Harpenden news reports.       2018                       


My wife and I were privileged to have a private viewing of the panels in February this year. They are incredibly beautiful and still in remarkable condition for their age.

A single image can change the face of History

Portrait imagery was the key aspect of the programme. Images whether painted or photographed could have an incredibly powerful influence on the population. Examples featuring Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and Margaret Thatcher were used to demonstrate this power. Clever or deceptive dependent on your personal position.

Saving the Cottages for the Nation

The current owner, Ms Murphy, from Hertford, explained that she and business partner Alison Wright bought two adjoining cottages, which house the mural between them, specifically to find a way for the paintings to be brought into public ownership.

"The panels should be in the care of the nation - we are committed to finding a way of doing it."

"They are so rare that the paintings must be preserved for both present and future generations, as a sign of those past beliefs and turbulent times," he said.

"We have been pursuing this aim for a number of years and have now launched a public appeal as the only way to preserve them for posterity."

The owner added that if the money couldn't be raised, they would have to apply for a change of use to residential.

Hopefully Simon Schama’s programme will awaken the local Herts authorities to take action now.

Ron Taylor. Editor. Harpendia.com

Hemel’s hidden treasure featured by Simon Schama on BBC TV’s ‘The Face of Britain’ Wed Sept 30

Simon Schama visited Piccott’s End Cottages to show an important aspect of the history of British portraiture, revealing some beautiful and compelling images that demonstrate their eternal power.

Defacing religious paintings

The cottages in Hemel were a resting place for Pilgrims on their journey from Ashridge to nearby St Albans Abbey in the 1530’s. The interior wall panels had been painted extensively with religious murals reflecting imagery of the Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saints. Scenes include Jesus's baptism, St Catherine of Alexandria, St Peter and St Margaret. During the Reformation the faces of Jesus, Mary and the Saints were obliterated (defaced- see below) to make the images powerless in the sight of anyone who visited the cottages. At some time post Reformation the panels were covered by linen and NOT seen again until 1953.


Lots of information is available via the SADC consultation web site. You have to be registered and then trawl through the hundreds of comments made by commercial organisations and residents. Additionally several ‘gems’ of information were shown (briefly) at The Harpenden Society public meeting on Feb 4 at Rothamsted Conference Centre. My reports starting today (March 2) will be revealed during the coming weeks.

The maps below show the Legal and General proposals for 500 homes and  a new primary school.

How did this expensive proposal or ‘Masterplan’ become a ‘live’ option. Find out in more revelations soon. Ron Taylor. Editor.


Residents will be encouraged to walk and cycle via the routes on the map which are going to be improved.

So what happens with all the new cars being added to already congested roads?

The 500 homes development above is not sacrosanct .

A survey has revealed a large number of small scale sites around Harpenden that could be utilised. Another developer has plans for a 50 home site.


Legal & General have huge land interests in NW Harpenden and south Beds (see map below) They have submitted their concepts to SADC (See part letter below) for the yellow area on the map with detailed plans later on this page.


1,000 plus homes could be built by Cen Beds to cope with Luton Housing shortfall in the PINK area of the map-almost in Harpenden, ON LAND OWNED BY LEGAL & GENERAL. READ THE EMAIL BELOW (EXTRACTS) TO SADC EXPLAINING THEIR REQUIREMENTS



June 2017.

Over 2,000 responses from Harpenden residents now analysed to show their considerations for the future of the town.

The charts below  show the overall information.

Transport and Movement

Environment, Sustainability and Design

Employment and retail


Social Infrastructure and Community Facilities


Male 867            42%

Female 1195       58%


Under 16 4 0.2%;   17-24 11 0.8% ;  25-49 623 30% ;   50-64 624 30% ;     65 and over 800 39%


< 1 year  27 1%;                  1 – 5 years  201 10%;         6 – 10 years  211  11%;

11 – 20 years   357  18%;     21 – 30 years    349    18%;   

31 – 40 years   342  18%;     41 – 50 years     267   14%;   

51 – 60 years   110    6%;      61 – 70 years     63     3% ;

70+ years 29 2%

How can the 948 Sports Foundation help Harpenden schools. associations, clubs and individuals?

Read the article below.

     2018 Awaiting news for the Referendum

Mr Stannard
St Albans City & District Council Planning Services
Civic Centre, St Peters Street St Albans
AL1 3JE 

Monday 5 March 2018

Dear Mr Stannard

Re: Prior Approval for Change of Use at Southdown Industrial Estate - references 5/2018/0204, 5/2018/0205, 5/2018/0206, 5/2018/0207, 5/2018/0208

I am writing to you on behalf of both Harpenden Town Council and the Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan steering group to object to the Prior Approval applications that have been submitted for 5 units at Southdown Industrial Estate.

The Town Council has been working with the local community to produce a Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan that sets out a vision for development in the future. The Neighbourhood Plan has been subject to much community engagement and has recently been submitted for Regulation 16 consultation.

Throughout the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, Southdown Industrial Estate has been recognised by local people as an important employment location for the Town. It is felt that this must be protected to help ensure that Harpenden retains a small but productive amount of employment floorspace.

We have a specific policy in the Neighbourhood Plan that states that ‘a change of use to a non-B Class use at this location will not be supported unless it can be demonstrated that the premises are no longer suitable for business use or there is clear evidence that there is no prospect of a new commercial occupier being found’. We have not seen any evidence that suggests that this site is no longer suitable.

Our objection is on the basis that the conditions of Class P do not appear to have been met based on the information supplied with the Prior Approval application. We believe that a formal planning application is required in order to fully consider these conditions.

Our specific concerns relating to the conditions are set out below:

Air Quality – We have concerns regarding the health and wellbeing of future residents. Residents will be living next to industrial units that through their everyday operations create pollution issues.

Contamination – We are aware of the history of this site and are therefore concerned by the lack of evidence submitted by the applicant with regard to what exists beneath the units. We would expect to see the outcome of exploratory work on the site.

Flood Risk – We have concerns regarding surface water flooding and would expect to see a surface water management strategy.

Noise – This is a busy industrial estate that includes many noisy operations at unsociable hours. The industrial estate is also adjacent to a busy train line. This noise pollution would have a negative impact on future residents.

St Albans City & District Council have recently recognised the importance of this site by consulting on and issuing Article 4 Directions which are due to come into effect on 22 March 2018.

An acceptance of this Prior Approval for Change of Use would directly conflict with the views of local communities who wish to protect the location and would have serious implications to the local economy

Yours sincerely

Carl Cheevers
Town Clerk, Harpenden Town Council

Sept 2018. New property investment scheme launch by Harpenden business man

Revitalised Harpenden smash Potton 7-0

New look Harpenden Town thrashed fifth in the league Potton United 7-0 in Rothamsted Park on Saturday Nov 3

Struggling Town are third from the bottom of the Spartan South Midlands Premier league but were on fire with the addition of two future stars in 17-year old Jake Davis and Max Ashton who both scored on their debuts.

Add in a hat trick from Archie McClelland and a crazy wonder goal from Charlie Gould and Potton were outclassed.

Manager Danny Plumb, who admitted this season has seen his toughest start in his manager career, said:"We were a totally revitalised team but it has been a very tough and frustrating  run so far.

" Hopefully this result will give us a lift and get us up the league. I am really really pleased.

"Jake Davis scored on his debut and has fitted in straight away and Max Ashton came off the bench to score twice on his debut. Max has the quality to be a solid striker at this level but there is a lot of hard work to be done."

Harpenden went ahead after 15 minutes when a shot was stopped by Potton defender Jordan Wright on the line for handball which earned him a straight red card. Archie McClelland's pen was parried by the keeper but McClelland cooly slotted the rebound into the corner of the net for 1-0.

Five minutes later Davis, the ex-Stotfold winger, scored on his first start for Harpenden. Jack Baker beat two players on the right close to the by-line and fired in a low cross which Davis side-footed home from the left post.

On 27 minutes ever alert striker McClelland spotted a weak back pass and sprinted into the box beating the keeper to the ball to punch in his second.

Next Charlie Gould scored a sensation goal. The midfielder was 35 yards out, looked up and saw the keeper was off his line and lofted a high lob which hit the bar, bounced over the line then spun back to hit the goalie in the back and rebound back into the net!

Then McClelland was open when he picked up a rebound on the edge of the box raced forward and slotted into the corner for 5-0 and a first half hat trick.

Within minutes of coming on in the second half the other debutant Max Ashton received a pass on the edge of the box, barely looked up and blasted the ball into the corner, 6-0.

And on 58 minutes Ashton headed home his second from a McClelland cross to round off a sensational 7-0 win although Potten had played 75 minutes with 10 men.

This new team showed great promise, centre backs  Matt Sutton and Dwayne Duncan let nothing get past them, Captain Steve O'Rielly ran tirelessly in midfield, Davis and wing back George Robinson were a big threat on the left with their pace and McClelland and Ashton looked deadly together in front of goal.

Harpenden are at home next Saturday in Rothamsted Park against Biggleswade United at 3pm.