Symondshyde Farm sits between the Central Hertfordshire towns of Hatfield and St Albans. Building on local tradition, and the villages scattered across the countryside, the landowner, Gascoyne Estates, is proposing to build a new rural village fit for the twenty-first century and contribute a thousand homes to the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan.
Working closely with the landowner, and through engagement with the communities surrounding the farm as well as those working there, Brooks Murray developed a masterplan for the new village. This will evolve in close dialogue with local communities as the WHBC Local Plan progresses.
Villages are an intrinsic part of the English countryside. They are associated in our minds with clean air, space, serenity and rustic beauty. Symondshyde provides a rare opportunity to plan coherently for new housing and new infrastructure, and to demonstrate a sustainable way of building new communities for future generations to enjoy. The landowner, Gascoyne Estates, aims to create a place with distinctive local character that embraces modern sustainable standards. The aim is to build a true village in the Hertfordshire tradition, and an exemplar for sustainable development across the country.
The Symondshyde masterplan has been designed from the existing traces on the ground, the marks left by preceding centuries of human and natural activity: the Great Wood, bridle paths, streams, mature hedgerows and other marks. These dictate a natural shape, size and feel of the new village plan.
Its design has also been based on an extensive study of existing villages across the county. Working closely with Gascoyne Estates, whose local knowledge is both deep and extensive, the team explored what makes each village attractive, and why, before the 2016 charrette process. This led us to understand and bring to the design the charming aspects a self-sustaining English village: a thousand homes, a community centre, a church, a local pub, a restaurant and country shops.
The Symondshyde masterplan contributes around 1,100 new homes, a new primary school and substantial workspace to the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan. Space is also allocated for horse livery, community allotments and other outdoor amenities and community spaces.
It is envisaged that the development would link closely with, but exist distinctly from, Coopers Green – the proposed urban extension to Hatfield contributing around 2,000 homes to the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan.
Both sites are currently being considered by an independent examination of the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan.