Multi Sports Playing Surface at Cow Roast

Living Magazines Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club

Further to our recent story about plans for Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempsted Hockey Club, the AGP Planning Application will be put to the Development Management committee meeting on 15 October and the club is urging local people to support it. They gave us the following update:

Dacorum’s own pitch provisioning plan has identified and acknowledged the critical shortage of the kind of surface and facility we propose in our planning application.

This is great in principle on the one hand, but frustratingly on the other hand Dacorum has already refused permission in Berkhamsted on three other seemingly appropriate sites.

Unbelievable then, to hear that ‘It would be better if the Club was nearer Berkhamsted’!

We honestly believe Cow Roast is pretty ideal geographically for the three major Dacorum conurbations, especially with the bypass running so close to the Club’s grounds giving great access.

It is clearly of public interest that provision for hockey within Dacorum is grossly insufficient.

Planners seem to be hog tied despite enormous public interest that weighs heavily in favour of the development.

Indeed, we understand from planning that this application has received more supporting comments than any application dealt with before, with over 210 supporting comments and 10 councillors publicly supporting us.

The BIG question then is I guess, why are the others sitting on the fence?

The objections re Sustainability, AONB, Ecology and Geography have been well answered and turned expert opinion from No to a big YES!

The time has come to stand up and be counted.

There are another two points that are not strictly planning arguments but they are strongly felt by Northchurch Parish Councillors, who wrote:

Firstly, we are concerned about the frequent spates of minor damage by bored youths at Northchurch Recreation Ground and the allotments etc. Last week vandals caused £1000’s of damage at St Thomas More School in Berkhamsted. We are desperately worried about the consequences of losing the Hockey Club and all the associated sports that you manage. At the same time, the golf driving range is under threat from developers and Northchurch Cricket Club practice nets are on their last legs.

Sporting facilities locally are overwhelmed by demand. We could fill our Recreation Ground football pitch several times over but it’s grass and so can only be used twice a week. The devil makes work for idle hands; we want our youngsters to have somewhere to let off steam.

Secondly, Cow Roast is a vibrant community that people in Northchurch really value. On one side, the marina is a colourful and picturesque reminder of our heritage. On the other, a line of distinctive houses back onto sports pitches and the Hockey clubhouse. Together, they bring about the best of village life: local people enjoying each other’s company, getting fresh air and exercise in beautiful countryside. A financially viable Hockey Club lies at the heart of this community and its members are the glue the hold it together.

We have lost the pub, we cannot lose the Hockey Club too.

Jon Clarke
Chair NPC

If you agree, download the attachment to get involved and/or the FAQ document here, and remember the deadline is 15 October.