The greenest and most elegant new place in England
Little Haldens can become the greenest and most elegant new place in England. Crafted rigorously and with outstanding designers, engineers, landscape and ecology specialists to respect and honour its setting in the Gomm Valley, it will set a new benchmark for high-quality design, place-making, community participation and, in future, sustainable lifestyles and well-being.
Welcome to the Little Haldens, Gomm Valley website


I hope this finds you and your families well and in good (enough) spirits at this incredibly testing time. A huge thank you from Human+Nature, Aviva and the people across our teams to all involved in the essential services – including many hitherto unsung people, occupations and organisations - keeping us safe and sound, fed and otherwise supported in so many vital ways. It’s both grounding and heartening to witness the extraordinary compassion and solidarity in our communities.

As lockdown eases and we turn to the urgent task of regenerating our economy, public services and communities in this new reality, it seems to us that a few themes relevant to our proposals for Little Haldens stand out:

- New homes built in the UK are the smallest in Europe; the homes we build at Little Haldens will generally be bigger than those ‘the market’ provides. While small, well-designed homes can suit many people’s lifestyle and pockets we have to work harder and smarter to plan and design for good layouts and proportions, easy access to quality public and private outdoor space (including generous, functional balconies for apartments) and local amenities such as shops and parks.

- All communities are different, but you know when you’re in one - perhaps never more than during these last weeks. It’s time to champion and support our local shops and suppliers, makers, growers, repairers and trades people. They’re not just there to support us when times are bad but can generally make our everyday lives so much better. And they’re central to the creation of a sustainable economy. At Little Haldens, we’re proposing to build a new public square, easily accessible by foot and by bike for people living in the three new villages as well as those living in homes adjacent to the valley. We’ll celebrate the local! The square will have an independent General Store, a great coffee shop, local bakery, health care and a primary school; we have designed it to be south-facing and sheltered and situated it at the bottom of the valley next to the what will be a beautiful new family park; this will be a lovely place to be…to pause, to rest, to shop, to grab a hot drink in Winter and a cold one in Summer, leaving your bikes on the racks provided and greeting neighbours and friends in a welcoming and convivial public space.

- Lockdown has helped us to appreciate green space and indeed nature more. A sense of openness, the colours and softer textures of plants and trees, the uplifting chatter of birdsong, a place to breathe. We propose in our schemes generally and in Little Haldens especially, that nature is everywhere. Here this will be achieved via the c5000 new street trees, green roofs, hedgerows, pocket parks, mini and maxi green corridors, community gardens, multiple niches for insects and birdlife, and a large swathe of regenerated chalk grassland recovered from the cereal farming that takes place currently. The active management of these precious habitats is a priority for us so that they are protected, enhanced and provide enduring enjoyment for all who live and visit here.

- Clearly, the ban on non-essential movement has come as a rude and unwelcome shock to our economy and a huge disruption for families. But the massive reduction of cars on our roads has highlighted, among other things, the value of fresh, clean air, served as a reminder for many of the joys of walking and cycling and of just how much of our time was previously lost to congestion. Households have begun to inhabit streets again – reclaim them for people – and towns and cities all over the UK and Europe are making plans for improved cycle routes, more generous and well-designed footpaths, and better streetscapes. At Little Haldens, we promote clean vehicles, have designed an elegant spine road – a lane, really, that gently winds its way along the western slopes of the valley connecting the villages and residents to each other and to the square and park; there will be abundant bike parking and a dedicated new lane for children’s cycling and scooting (see below). We intend for this to be a model of the new cleaner, greener, simply more enjoyable and healthy relationship between the need to move and the mode of movement, at least over short distances but perhaps further afield too.

A big thank you to all of you out there who have supported our ideas and proposals and we greatly look forward to having the opportunity to work alongside you in future to bring the qualities and benefits of this fantastic project to fruition.

With kind regards
Jonathan Smales and the whole team
May, 2020
Design and Access Statement Addendum
LITTLE HADENS                                                      
7th May 2020
Planning Addendum Key Changes  

Buckinghamshire Council will start a formal period of consultation from 14 May 2020 following the submission of a revised suite of designs and plans for Little Haldens in the Gomm Valley.  

The planning application submitted in January 2019 was the product of a process of widespread and intensive public consultation and stakeholder involvement and Little Haldens has been refined in response to further review and comments; the revisions we have made reflect a process of refinement rather than wholesale change. These refinements – described and illustrated below - are, we believe, robust and ready and further improve the scheme before it proceeds to Planning committee for determination later this year.

A formal period of public consultation will run for 30 days from 14 May, and as this runs we will continue to be in dialogue with the Highways Authority and Local Planning Authority (LPA) to resolve all outstanding transport and planning matters. When the period of consultation closes, we will work with the LPA to review and agree if any further final changes to the proposals are required.  

The revised pack containing the amendments to the design is available for inspection on the Council’s website using the link below and the application reference 19/05281/OUTEA. Please do review the information and provide any comments you may have through the Council’s portal to ensure they are heard.
Click here to view Council's website
Details can also be found below
What changes have been made
Junction with Cock Lane relocated
The Cock Lane vehicle access point has been relocated to the north-west corner of the site.The new location requires minimal widening of Cock Lane, tying in with proposals for the Ashwells development site to the north.  This location minimises the loss of hedgerow in order to achieve appropriate visibility splays. This is due to the prior widening of the carriageway immediately to the north.  The revised location of the Cock Lane junction also provides an opportunity to improve the public right of way which crosses Cock Lane in this location. Design proposals for the junction include making improvements to the pedestrian crossing environment.  
Street design amended
The Neighbourhood Street - Ashwells Lane - is the main spine road of the Little Haldens neighbourhood and while retaining the elegance and quality of this as a liveable street and lane and defending its function in serving new residents ofLittle Haldens and others living nearby who want to use the newly accessible green spaces and facilities and services in the square (rather than people passing through) we have agreed to the following changes:

- widening the carriageway to 5.5m with regular sustained narrowings of 4.8m to slow traffic and retain the character.

- tight bends have been adjusted to ensure easier navigation for larger vehicles

- introducing pedestrian crossing points at regular intervals throughout the length of the street at intersections of key pedestrian paths. Here, the carriageway narrows to 3.2m, encouraging slower vehicle speeds and safer crossing points.

- Adjustments to kerbside activity to ensure better visibility splays from parking courts.

- A new, continuous 3m wide shared (pedestrian and cyclist) footway introduced on the ‘uphill’ side of the street. This will make it far safer for children to cycle and scoot without impeding people walking.
Layouts and dwellings
We have done more work on the illustrative masterplan to show how the proposed dwellings can be laid out in a sensitive and attractive way, minimising visual impact.  
School site relocated
At the behest of the Education Authority a number of changes have been made to the school site design. These include:   

- relocation to the rear of Little Haldens Square area to make it easier to provide conventional sports and play areas and a site of 1 hectare in total

-  a full-size grass sports area equivalent to a U11football pitch

- revision in the design of the school building to make sure it stands alone without touching other buildings in the square

- reduced the school to 2 storeys in height rather than the 3 we had shown previously

- created a dedicated access and drop-off area  even as families will be encouraged and supported in avoiding car use for school journeys

- re-design of the adjacent residential buildings to ensure that there is no overlooking

- further design studies have also been undertaken to demonstrate that the school building can be easily accommodated on the site.  The building has been designed to DfE standards for a single form entry school.  
Sheltered housing building removed
To accommodate the relocated school site, the sheltered housing building has been omitted from the application.  
Larger parks
The provision of localised play and green spaces has been amended so that there is now one larger park space located within each village area as follows:  

OrchardVillage
The park is located between Parcels 6 & 7 to the north of the small square in Parcel 6with good natural surveillance from surrounding houses.   

HillsideVillage
The park is located to the north of Parcel 11 between the end of the housing area and the footpath in an open area which will benefit from neighbourly overlooking.  
 

UrbanVillage North
A public park is provided here.   

UrbanVillage South
This park is now located to the west of Parcel 23 in the ‘switchback’ of the community street where it is overlooked by adjacent houses. 
Ecological connection between railway and local wildlife site widened and enhanced
The proposed corridor has been widened to be a minimum of 10m including a swale, grass land and an informal avenue of native trees.  
Ecological link between Little Gomms Wood and Pimms Wood widened  and otherwise enhanced
This connection has been widened to be a minimum of 5m and will contain an informal avenue of trees
Removal of paths in the SSSI
The original application showed managed footpaths within the SSSI; the amended proposals show no footpaths within the SSSI.  
Pedestrian and cycle connection to Pimms Grove added
A pedestrian and cycle connection has been added connecting Pimms Grove to parcel 14.  
Building heights reduced in Parcels 9, 11, 14 and 23
The following amendments have been made following further review of the Landscape and VisualImpact of the proposals: 

-  reduced height of southernmost block in Parcel 9 from 3 storeys to 2.  
-  height reduction in development plots around upper street in Parcel 23 from 3 storeys to 2
-  the most prominent development plot inParcel 23 is to be reduced from 3 storeys to 2
-  a gap will be introduced betweenParcels 22 & 23 to reinforce ecological connections
-  a reduced section of the 3-storey block in Parcel 11 backing onto Pimms Grove to 2 storeys
-  reduction in height in parts of Parcel14 from 3 storeys to 2
-  greater symmetry between street tree planting in the parameter plans and key views
-  a reduction in the quantum of tree planting on the south-eastern shoulder in Parcel 20 to retain more of the current character
Street trees
More detail has been provided in regard to the plan for street trees to ensure effective mitigation according to the landscape and visual impact assessment. No such scheme was previously shown on the illustrative masterplan.  
Informal parking added in the Orchard Village (Parcels 4 and 6)
Informal on-street parking has been added to the community street areas in the OrchardVillage (Parcels 6 & 7).  
Parking courts sub-divided into smaller areas    
Parking court shave been reduced in size and enclosed to allow private access only. The parking spaces on the uphill side sit underneath rear gardens to reduce the visual impact of the courts and further increase their security. Spaces on the downhill side remain unallocated for flexible use by the neighbouring residents and continuous runs of parking have been broken up with informal planting. A detailed account of these changes to the illustrative masterplan and parameter plans are described in the DAS Addendum,  Therevisions aresupported by technical analysis contained within the Environmental ImpactAssessment inclusive of drainage and transport strategies. 
Design and Access Statement
Human + Nature & Aviva Investors are delighted to announce that our outline planning application for Little Haldens in the Gomm Valley has been completed and submitted.

We understand and wholeheartedly welcome the responsibility that comes with making an elegant and sustainable new place that respects and indeed honours the valley setting. We greatly look forward to the continuing conversations with local people and organisations across Wycombe to help ensure the vision for the valley is fulfilled and indeed improved upon wherever possible.

You can download the full application here, including the Planning and Environmental Statements and the Design & Access Statement.  

You will be consulted on this application by Wycombe District Council and if you have any questions or comments for the promoters please write to  jonathanandmichael@gommvalley.com

For those of you wishing to comment formally on the planning application you can do so via Wycombe District Council’s website. We will publish a link to the site as soon as we have one.

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Thanks to all who gave up part of their Sunday (November 18) to visit the public exhibition on Little Haldens, Gomm Valley.

The exhibition showed the illustrative masterplan with the three principal character areas or ‘villages’ - Orchard, Hillside and Urban- the landscape plan, key features and ecology strategy, principal connections and streets, an overview of energy, water and waste proposals and some studies on possible design treatments and materials for the homes.

The plans will now be finalised and drawn together in an outline planning application for submission to Wycombe District Council in December.

We look forward to further constructive engagement and conversations to ensure this place honours the beautiful valley, meets housing demand effectively and creates an elegant and super-sustainable new settlement that will stand the test of time.

Human + Nature with Aviva
View Exhibition Boards
Previous Exhibition

The Gomm Valley Community Engagement & Design Event took place over the June 29 - 1 July weekend. It was held at the bottom of the Gomm Valley in the glorious sunshine.

There was excellent representation from the communities adjacent to the site (Pimms Grove, Cock Lane, Tylers Green, Hammersley Lane, Gomm Road and Micklefield) as well as people and organizations from across High Wycombe.

Human + Nature and Aviva were particularly pleased to welcome so many young people; they told us they were interested in the emphasis on design and innovation and the authentic commitment to sustainability, but also in the possibility of perhaps living in the Valley in the future given the likely choice in housing, the appeal of the village square and access to beautiful, open, green space.

People living close by were keen to understand how to connect the existing community to the new community to best effect and were understandably concerned to hear how we can act to minimise impact on the highways network. There was also a strong interest in the landscape and ecology of the valley and both the challenges and the opportunities that the development presents.

We were very pleased with the courtesy extended to our team by local people and organisations. We are in no doubt about the responsibility we have to study deeply, plan carefully, design imaginatively and consult widely to bring forward proposals that can rise to the challenge set by the Development Brief and indeed by our own values and vision. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your further thoughts and questions.

© LITTLE HALDENS 2020
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