There are many things to be proud of living in the Parish of North Mymms. The Royal Veterinary College is one of them. The six-acre Royal Veterinary College Hawkshead Campus is situated in rolling Green Belt land between Brookmans Park and Potters Bar.

It is recognised as the oldest college of its type, training vets and treating animals of all shapes and sizes. It is not unusual to drive down Hawkshead Road and to find yourself being eyed up by a large doe eyed Alpaca.

However…..One of the most important events this month was a presentation by the RVC to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council at a Development Consultation Forum on the 2 November of their Master Plan for the Hawkshead Campus.

The Consultation Forum enables councillors and the public to obtain more information and understanding about proposed large scale planning applications. It does not bind members or the council to a decision but is a fact finding exercise for councillors to ask questions and identify major issues. Councillors cannot express an opinion at the Forum about the development or the proposals

The RVC explained their plans to expand by 400 students and increase the size of the site by about one third. This is not a planning application but an explanation of their intentions and will include much needed updating of existing buildings. The information they gave was restricted to the Campus and did not include their wider land holdings in the area. At the meeting, while we expressed our recognition of the RVC’s significance to the area, we registered our concerns regarding the urbanisation of this site, the risk of further encroachment into the Green Belt and the risk of coalescence between Potters Bar and Brookmans Park. We urged the RVC to produce plans for the whole of their local estate.

As you are all aware, the RVC have submitted development proposals in the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan for 297 dwellings on Green Belt land immediately north of their site, 225 dwellings immediately east of their site and 40 dwellings on the west of the site. How these proposals might affect their Campus development was not explained. As well as the RVC proposals, an independent developer has submitted a planning application to Hertsmere Borough Council for a 20,000 panel Solar Farm located in the narrow Green Belt gap between Potters Bar and the RVC. If all these developments were allowed to go ahead, the result would have a catastrophic effect on this piece of Green Belt land.

Although the many residents of North Mymms are supportive of the work that the RVC carry out, it would be fair to say that this encroachment into the Green Belt could have serious repercussions with the erosion of the Belt becoming smaller and smaller until there is no division between Potters Bar, The RVC, Brookmans Park, Welham Green and Hatfield.

NMDGBS has already objected to previous applications, raising our concerns that the continued development of this site is harming the openness of the Green Belt and increasing urbanisation at the Campus, by virtue of elements such as lighting and harming the visual amenity of the Green Belt.

All of our members are fighting hard to retain our precious Green Belt. In order to do so we need the support of as many Parishioners as possible. All we ask is that you become a member of the Green Belt Society; this costs £1.00 per year per person. If you are not a member please join. If you are already a member please ask your neighbours to join. We do not ask you to become involved in the running of the committee or to attend any meetings, just your support by becoming a member and ensuring that your membership is renewed each year. Our subscriptions run from 1 January to 31 December. Please make a note in your diary to renew/join the North Mymms District Green Belt Society from the New Year. You will be preserving this beautiful part of the country for your children to enjoy.

Application forms can be downloaded from our website and the completed form, along with your subscription can be dropped in to ‘Incidentals’ in Welham Green, ‘Brookmans Park News’ or posted with a cheque made payable to NMDGBS to Mrs A. Higgens, 8 Bluebridge Avenue, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7RZ.