Our plans for Woodcock Hill Village Green
To download the application please click here.
The proposals put forward by Taylor Wimpey seek the ‘release’ of part of the existing Woodcock Hill Village Green and subsequent ‘replacement’ with a new and larger area of land adjacent to the south-west, which is then to be designated as part of the Woodcock Hill Village Green.
Taylor Wimpey engaged with key local stakeholders and local residents via an online consultation which was launched on Thursday 18th June 2020 and closed on Friday 24th July 2020. Taylor Wimpey reviewed all the feedback received and refined its proposals to create an improved Village Green for the local community.
- Thursday 18th June to Friday 24th July 2020 - Online consultation period.
- Thursday 5th November 2020 - Formal application to Deregister and Exchange the Village Green land submitted to the Secretary of State.
Before its designation as a Village Green in 2008, Woodcock Hill was previously designated as a ‘Reserve Housing Site’ within the 2003 Hertsmere Local Plan, and in doing so, Hertsmere Borough Council recognised the sustainability credentials of the site as being suitable for future residential development.
There remains an acute need for new housing in the Borough. The preparation of Hertsmere’s New Local Plan provides an appropriate opportunity to review the potential benefits associated with the proposed exchange of Woodcock Hill Village Green alongside the release of land from the Green Belt to provide much needed new homes and local infrastructure.
This application is not linked to any potential housing development at this site and is solely related to providing an enhanced Village Green for the local community. However, if this application to Deregister and Exchange the Village Green is successful then Taylor Wimpey intends to promote the release land for residential allocation in the emerging Hertsmere Local Plan.
Local Plan (2003) Policy Map for Borehamwood What's Proposed What's Proposed
Statutory legislation allows for the de-registration and exchange of Village Green land from one area to another. Accordingly, the proposals seek the 'release' of part of the existing Woodcock Hill Village Green and subsequent 'replacement' with a new and larger area of land adjacent to the south-west, which is then to be designated as part of the Woodcock Hill Village Green.
Taylor Wimpey reviewed all of the consultation feedback received throughout June and July 2020 and as a result the proposals have been refined.
Principle changes following the consultation are that the proposed new area of Village Green, defined as the 'Replacement Land', has been increased in size with the effect being that the total Woodcock Hill Village Green is now 0.6 acres larger than at present. The area of the 'Release land' has also been amended so that an entrance to the Village Green is retained on Vale Avenue.
Following feedback received during the public consultation, the application site plan has been amended. The plan on the left hand side below is the consultation site plan, and on the right hand side is the application site plan which retains a pedestrian entrance to the Village Green on Vale Avenue.
This application relates solely to providing an enhanced Village Green for the local community. The following landscape masterplan illustrates how the proposals might look.
Detailed landscape plans can be found within the application.
Landscape StrategyExisting Woodland:
Existing woodland will be retained and further enhanced with some additional tree, understory, and ground flora planting of native species of local provenance. This will serve to increase the diversity of the habitat and provide enhanced opportunities for wildlife.
Appropriate long-term management of the existing woodland, including selective thinning and removal of non-native species, will be carried out to ensure landscape and ecological value are maintained and enhanced.
Open Meadow Grassland and Rough Grassland:
Existing semi-improved neutral grassland currently present on the Replacement Land will be transferred into areas of open meadow grassland and sowed with species-rich meadow mixtures. The open meadow grassland will occupy the central area of the proposed Village Green, supplemented with groups of native tree planting.
An informal surfaced path (such as hogging path) runs in the south-west and north-east orientation which will provide a direct pedestrian route linking Woodcock Hill Village Green to the north-east and Barnet Lane to the south-west. These areas will provide an open space for the local users to carry out passive recreational activities such as walking, jogging, and resting.
Rough grassland with some loosely grouped tree planting is proposed around the two air shafts and will form a natural barrier to dissuade users from approaching the structures, but whilst maintaining a visual connection to them. An information board will detail the history of the air shafts, and retain key vistas to the air shafts, such as from pedestrian access points along Barnet Lane. The rough grassland will also contribute to the local wildlife habitat and further enhance the ecological value of the site.
New woodland and the associated understory and ground flora planting will be provided to the western boundary. These new planting areas will accommodate a pedestrian route through the woodland, with dynamic views along the route, such as channelled views along the woodland, with sudden open views available to the meadow grassland to the east, and semi-open views within woodland glade. Natural play opportunities, such as den making, will be provided along the walk.
The new woodland will also enhance the existing hedgerows and trees and ensure continued and enhanced habitat connectivity.
A proposed ‘forage’ walk will incorporate orchard tree planting of local varieties and edible native fruit-bearing shrubs, and with seating opportunities through the provision of benches or picnic tables along the path. Plant palette oriented towards ‘naturalistic style of planting’ with native or semi-ornamental species. The fruit-bearing species will also provide seasonal foraging opportunities for local wildlife, such as birds, bats, and badgers.
Play on the Way:
Timber based trim-trails will be provided along the mown path that provides a direct footpath link to the Woodcock Hill Village Green to the west, and along a secondary mown path around the air shafts to create a loop route for children that may want to spend more time playing on the trim-trails.
The proposals provide a variety of routes and surface treatments to support a similar variety of recreational activities, including walking, running, cycling and/or horse-riding within the Village Green. Community Benefits Community Benefits
In addition to the proposed increase in the size of the new Village Green, the following enhancements and community benefits are to be delivered:
- The existing Village Green is managed by occasional volunteers and there is no regular source of funding for important works or improvements. The proposals include the establishment of a Funded Management Regime for the new Village Green with ongoing management by a Community Trust or Public Body to ensure associated benefits in perpetuity.
- Improved Accessibility to the new Village Green for a wider section of the Community via a new pedestrian access point on Barnet Lane to the South West.
- Ecological enhancements to existing habitats, management and creation of new habitats increasing the overall biodiversity and ecological quality, such as new wildlife ponds and wildflower meadows, tree planting and removal of non-native species.
- Creation of new areas of informal Open Space including woodland areas, open grassland for informal play, public seating and picnic areas and creation of new formal footpaths and recreational routes (trim-trails) for walking and cycling.