Page01 - Micklefield Hall appeal

Controversy over Micklefield Hall plans

Attempts to convert the barn at Micklefield Hall, Sarratt Road have become a cause celebre as various arguments flow back and forth (see pages 8 and 12). 

This is is a Grade II listed building and the conversion would change it from agricultural use to an events and function venue. There would be intemal and extemal alterations. Landscaping and a parking area would be included. 

Much local opposition has been apparent including that of the Association. Now the battle has become fiercer and the owners have gone to appeal which will be held later in the year as a public enquiry by the agreement of both parties Three Rivers District Council refused planning permission for these reasons in the Council's words: The proposed development would lead to an intensification in activities at the site with a resulting increase in traffic movement on the local road network throughout the year to the detriment of highway safety. Any highway improvements to increase capacity and safety would be at the expense of changing the rural character of the area. In addition, the site is not accessible by altemative modes of transport and as such the proposal is contrary to the policies and objectives set out in Govemment guidance PPGI3 Transport, the County Council’s Local Road Policy, and confirmed in the Local Transport Plan and Policy T7 of the Three Rivers Local Plan, 1996-2011

Critics of the application were asking how much further one can go if road development starts to alter the structure of the rural landscape. There are dangers of interruption of the country landscape and total urbanisation of our tightly-packed countryside. Other arguments earlier advanced pointed out that the Government’s ambition, whether feasible or not. is to reduce carbon emissions before 2050 by 80 percent. There is also the M25 and the pollution problem with .Iunction I8 showing considerably more danger than the otlicially accepted limit. All of these factors impinge on the surrounding landscape. At the same time wc face a legal challenge from Europe to reduce pollution (see page 2). Any scheme likely to add to it should be out of step with the general consensus and bring general disapproval both here and abroad. Much, therefore, will depend on arguments advanced and whether planning and 8environment policies are sufficiently co-ordinated. Residents in their objections have shown worry about the narrowness of the roads and lanes with some front gates opening on to the roads where there are no pavements.