deckers may not be able to pass under the railway bridges.

MEDIUM
4.2.7
KNEBWORTH STATION CAR PARK
  1. Insufficient parking to cope with daily demand during the week.
  2. Many commuters prefer to park for free in local roads
  3. Poorly managed and security/safety issues
  4. Used by traders for overspill parking
Persuade rail authorities to take more responsibility for commuter parking

Lobby for rail authority (or other body) to acquire land to provide additional parking

Work with commuters to establish journey lengths and ideas for disincentives

Consider hopper bus for village residents

Encourage walking and cycling (incl. secure cycle parking)

Improve security – more lighting & CCTV

Monitor trader parking and liaise with rail authorities & traders

MEDIUM
4.2.8
KNEBWORTH STATION
  1. Station complex in need of upgrade
  2. Lack of security especially when ticket office closed and after dark
  3. Inadequate parking and poorly monitored
  4. Antisocial behaviour/vandalism
  5. No access to platforms for disabled, wheelchairs, pushchairs
  6. Lack of information/unwelcoming for visitors 7. Poor waiting conditions/safety risk for secondary school children waiting for buses.
Work with rail authorities to provide an effective program of maintenance and security (including introduction of CCTV)

Lobby for disabled access to platform

Research feasibility of opening subway to east side of railway

Provide information boards/maps for visitors

Lobby to improve appearance of forecourt area Work with pub and police to discourage antisocial behaviour

See Section 4.2.6 re school buses

MEDIUM
4.2.9
STATION ROAD

1. Safety issue - pavements in poor condition and north side is too narrow to allow wheelchair/pushchairs to pass

Record pavement condition as part of parish-wide pavement survey and discuss with relevant authorities

Consider options for widening north pavement, if any.

MEDIUM
4.2.10
KERR CLOSE CAR PARK (privately owned) Underused by owners/staff due to security problems - prone to vandalism.
Consider options for acquiring/leasing the car park for public and commuter parking subject to adequate security measures such as CCTV.
MEDIUM
4.3
ACTION AREA 3 SAFETY, SPEEDING and RAT RUNS
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims # To improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and road users with special consideration for children
  1. To address the problems associated with excessive (over the legal speed limit) and inappropriate speeding within the parish.
  2. To promote road safety awareness amongst pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders with special consideration for children.
Lead
Parish Council and Village Travel Plan Group
Contributors
Herts Highways, North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, Police, commuters, residents, local businesses, landowners, district and county councillors, local MP, bus service providers
Ref.
LOCATION and Problem
SUGGESTED ACTIONS

subject to feasibility and funding

4.3.1
STEVENAGE ROAD - B197

1. Congestion causes consequential safety/speeding issues around village 2. Excessive or inappropriate speeding

  1. Delays - long traffic queues especially in rush hours and if A1(M) closed

  2. Risk to pedestrians and congestion due to lorries parking on Stevenage Road waiting to deliver to Chas Lowes

Improve 30 mph speed limit signage

Install speed cameras or flashing signs (done) Reduce traffic speed approaching village from the north

Create obvious gateway into village (started)

Consider options for improving traffic flow through

‘High Street’ to reduce queues (see Section 4.1.2) Work with Lowes to minimise disruption from delivery vehicles and consider site relocation options Consider options for delivery vehicle parking bays Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

4.3.2
LONDON ROAD - B197

( south of Milestone Road)

1. Congestion causes consequential safety/speeding issues around village 2. Excessive or inappropriate speeding

3. Delays - long traffic queues especially in rush

hours and if A1(M) closed

(Also see 4.1.7 for pedestrian crossing and school/nursery/pre-school parking problems.)

Improve 30 mph speed limit signage/surface markings

Install speed cameras or flashing signs

Reduce traffic speed approaching village from the south including possible ‘gateway’ into village Consider options for improving traffic flow through

‘High Street’ to reduce queues (see Section 4.1.2) Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

4.3.3
OLD KNEBWORTH LANE
  1. High accident rate
  2. Used as rat-run
  3. Dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
  4. Blind bends and lack of passing places
  5. Inappropriate speeds
  6. Dangerous junction with Park Lane
Improve sight lines and passing spaces

Improve warning signs

Investigate possible changed priority at junction of

Park Lane and Old Knebworth Lane including option of T-junction

Improve traffic flow through village to reduce rat-run effect

Consider parallel off-road path for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

HIGH
4.3.4
PONDCROFT ROAD
  1. Used as rat-run to bypass the ‘High Street’
  2. Inappropriate speeding
  3. Safety risk from congestion/parking/narrow road at northern end, especially with school buses
  4. Dangerous junction with Milestone Road
  5. Commuter parking
Improve traffic flow through High Street (see Section

4.1.2) and car parking provision at railway station Consider traffic calming measures including possible better signage, surface measures, etc

Consider alternative routes (if any) for school buses

(see Section 4.2.6)

Consider parking restrictions (early am or 1hr am and pm) to reduce commuter and staff parking

Consider residents’ parking zones

Lobby for double yellow lines around Milestone Road junction

Consider additional white lines across driveways at north end

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

HIGH
4.3.5
GUN LANE
  1. Used as rat-run to bypass ‘High Street’
  2. Inappropriate speeding
  3. Dangerous junction with Station Approach
  4. Dangerous junction with Gun Road Gardens (blind exit from Gun Road Gardens and child crossing point near local shop) 6. Commuter parking north end
Improve traffic flow through ‘High Street’ (see Section

4.1.2) and car parking provision at railway station Improve speed limit signs and consider surface measures

Study traffic and pedestrian movements at junctions and suggest options

Carry out further research on effects of commuter parking and if necessary consider parking restrictions at north end (early morning or 1hr am and pm). Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

HIGH
4.3.6
PARK LANE (west of Deards End Lane)
  1. Dangerous junctions with Old Knebworth
Lane and Gypsy Lane
  1. Inappropriate speeding
  2. Dangerous pedestrian crossing point near Gypsy Lane (main pedestrian route between
Knebworth village and Old Knebworth.)
Study traffic movement at junctions and suggest options

Consider speed limit reduction on unrestricted section Improve speed limit signage on entry to Knebworth village from the west

Create safe crossing point for pedestrians (including children) between pavement routes

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

MEDIUM
4.3.7
STOCKENS GREEN & GYPSY LANE
  1. Used as rat-run to bypass ‘High Street’
  2. Inappropriate speeding
Improve traffic flow through ‘High Street’ (see Section

4.1.2) to reduce rat-run effect

Improve speed limit signs and consider surface measures

(Note: Stockens Green is a Conservation Area)

MEDIUM
4.3.8
GUN ROAD BRIDGE
  1. Dangerously narrow pavement
  2. Safety risk from ‘black tunnel’ effect when approaching from west side
  3. Close to dangerous junction with Gun Road Gardens and Gun Lane
Improve warning signs

Paint southern wall in light colour or install lighting Consider barrier along pavement to protect pedestrians

Review traffic and pedestrian movements at junctions in vicinity

MEDIUM
4.3.9
DEARDS END LANE

Safety risk for pedestrians and cyclists

  1. No pavement
  2. Inappropriate speeding
  3. Used as rat-run to bypass ‘High Street’
  4. Blind corners and overgrown hedges
  5. Blind bend at railway bridge
Improve traffic flow through ‘High Street’ (see Section

4.1.2) to reduce rat-run effect

Improve warning and speed limit signs/surface markings

Encourage residents to cut back hedges

Fully investigate repercussions of any schemes to avoid creating or moving problems

(Note: Deards End Lane is within a Conservation Area)

MEDIUM
4.3.10
WATTON ROAD
  1. Congestion/traffic queues at cross roads
  2. Busy pedestrian crossing point at Trussells 3. Inappropriate speeding – blind bends, busy east/west route and used as rat-run

4 High risk to pedestrians and cyclists east of Bell Close – no pavement/cycle lane.

5. Vehicles illegally turn left into Old Lane from Watton Road

See Section 4.1 for points 1 and 2

Review 60mph speed limit on eastern section

Improve warning signs, road markings and sight lines

Consider parallel pathway/cycle path

Review movements, priority and signage at junction with Old Lane

LOW
4.3.11
COUNTRY LANES
  1. Safety risk to pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders due to speeding traffic and poor condition of road edges and verges
  2. Some used as rat-runs to avoid ‘High Street’
  3. Inappropriate speeding
Improve traffic flow through ’High Street’ (see Section

4.1.2) to reduce rat-run effect

Consider suitability for ‘Quiet Lane’ designation Improve warning signs/surface markings ( in keeping with rural character)

Improve road surfaces and edges

LOW
4.4
ACTION AREA 4 PUBLIC / COMMUNITY TRANSPORT, WALKING & CYCLING
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims
  1. To encourage walking and cycling for journeys within the parish and reduce car dependency for local travel

  2. To improve convenience and cost of public/community bus services within and beyond the parish

Lead
Parish Council and Village Travel Plan Group
Contributors
Bus and rail service providers, Herts Highways, North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, Countryside Management Service (CMS), police, commuters, residents, local businesses, JMI school, pre-schools/nurseries, secondary schools, district and county councillors, local MP
Ref.
LOCATION and Problem
SUGGESTED ACTIONS

Subject to feasibility and funding

4.4.1
SAFE ROUTES FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN

(JMI School, pre-schools/nurseries and

secondary schools) Problems:

  1. Dangerous crossing points
  2. Excessive or inappropriate speeding
  3. Parking problems
  4. Inconsiderate parking around schools
  5. High car dependency
  6. Safety at secondary school bus pick up/drop off points
Set up School Travel Plan group to identify favoured journey routes and danger spots, work with schools, parents and children to promote walking, cycling and car sharing.

Toughen parking restrictions and improve enforcement near schools.

Promote road safety awareness for children Consider village hopper bus.

Consider options for off-road drop off/pick up points and

‘walking bus/crocodile’ routes

Work with relevant authorities to improve safety along favoured school walking routes.

Study school bus movements and consult children and parents, arrange suitable risk assessments and liaise with schools, bus operators and County Council

4.4.2
PAVEMENTS, PATHWAYS & ALLEYWAYS

Various problems causing safety risk and inconvenience and particular problems for disabled, pushchairs and wheelchair users. General frustration and confusion about reporting problems and getting them resolved.

  1. Poor condition of surfaces

  2. Steep camber

  3. Too narrow

  4. Poor lighting

  5. Overgrown

  6. Litter and dog fouling

  7. Lack of seating/rest places

Clarify ownerships and responsibilities

Publicise reporting procedures

Set up team of volunteers to carry out parish-wide pavement and pathway survey and assess priorities.

Influence relevant authorities and landowners.

Address ongoing maintenance issues

Improve routine checking procedures

4.4.3
CYCLE ROUTES
Cycling around the village/parish is often hazardous and unsafe for children
  1. Narrow roads

  2. Parked cars

  3. Excessive or inappropriate speeding

  4. Poor condition of road surfaces/edges

  5. Dangerous country lanes

  6. Lack of secure cycle parking

  7. Lack of designated cycle lanes

Set up volunteer team to identify favoured routes and network opportunities within and beyond the Parish.

Record problems and opportunities

Consider suitability of rural roads for ‘Quiet Lane’ designation

Improve secure cycle parking provision in village centre

4.4.4
BUS SERVICES
  1. North/south service (300 +301) is frequent but considered expensive
  2. East/west service inconvenient and underused (44, 45 +379)
  3. Community Survey results and Focus Group research suggests need for parish hopper bus 4. Secondary school buses - safety issues (see Section 4.2.6) and need to maintain essential service
Improve awareness of bus services

Work with providers to review east /west services

Lobby for cheaper fares/smaller buses

Prepare case for local hopper bus and lobby relevant authorities, service providers and fund sources.

Review safety of secondary of school bus waiting zones and resist any proposals to withdraw dedicated school buses.

4.4.5
COUNTRY FOOTPATHS & BRIDLEWAYS
  1. Lack of awareness and underused
  2. Inappropriate use by motor vehicles, bikes and horse-riders
Work with Countryside Management Service to promote awareness of useful routes, networks and appropriate users

Improve signage and surface condition where necessary

4.4.6
COUNTRY LANES
  1. Safety risk to pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders due to speeding traffic and poor condition of road edges and verges
  2. Used as rat-runs to avoid ‘High Street’
  3. Excessive or inappropriate speeding
See Section 4.3.11
4.4.7
RAIL SERVICES

Rail service generally considered good but improvements needed to station and parking

No action required for rail services

See Sections 4.2.7 and 4.2.8 for station improvements

File:Media/image35.png

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5.1 LOCAL SERVICES

Being a relatively large village, Knebworth supports and needs a variety of local services which many residents consider essential to their quality of life. For example, 99% of survey respondents agreed that it is important for the village to have its own Post Office. In particular, the elderly and those without access to a car are dependent on such services being based in the village. Residents also feel that they help promote a sense of community spirit and village identity.

Knebworth’s proximity to Stevenage poses a real risk to some of these services as providers seek to minimise overheads. However, the survey clearly shows that residents would strongly oppose their loss or reduction.

5.1
LOCAL SERVICES
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To resist the loss of essential village services such a GP, Library, Chemist, Post Office, Bank
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
Service providers, North Herts District Council, District Councillors, County Councillors, Local MP, CDA for Herts
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
5.1.1
Seek to retain/improve GP surgery in the village
See Section 3.2
5.1.2
Seek to influence decision makers and planning policy regarding potential loss of any services
Work with Parish Council to monitor planning applications and policy changes

Respond to any threats

Campaign & enlist support of elected officials Ensure adequate alternative provision where changes are made

5.1.3
Seek to retain/diversify village library
See Section 2.4
5.1.4
Encourage the community to support local services
Work with service providers to brainstorm ideas

Consider setting up Community Association (see

Section 1.1.3) to promote networking

Improve publicity

5.1.5
Seek to maximise quality of local services
Carry out survey to identify problems and opportunities

Feed back results to service providers

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

5.2 SHOPS AND BUSINESSES

Over 50 shops and other businesses are based in Knebworth parish, mostly small enterprises but with a few larger employers such as Chas Lowe, Knebworth House/Estate/Barns and Odyssey Health & Fitness Club. Many provide employment opportunities for parish residents but a significant number of staff also commute into the village by car.

The survey shows that a good variety of local shops is considered important and there is concern about the loss of retail units along the ‘High Street’. The Co-op is popular but comments show that residents also highly value the butchers and bakers and would also like to see a greengrocer.

Following meetings and surveys with shop/business owners, their priorities were identified as parking/traffic congestion, crime/unsociable behaviour* and the future of Lowe’s yard (whether they stay or go). The need to improve the ‘High Street’ and for better communications between the business community and the Parish Council were also highlighted.

*Since the community survey, CCTV has been installed along the ‘High Street’ and crime figures have reduced.

5.2
SHOPS AND BUSINESSES
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim # To support the local economy and employment opportunities for those living in the parish.
  1. To help maintain a diversity of retailers in Knebworth Village centre
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
Highways and Parking Authorities, business community, Lowes, NHDC planning dept, police, teenagers, website, parish magazines
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
5.2.1
Consider options for relieving traffic congestion through the village centre
See Section 4.1.2
5.2.2
Review and seek to improve parking provision for customers, shoppers, delivery vehicles and staff within the central High St area
See Section 4.1.3
5.2.3
Work with local businesses regarding the Chas Lowe ‘effect’, both good and bad, giving special consideration to the potential implications should Lowes decide to relocate and possible future uses for their site/s.
See Section 6.1.3

Consult with business community

Work with Lowes to minimise problems and maximise opportunities

5.2.4 Work with local police and shop owners to help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour
CCTV cameras already installed and helping to reduce crime figures

Consult shop owners to identify particular concerns

Obtain records of incidents to get true picture Ensure police resources targeted as required

Raise awareness of reporting procedures

Consider warning system amongst traders

Work with teenage community- see Section 1.5

5.2.5
Seek to improve the ‘High Street’ and Station Road to attract customers and improve trading conditions (in conjunction with any highway projects dealing with congestion and parking)
Work with Parish Council, property owners,

traders and authorities

Seek funds to engage professional consultant to produce outline scheme & budget Establish feasibility and funding options

Campaign/influence decision makers

Research funding

Consult residents and business community

Consider competition to collect ideas

Involve school children

5.2.6 Promote local employment opportunities
Support local businesses

Encourage businesses to advertise vacancies in village media

Improve local media coverage

5.2.7
Consider options for influencing planning decisions relating to the loss of Class 1 retail in Knebworth Village centre e.g. by the introduction of Supplementary Planning Guidance or by influencing the new North Herts

Local Development Framework.

Work with Parish Council and discuss options with NHDC planning dept. Seek professional advice

Liaise with property owners

Influence emerging Local Development

Framework

5.2.8
Increase awareness of and encourage residents to use local services, businesses and shops.
Work with business community to brainstorm ideas e.g. loyalty schemes, village guide, review existing publications/advertising/ website, consider electronic newsletter
5.2.9
Improve communications within the business community and networking opportunities between businesses, the Parish Council and the rest of the community
Consider setting up Knebworth Business

Association and/or Community Association – also see Section 1.2.6

Suggest Parish Council hold occasional surgeries or yearly meeting for shop and business owners

Consider business community newsletter

5.3 TOURISM AND KNEBWORTH HOUSE

With its national and international reputation, rich heritage (see Section 6.4) and excellent transport links, there seems to be unexplored potential to develop Knebworth’s tourist-related commerce which may benefit the local community, provided that the rural nature of the parish is not affected, especially as regards traffic congestion.

The Community Survey shows that Knebworth House and Park is considered a valuable asset to the community. Many residents visit the House/Park but would like to see lower entrance charges and family season tickets to encourage greater use. There is also concern about the management of major events. There are currently limited opportunities for Knebworth House/Estate, parish residents and businesses to network and discuss mutual business, employment and tourist opportunities.

There is no local tourist information service and the village website is aimed more at community information rather than visitors.

Focus Group research highlighted the need to be prepared for the 2012 Olympics.

5.3
TOURISM AND KNEBWORTH HOUSE
LOW

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To consider opportunities for developing tourism which would benefit the community and the local economy whilst protecting the rural character of the parish.
Lead
Volunteer Action Group reporting to Parish Council
Contributors
Parish Council, North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, tourism organisations, land/property owners, business community, local hotels and guest houses, Knebworth Estate / Lytton Enterprises / Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust, rail authorities, village website
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
5.3.1
Develop a parish tourism strategy with particular concern for transport and accommodation issues and large-scale events at Knebworth House (also see Heritage, Section 6.4).
Work with Parish Council, Knebworth House, business community and existing tourism organisations. Identify opportunities and consider implications

Research funding options

Prepare strategy/action plan

Review village website

Establish communication network for major events at Knebworth House

5.3.2 Improve networking opportunities between Knebworth House, local residents and businesses
Consider setting up Knebworth

Community Association - see Section

1.2

Suggest greater use of parish magazine

Improve opportunities for two way communications

5.3.3
Assess the potential opportunities (and problems) relating to the 2012 Olympic Games, bearing in mind Knebworth’s world-wide reputation, excellent rail links and proximity to London, with particular reference to transport and accommodation.
Invite stakeholders to brainstorm problems and opportunities and prepare an action plan

File:Media/image38.jpg

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Environment and Housing

File:Media/image40.jpg

Knebworth Parish Plan

Environment and Housing

6.1 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

6.1a COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS

In terms of land-use issues, the survey results and subsequent research showed:

Priorities as:

  • Traffic congestion and parking
  • The future of Chas Lowe’s yard
  • Retention of local services and shops
  • Protection of countryside/avoid coalescence with Stevenage

Support for:

  • Refurbishment of the railway station
  • Keeping Lowes somewhere in the Parish
  • Provision of a village green/square in Knebworth Village
  • Safeguarding local character and important buildings
  • Improving sporting facilities
  • Limited housing development on village edges to raise funds for village improvements

Opinion split on:

  • Need for secondary school in the parish
  • Need for a village bypass
  • Need for affordable housing

Possible need for:

  • A new Health Centre/GP Surgery
  • A small indoor community sports centre in Knebworth Village
  • A mixed use Community Centre e.g. library, GP surgery/clinic, youth cafe  A village focal/meeting point e.g. Green or Plaza

6.1b GENERAL PLANNING POLICY

The parish of Knebworth falls within North Herts District Council planning area and covers the two settlements of ‘Old Knebworth’ and ‘Knebworth’ and various outlying properties in the rural areas. For administrative purposes, the two settlements are usually classed as one village but they are geographically divided by a swathe of Green Belt countryside and the A1(M). For planning purposes they are classed as two separate settlements; Old Knebworth is a ‘settlement within the Green Belt’ most of which is within a Conservation Area where development is highly restricted. ‘Knebworth’ is classed as a village ‘excluded from the Green Belt’ (the Green Belt boundary surrounds the built up area) in which development may be permitted. There are two Conservation Areas within the village; Stockens Green and Deards End, along with numerous listed buildings. Much of the parish countryside is classified as Green Belt (or Rural Area beyond the Green Belt) and falls within a Landscape Conservation Area.

Knebworth Park and Estate covers much of the western part of the parish. The House is Grade II* Listed and numerous associated buildings are Grade II Listed. Within the Park, St Mary’s Church is Grade I Listed. The park and gardens are classified in the North Herts Local Plan as Historic Parks and Gardens with numerous listed Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas. As such, development controls are extremely tight in the vicinity of Knebworth House and within the Park.

Current planning policy for the parish is dictated by the North Hertfordshire Local Plan 1996 pending the introduction of the new

Local Development Framework which is due on line in 2008/9. This is dependent on the outcome of the emerging East of England Plan. If accepted in its current form, the East of England Plan will result in a massive house-building program in Hertfordshire, so increasing pressure for villages to expand and for development within the Green Belt.

DEFINITIONS

(for the purposes of this document)

Knebworth Parish:

Knebworth Village:

As shown on map on back cover
Main part of village east of the A1(M)
Old Knebworth: Original part of village west of the A1(M)

Section of London Road between Watton Road and St

Martin’s Road
High Street:
Knebworth Parish Plan

6.1c SPECIAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS

i) BROWNFIELD SITES

Within Knebworth Village there are several sites worthy of mention where future changes could have an impact on the dynamics of the village. These are:

  • Chas Lowe Yards, London Road
  • North Herts Homes Hostel, London Road
  • Doctors’ Surgery, Station Road
  • Telephone Exchange, Swangleys Lane
  • Library, St Martin’s Road

Chas Lowe Yard

By far the most significant site is the Lowe’s yard. Lowes have publicly acknowledged that they have outgrown the site and are keen to find more suitable premises in the local area. Being in the centre of the village and on the main road, redevelopment of the site would have a major effect on village life and could provide a make or break opportunity to resolve traffic and parking problems and generally improve the ‘High Street’ area. Many Written Comments in the community survey expressed concern about losing Lowes from the village and the likely effect on the local economy but 61% would support redevelopment of the yard and feel it is time for Lowes to move out (although 72% would like to keep the business somewhere in the parish if possible). There were numerous ideas on how the site could be used including health centre, village green/plaza, parking, mixed use retail/residential/café and community centre.

There is particular concern that any development should not contribute to parking and traffic problems – vehicular access to and from the ‘High Street’ would have serious implications for safety and congestion. Alternative vehicular access from Milestone Road would also be fraught with problems – this narrow road is already heavily congested with parked cars, some from the garage on the corner. The junction with London Road is a busy pedestrian crossing point for children and families using the JMI school/nursery and Stepping Stones Pre-school. For drivers and pedestrians, the junction with Pondcroft Road is one of the most dangerous in the village. Access from Station Road would raise similar safety and congestion issues.

Other sites

All the above sites are in convenient locations in the village centre and attractive to residential developers. However, there is concern that the village economy and general quality of life would suffer if retail outlets, local employment opportunities and essential community services are lost.

Questions have also been raised as to how the local infrastructure would cope with more homes and more residents – Knebworth primary school is already struggling to find places for all village children and the GP surgery is stretched to capacity and threatened with closure.

It is clear from the Community Survey that traffic safety, congestion and parking issues would need to be priority considerations for any development proposals within the village boundaries.

  1. GREENFIELD SITES

Inevitably, there are various ‘greenfield’ sites beyond the village boundaries which could be considered to have development potential but such sites were not specifically included as part of the Community Survey discussions. However it is worth noting that 50% of survey respondents acknowledged that there may be a case for limited housing development on the village edges if it provided funds for major village improvements. (32% were against any such ‘enabling’ development and 18% had no opinion). Any development proposals would need further public consultation and would have to balance the potential benefit to the community against residents concerns about loss of countryside and coalescence with Stevenage.

  1. KNEBWORTH HOUSE & ESTATE

In its quest to restore and maintain the fabric of the building and secure the long term future of Knebworth House as a heritage asset, the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust is obliged to consider development and land sale opportunities to help finance essential maintenance work. As host parish to this unique historic building and leisure facility, the Knebworth community may well face some difficult decisions on whether it should adopt a more flexible approach to development proposals which would help raise essential funds but which in normal circumstances would be considered unacceptable in planning and conservation terms. Public consultation would be needed to gauge community opinion on specific proposals including any opportunities for ‘enabling’ development which could directly benefit the Knebworth community as well as Knebworth House.

KEY:

Shaded Action Land-use/planning implications

Funds Low (less than £2,000), Medium (£2000 to £10,000), High (more than £10,000).

6.1
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To guide the future development of the parish of Knebworth for the benefit of its community
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
North Herts District Council Planning Dept, NHDC Councillors, Local MP, Landowners, Farmers, CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), Chas Lowes, Stevenage Borough Council
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
6.1.1
Support projects to resolve traffic congestion and parking issues as

identified in Section 4 and resist developments which would aggravate such problems.

Influence North Herts planning policy

Campaign on specific proposals

Seek professional advice where needed

6.1.2
Support Chas Lowes in making the best use of their High Street premises whilst minimising inconvenience, traffic congestion and safety risk to other businesses and village users.
Maintain dialogue with Peter Lowe

Influence working practices

Liaise with village businesses

6.1.3
In the event that Lowes should decide to relocate outside the village (they have indicated that they are in need of larger premises), work with Lowes and seek to influence the redevelopment of the existing site(s) to ensure the best outcome for the village economy and the residential community with special reference to Section 106 improvements.
Liaise with Peter Lowe

Liaise with NHDC Planning Dept

Seek expert advice from planning and traffic consultants

Consult with residents and business community

Consider options for part/all community

ownership and funding

Identify Section 106 priorities

6.1.4
Seek to protect the local countryside and avoid coalescence with

Stevenage (also see Section 6.2.2)

Influence North Herts planning policy

Influence Stevenage BC planning policy Influence Government and Regional planning policy

Seek expert advice

6.1.5
Seek to ensure that infrastructure deficits e.g. traffic congestion, school places, GP services, water supply, etc are provided for when considering new housing

development within the parish.(see

Section 6.3.2)

Influence North Herts planning policy

Seek expert/professional advice where needed

6.1.6
Support the local economy and help to maintain a diversity of retailers in

Knebworth Village centre. (see

Section 5.2)

Establish criteria for maintaining ‘healthy’ local economy - liaise with businesses, landlords, NHDC & take professional advice. Influence North Herts planning policy to strengthen case against loss of Class 1 retail use along ‘High Street’ and Station Road.
6.1.7
Consider the pros and cons of enabling development where the possible loss of parish countryside could be justified by providing (directly or indirectly) housing or other facilities for local needs and/or major improvement projects within the Parish and for the benefit of the parish community. But only if it can be shown that there is community support for such development.

(also see Section 6.3.7)

Identify options

Identify ‘improvements’ wish list/priorities

Discuss with landowners

Discuss with NHDC planning dept

Carry out financial feasibility

Take professional advice – property, finance, planning, traffic

Consult community on specific proposals

6.1.8
Be proactive in preparing for current changes in national planning policy, the new North Herts Local

Development Framework and Regional/Government housing policy which may result in a review of Green Belt boundaries around the villages and the enforced provision of additional housing to help meet regional, county and district targets.

(also see Sections 6.2.3 and 6.3.6)

Carry out research

Promote awareness amongst parish councillors, district councillors and other decision makers. Where necessary seek expert/professional advice

Assess implications and prepare action plan

Consult the community

Campaign

6.1.9
Encourage sensitive design of new development throughout the parish and seek to protect the general character and sense of greenness within the villages (especially in designated Conservation Areas) whilst recognising the importance of variety and innovation in architectural styles. (also see Sections 6.4.3)
Seek to influence NHDC planning policy and decisions relating to planning applications. Consider local information leaflet for those considering building work – useful

contacts/websites, NHDC guidelines, Parish Council procedures, Knebworth Estate consents, Conservation Area requirements, etc plus advertising for village building related businesses.

6.1.10
Following suggestions raised in the Community Survey and feedback from the KPP Focus Groups, consider the possibility of influencing the provision of the following developments within the parish:
  1. A new Health Centre/GP Surgery
  2. A small indoor community sports centre in Knebworth Village
  3. A mixed use Community Centre e.g. library, GP surgery/clinic, youth cafe
  4. A village focal/meeting point e.g. Green or Plaza
Parish Council to carry out basic feasibility checks and bear in mind when opportunities arise for redevelopment, enabling development, Section 106 works and funding (capital and ongoing)

6.2 COUNTRYSIDE

Despite its proximity to London and Stevenage, much of the parish countryside is still farmed and retains a rural character. For planning purposes, the land is classified as ‘Green Belt’ or ‘Rural Area beyond the Green Belt’ and large sections fall within a designated Landscape Conservation Area. The parish is privileged to host the beautiful historic park and gardens of Knebworth House, complete with herds of red and sika deer. It also boasts the landscaped acres of the Lutyens-designed Knebworth Golf Club and several Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Sites of Wildlife Significance. All in all, the parish is guardian to a uniquely rich swathe of Hertfordshire countryside.

94% of survey respondents value the local countryside and cite it as one of the main reasons for living in Knebworth – it is also highly valued for leisure pursuits and access along public rights of way. Many Written Comments highlighted the importance of protecting Knebworth’s village status and the need to avoid becoming a suburb of Stevenage.

Focus Group discussions highlighted the need to improve awareness of and familiarity with the countryside, its management and natural heritage, especially amongst children and teenagers. It was felt that a village map showing public rights of way, boundaries and places/features of interest would be an essential tool in promoting awareness and encouraging local walking and cycling. Comments also suggest that many paths and bridleways are in need of improvement and better signage. However, such initiatives would need to balance the difficulties associated with unauthorised use of footpaths and trespass on to private land. A mapping project would also help to clarify district/political/authority boundaries and aid discussion on possible beneficial changes.

Other ideas for protecting the countryside included creating opportunities for community involvement with farming and conservation projects such as planting community woodlands and orchards or sharing management of existing woodlands. New planning regulations will also mean that ’biodiversity’ will become an important consideration in any development or enhancement projects within the countryside and landowners/managers may need support in identifying opportunities.

The Countryside Management Service suggests that the best way to progress such projects and attract grant funding would be to incorporate them into a formal Parish Environmental Action Plan.

6.2
COUNTRYSIDE
HIGH

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aims # To preserve Knebworth’s essence as a rural parish and seek to protect and enhance the local countryside
  1. To oppose development that may result in coalescence with Stevenage.
  2. To improve awareness of and access to local countryside and public rights of way whilst discouraging unauthorised use of public rights of way and private land.
Lead
Parish Council
Contri butors
North Herts District Council, NHDC Councillors, Local MP, Stevenage Borough Council, Herts County Council,

Landowners, Farmers, Ecology experts, CMS (Countryside Management Service), CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural

England)

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
6.2.1
Seek to protect the local countryside and avoid coalescence with

Stevenage (also see Section 6.1.4)

Influence North Herts planning policy

Influence Stevenage BC planning policy Influence Government and Regional planning policy

Influence local politicians and councillors

Where necessary seek expert advice

6.2.2
Seek to influence planning decisions which may damage the countryside whilst being alert to opportunities for improving biodiversity with particular reference to new development.
Respond to relevant planning applications Carry out parish (or part parish) ecological survey with trained volunteers.

Identify opportunities for improving biodiversity Research latest national planning policy on biodiversity.

6.2.3
Be proactive in preparing for current changes in national planning policy, the new North Herts Local

Development Framework and Regional/Government housing policy which may result in a review of Green Belt boundaries around the villages. (also see Sections

6.1.8 and 6.3.6)

Carry out research

Promote awareness amongst parish councillors, district councillors and other decision makers. Where necessary seek expert/professional advice

Assess implications and prepare action plan

Consult the community

Campaign to influence decision makers

6.2.4 Produce maps, map boards and leaflets to educate and familiarise the community as regards boundaries, rights of way, natural features, sites of interest, heritage and natural history.
Identify type of map(s) most needed.

Investigate copyright or cost of producing own

Prepare budget for maps, boards and leaflets

Obtain funding

Produce, install, distribute, publicise

6.2.5
Produce a Parish Environmental

Action Plan

(PEAP)

Set up volunteer action group

Identify priorities

Obtain advice/support from the Countryside

Management Service (CMS)

Seek advice on grant funding

6.2.6
Consider options for supporting farmers and land managers in their efforts to maintain/safeguard countryside and wildlife and improve biodiversity
Consult farmers and landowners

Seek advice from CMS, Herts & Middlesex

Wildlife Trust and the National Farmers Union Increase public awareness

Incorporate proposals in Parish Environmental

Action Plan – see Section 6.2.5

6.2.7
Improve signage for public rights of way to increase awareness and help limit trespass.
Liaise with the CMS and Herts County Council

Find out about Parish Paths Partnership

Identify rights of way and where signs needed Produce pathway/rights of way leaflet Increase awareness of types of PRoW e.g.

where bikes and horses are allowed

6.2.8
Promote greater appreciation of and involvement with the management of the parish countryside, particularly for children/teenagers e.g. hedge laying and surveys, harvesting, guided nature walks, field centre and bird watching.
Approach CMS for ideas and guidance

Seek out local expertise/volunteers

Find out about training volunteer opportunities Approach farmers and landowners, JMI school and teenagers

Prepare budget and research funding

6.2.9
Consider community ownership or management of elements of the Parish’s natural heritage, e.g.

woodlands, meadows, orchards.

(also see Section 6.4.7)

Identify opportunities/sites

Find out about similar initiatives elsewhere

Approach landowners

Seek expert advice on feasibility

Prepare budget and research funding

6.2.10
Pursue improvements in both the natural and the built environment through community-involved research and studies that assist the planning authorities and build on existing studies such as the Hertfordshire Landscape Character

Assessment (HLCA)

Work with CMS and planning authorities to identify opportunities Research local history

Study HLCA

Work with landowners

Promote awareness and community involvement

6.2.11
Investigate grants for land management, village schemes, heritage initiatives, woodland projects and parish paths.
Seek advice on grant funding from CMS and carry out internet research
6.2.12
Consider initiatives for making alternative provision for those who abuse public rights of way e.g.

horse-riders using footpaths, motor vehicles/bikes using bridleways.

Find out about similar initiatives - gauge success

Consult horse and bike riders and landowners

Research insurance/liability/costs

6.3 HOUSING

The Community Survey results showed that 61% of respondents would be against further housing development around the villages with loss of countryside, coalescence with Stevenage and infrastructure problems cited as the main concerns. However, 21% would support limited housing development and this figure rises to 50% if the development provides funds for village improvements i.e.

enabling development.

Opinion was split on whether the village needs more ‘affordable’ homes (45% saying Yes and 48% No) with strong views about where such housing would be built and the possible loss of countryside. However, it was evident from the Written Comments that there is much confusion about the definition of ‘affordable’ housing with some thinking it is social/housing association homes and others thinking it means lower cost market housing suitable for those who can just about afford to get on the housing ladder such as first time buyers, young families and key workers. The Focus Group felt that a clear definition of the various housing types is needed to allow proper debate on the subject of affordable housing. The Group suggests the following definitions:

  • Affordable Housing: subsidised housing, either for  Market Housing: other market value homes of all rent or for sale (through shared ownership types, for rent or for sale. schemes) suitable for those people who are not
able to afford to buy or rent market housing. Also  Market Retirement Homes: market housing for sale known as Social or Housing Association Homes. to over 55s
  • Low Cost Market Housing: lower cost market  Special Needs or Adapted Housing: social or housing, either for rent or for sale, suitable for those market homes suitable for those with special needs people who can just about afford to get onto the

property ladder, in particular first time buyers, young  Self Build: suitable sites for self-build market value

families and key workers. homes

On the question of ‘housing need’, Focus Group research suggests that there is pent up demand for both Social and Market housing from those living in, or with close ties to, the parish and this is confirmed by discussions with Estate/Letting Agents and by the 2004 CDA Housing Needs Survey which identified the need for approx 21 additional social/housing association homes, mainly one and two bedroom, to cater for village people.

Further research would be required to clarify the ‘market’ housing need but Estate Agents suggest that there is a gap in the market for larger but reasonably priced (£300,000 to £350,000) family homes for those moving up from a first home – this means that growing families are often forced to move out of the village. The survey comments also mention lack of low-cost housing for key workers.

Regardless of local opinion, future Government housing policy (in the shape of the East of England Plan) could mean that Hertfordshire will face a massive house-building programme over the next 15 years. Even if the 3,600 home development to the west of Stevenage goes ahead, it is likely that North Hertfordshire District Council will still be looking to find space for thousands of new homes, with local towns and larger villages such as Knebworth being the most likely target for such development. Any additional housing will increase pressure on Knebworth’s already fragile infrastructure and increased local traffic generated by the West of Stevenage development is a particular concern.

The Focus Group findings suggest that Knebworth should prepare itself for ‘imposed’ housing allocations and possible changes to Green Belt boundaries. At some stage it may be appropriate to establish a policy* on whether the community wishes to fight all development proposals or whether some degree of expansion would be considered acceptable and sustainable and, if so, where it could best be accommodated bearing in mind the availability of brownfield sites within the village boundaries and infrastructure problems such as traffic congestion, parking, water supplies, school places and GP services.

*In October 2006 the Parish Council held a public meeting to discuss their Green Belt policy. Since 1996, Parish Council policy was to oppose ANY development proposals within the Green Belt. In light of current threats and opportunities, the meeting voted to change the policy to allow the Parish Council to at least ‘consider’ development proposals within the Green Belt which may directly or indirectly benefit the parish community, provided that any specific proposals would be put to a community vote.

6.3
HOUSING
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To broker a balance between local and national housing need and local desire for a rural community
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
Residents, CDA for Herts, North Herts District Council, North Herts Homes, Landowners, Local MP
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
6.3.1 Produce a parish housing strategy
Parish Council to set up working party

Seek advice from CDA for Herts (Duncan

Adams)

Consider employing consultants

Consider specialist training for volunteers where needed

6.3.2
Seek to ensure that infrastructure deficits e.g. traffic congestion, school places, GP services, water supply, etc are provided for when considering new housing development within the parish (also see Section 6.1.5)
Influence North Herts planning policy

Seek expert/professional advice where needed

6.3.3
Agree a definition of ‘affordable housing’ and other housing types to allow further debate on the question of local need.
Parish Council to Liaise with North Herts and CDA for Herts and agree definition
6.3.4
Clarify the housing need of the community for affordable and other types of housing
Research CDA and North Herts statistics

Seek advice from CDA for Herts

If necessary, commission independent report

6.3.5
Consider opportunities for providing affordable (social) and special needs housing to cater for parish needs (as identified in a Housing Needs Survey) and secure its long term provision for those living in or with close connections to the parish.
Clarify ‘need’ with CDA for Herts and North Herts Homes.

Examine options on sites

Research funding options (including enabling development - see Section 6.1.7)

Research legal implications of ‘right to buy’ Publicise availability of grants for house adaptations to improve existing stock

6.3.6
Be proactive in preparing for current changes in national planning policy, the new North Herts Local

Development Framework and Regional/Government housing policy to ensure the best outcome for the Knebworth community (also see Sections 6.1.8 and 6.2.3)

Carry out research

Promote awareness amongst parish councillors, district councillors and other decision makers. Where necessary seek expert/professional advice

Assess implications and prepare action plan

Consult the community

Campaign to influence decision makers

6.3.7
Identify options, if any, for sustainable expansion and enabling development (see Section 6.1.7) to provide for future parish housing need, possible infrastructure improvements and national housing requirements whilst seeking an acceptable balance between making best use of brown field sites (previously developed) and avoiding over-development/congestion in Knebworth Village centre.
Identify local need and demand for all types of homes

Research Greenfield and Brownfield site options Identify ‘improvements’ wish list/priorities Liaise with North Herts planning dept. Carry out financial and environmental feasibilities

Take professional advice – property, finance,

planning, traffic, ecological

Consult community on specific proposals

Influence North Herts planning policy

6.4 CHARACTER AND HERITAGE

Old Knebworth is the original settlement which developed around Knebworth House and still retains its rural, historic charm. Many of its buildings are Listed and within a Conservation Area and in planning terms it is well protected with strict guidelines covering alterations and new development.

Knebworth Village has evolved since the arrival of the railway station at the end of the 19th century and part of its charm is the diversity and variety of architectural designs. There is no single overriding style which dictates its character although main thoroughfares tend to be red-brick housing dating from Victorian, Edwardian and the 1920’s periods. There are numerous listed buildings including several designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, many of which are within the two Conservation Areas of Stockens Green and Deards End. The ‘High Street’ is not typical of a ‘pretty’ rural village and is commercial in character – written comments suggest that it is in need of a ‘facelift’. There is a general sense of ‘greenness’ throughout the village which gives it the semi-rural feel that is so highly valued by its residents. This ‘greenness’ can be partly attributed to the surrounding countryside and partly to the green spaces within the village such as the recreation grounds and Stockens Green and perhaps most importantly the abundance of trees, garden hedges, amenity land and grass verges.

75% of respondents to the Community Survey considered it important to safeguard local architectural styles but the question ‘what styles?’ appeared frequently in the Written Comments. The need to protect ‘important’ buildings such as St Martin’s and St Mary’s churches, Knebworth House and Lutyens designed buildings was also highlighted. There were some calls for stricter controls on the quality and sensitivity of new design but Focus Group research established that a full Village Character Assessment or Village Design Statement would not be appropriate.

The Focus Group also found that there is a general lack of awareness of the history of the parish and the rich heritage within the built up areas and the surrounding countryside and suggested that more effort could be made to involve the community in researching and celebrating the history and heritage of the built and natural environment.

6.4
CHARACTER AND HERITAGE
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To protect and enhance the character and heritage of the parish’s built and natural environment
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
North Herts District Council, North Herts Councillors, Local MP, Rail Authorities, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire

Buildings Preservation Trust (HBPT), CMS (Countryside Management Service), Land and Property Owners, Herts County Council (HCC)

Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
6.4.1
Seek to protect Knebworth’s village identity and avoid becoming a suburb of Stevenage.
Influence North Herts planning policy and decisions
6.4.2
Seek to improve (but not ‘prettify’) the ‘High Street’ and the railway station area
Influence North Herts Planning policy Consider improvement schemes

Consult businesses and property owners

Approach rail authorities

Research funding and seek professional advice

Consult commuters and village users

Campaign

6.4.3
Encourage sensitive design of new development (including extensions) throughout the parish (especially in designated Conservation Areas) whilst recognising the importance of variety and innovation in architectural styles (also see Section 6.1.9)
Seek to influence NHDC planning policy and decisions relating to planning applications. Consider local information leaflet for those considering building work – useful

contacts/websites, NHDC guidelines, Parish Council procedures, Knebworth Estate consents, Conservation Area requirements, etc plus advertising for village building related businesses.

6.4.4
Protect the sense of ‘greenness’ within the villages by resisting development of amenity land and open spaces and loss of trees, hedges and grass verges.
Influence NHDC planning policy and decisions Research options for affording greater protection to ‘valued’ spaces and views.
6.4.5 Promote initiatives to celebrate and Identify opportunities MEDIUM Funds – Med protect ‘important’ buildings and the Consult with land and property owners Volunteers environmental heritage within the Liaise with CMS, NHDC and HBPT, HCC Publicity parish, both built and natural, whilst Consider Heritage Day/Trail/’Leaflet, mapping Expertise respecting the needs and wishes of projects, community involvement exercises, land and property owners especially school projects, history society, etc. as regards privacy and security. Prepare action plan and costing

(also see Sections 1.1.5 and 6.5.5) Research funding

File:Media/image41.png6.4.6 Consider measures to improve Seek advice from North Herts planners MEDIUM Influence protection of the ‘streetscene’ of key Identify key roads and features Volunteers roads (which are important to village Investigate Supplementary Planning Guidance Expertise character) by tightening controls on Consult residents/property owners Public Opinion changes to building frontages and rooflines, front gardens and pavement boundaries such as walls, fences and hedges.

6.4.7 Consider community ownership or Identify opportunities/sites LOW Funds- High management of elements of the Find out about similar initiatives elsewhere Volunteers

Parish’s natural heritage, e.g. Approach landowners Expertise

woodlands, orchards or meadows. Seek expert advice on feasibility Prof. Advice (also see Section 6.2.9) Prepare budget and research funding Public Opinion

6.5 MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC AREAS

Many Written Comments related to the poor maintenance of footpaths, pavements, roads, hedges, grass verges, recreation grounds, public toilets and amenity/common land. There was also concern about faulty lighting, litter, petty vandalism and flytipping and general frustration about getting problems resolved. It was also evident that there is confusion over which authorities are responsible for what, with many residents believing that the Parish Council has responsibility for all public land/property.

6.5
MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC AREAS
MEDIUM

PRIORITY OVERALL

Aim
To foster the maintenance and improvement of, and respect for, public areas and facilities such as pathways, alleyways, roads, recreation grounds, verges, hedges, amenity land, common land, burial grounds and public conveniences.
Lead
Parish Council
Contributors
North Herts District Council, North Herts Homes, Herts Highways, Herts County Council, District Councillors, Landowners, Countryside Management Service, Residents Associations, JMI School and Youth Groups
Ref.
SUGGESTED ACTION
HOW
6.5.1
Feedback survey results and comments to Parish Council and other authorities
Info already passed to Parish Council

Identify other contacts and set up meetings and inspections

6.5.2 Clarify and publicise ownerships and responsibilities.
Find volunteers to research ownerships and mark up maps
6.5.3 Publicise channels of communication e.g. problem reporting telephone numbers, especially amongst teenagers.
Research contact details and consider various options for publicising – leaflets, parish magazine, library, notice boards, credit card notes, etc

Consider feasibility of a village contact/volunteer who can pass on details or give advice.

6.5.4.
Seek volunteers (perhaps involving teenagers) to set up teams to carry out checks, report problems and influence action.
Set out terms of reference

Invite volunteers

Ask teenagers for ideas

Establish effective reporting and follow up system

6.5.5
Foster a greater sense of pride of place, particularly amongst children/teenagers

(also see Sections 1.1.5 and 6.4.5)

Hold workshop to pool ideas/recruit volunteers

Liaise with school children and teenagers

Community involvement – competitions (art, photos, poetry, etc), favourite places, litter picks, open gardens, guided walks, teenage activities

Consider Village of the Year Competition

Research sponsorship and funding

6.5.6
Consider alternative options, beyond local authority budgets, for funding improvements.
Identify improvement opportunities e.g. new public toilets

Carry out feasibility and costing

Research funding including sponsorship

Street Maps

Street Maps

Maps and aerial photos on pages 65-67 and on the back cover supplied by LaMis.

Base mapping © Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017381. Aerial imagery supplied by UK Perspectives.

Aerial Photo

AERIAL PHOTO OF CENTRE OF KNEBWORTH VILLAGE

Financial Report and Acknowledgements

FINANCIAL REPORT

When the Parish Plan project was launched back in December 2003, the Government was offering grants of up to £5,000 through the Countryside Agency to encourage rural parishes to prepare Parish Plans. Unfortunately the funding pot ran dry just as Knebworth’s grant application was submitted and, due to scheduled changes in the structure of the Countryside Agency, there was no prospect of an alternative source. The Parish Plan Team decided to carry on regardless and took on the challenge of raising £4,800 to cover the estimated cost of carrying out the community consultation and preparing and distributing the Parish Plan document. This estimate did not include time, services and general expenses donated by members of the Parish Plan Team, Focus Groups and other volunteers which, when taken into account, would probably give a true cost of more than £10,000.

With support from the Parish Council, Knebworth Village Trust and various other organisations listed below, the target of £4,800 was reached in Jan 2006.

Funds are held at Lloyds Bank in an account which is hosted and administered by the Parish Council. VAT is recoverable via the Parish Council.

Summary of Income and Expenditure for preparation and distribution of Knebworth Parish Plan 2007:

Jan 04 to March 05 Income 1825.07
(15 month period) Expenditure 585.42
Balance at Y/E 1239.65
April 05 to March 06 Income 3000.00
Expenditure 945.16
Balance at Y/E 3294.49
April 06 to March 07
Income
0
Expenditure 555.47
Balance at Y/E 2739.02
April 07 forward
Estimated Income
0
Estimated Expenditure 2739.02
Estimated Balance at end of project
0

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Parish Plan Team and the Parish Council would like to thank everyone who has contributed, in any way, to the project with special thanks to:

All volunteers involved with the Focus Groups

CDA for Herts (Community Development Agency)

Countryside Management Service

North Herts District Council Community Development Officers

Area Police Constables and PCSOs

Clerk to Knebworth Parish Council

Denise Weaver

Triographics Printers

Knebworth Scout & Guide Group

Trussell’s Butchers

We are also grateful for grants and donations received from:

Knebworth Parish Council

Knebworth Village Trust

Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - Parish and Town Plans Grant

North Herts District Council – Southern Rural Area Grant Aid

North Herts District Council – Councillors Bardett and Wordsworth, Ward Discretionary Budgets

Hertfordshire County Council – Local Agenda 21 Community Award

Knebworth Twinning Association

Knebworth Estate Office & Knebworth Parish Council for use of halls and meeting rooms

Notes

This page was generated by converting the 2007 Parish Plan from a pdf to a word document and thence to mediawiki markup. All images, and quite a bit of formatting were lost in this process. Steve H, 3 July 2016.