About Us

WDPS's Aims and Objectives

 Stated simply, WDPS’s objectives are to

  • preserve and improve the environment and
  • oppose inappropriate development

 in Wheathampstead and the surrounding area. However, it is not our intention to “preserve” the village and its environs in their existing state, but rather to conserve what is best about Wheathampstead. We accept that there has to be change and that some change is inevitable. WDPS’s aim is to try to ensure that change is managed in the best interests of Wheathampstead as a whole, and that unacceptable developments are not forced on the village against its wishes.

To this end, we try to work with, rather than against, the appropriate authorities and organisations such as the Parish Council.
Diamond Jubilee Garden
WDPS Volunteers at work in the Diamond Jubilee Garden by the riverside in the centre of Wheathampstead
Specifically, the aims and objectives as stated in our constitution are:
  • Preserve and enhance the environment of the village and the surrounding area
  • Promote traditional village enterprises and promote community cohesion
  • Promote employment opportunities within new and existing rural businesses
  • Raise awareness and encourage pride in our village and the surrounding area
  • Oppose inappropriate development within the village and surrounding district.
 In practice the activities on which WDPS concentrates can be summarised as:
  1. opportunities to improve or make better use of the village’s many assets
  2. reviewing planning applications and objecting to any inappropriate development
  3. reacting to external threats to the village
  4. taking part, along with other local organisations, in community-wide initiatives
  5. encouraging energy conservation.

What WDPS does

1. Improving the village and making better use of its assets

WDPS seeks to:

  • to identify opportunities to improve the village or make better use of its many assets
  • to undertake whatever is necessary to make that happen
  • afterwards to carry out any necessary maintenance.

 Examples are:

  • development of the Diamond Jubilee Garden across the River Lea from the Bull
  • maintenance of the Diamond Jubilee Garden
  • development of Bury Green Garden at the junction of Bury Green and Old Rectory Gardens
  • the installation of the red phone box in the High Street
  • the installation of the Community Notice Board outside Tesco
  • recommendations for tighter standards for signage in the village
  • regular cleaning of traffic and similar signs which would otherwise be left dirty and difficult to read
  • annual bulb planting at key locations to enhance the appearance of the village.
Opening of Diamond Jubilee Garden
A crowd assembles for the Diamond Jubilee Garden opening ceremony. The garden is a WDPS project.

2. Reviewing Planning Applications

Opposing inappropriate development in the area means that WDPS gets involved in land-use planning matters when necessary.

 We usually react to planning applications which, in our view, affect Wheathampstead as a whole or have a significant impact on part of it.
 Wheathampstead is a large village set in the Metropolitan Green Belt. The central part of the village is designated as a Conservation Area. We therefore pay particular attention to development proposals:   
  • which may be regarded as inappropriate in the Green Belt or
  • which have a detrimental effect on the Conservation Area or important statutorily listed buildings
  • which, in our view, would significantly damage the architectural, historical and archaeological inheritance of the area.
 We do not get involved in relatively minor planning applications which affect only the immediate neighbours or which, in our opinion, do not have a significant impact on the village as a whole or an important part of it. It is not our role to comment on every planning application in the parish of Wheathampstead: that is a matter for the Parish Council. 

3. Reacting to external threats to Wheathampstead​

Wheathampstead and the surrounding district may be under threat not merely from inappropriate development within the area but from external developments that could adversely affect the village.  WDPS seeks to identify these dangers and to oppose them.
Examples in recent years have been:
  • proposals to increase the capacity of Luton Airport, which could cause more aircraft noise and would almost certainly increase the volume of road traffic in Wheathampstead
  • proposals to change air traffic routes which would result in increased aircraft noise in Wheathampstead
  • road traffic issues affecting Wheathampstead
  • suggestions that the area covered by the Green Belt should be altered
  • the St Albans Strategic Local Plan
  • proposals to develop a new village at Simonshyde.
An aircraft takes off from Luton Airport
Heritage Trail Launch
The launch of the Wheathampstead Heritage Trail

4. Involvement in community initiatives

WDPS frequently partners other local organisations.  These include Wheathampstead Parish Council, Wheathampstead Business Group (WEB), Countryside Management Services and Wheathampstead History Society.

Examples of joint ventures and of taking part in community initiatives are:

  • Wheathampstead Heritage Trail (with the Parish Council and WEB)
  • ‘Wheathampstead’s War’ evening (with the History Society)
  • Village Day and Christmas Lights Up, when each year WDPS has its own stall.

Members of the Committee

The Committee is responsible for determining the strategic direction that WDPS takes.  The current members of the Committee are shown below.

Julie Bell          (Chair)

Nigel Oxley      (Vice-Chair)

Diane Black     (Treasurer)

Richard Brett  (Secretary)

Christine Boyles

Eve Richardson

Iain Begg

Sue Hemming

WDPS Committee

If you would like to join the Committee, or if you are thinking about it and would  like more information, please click here.


Formation of WDPS

Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society was formed in 1995 with the immediate objective of opposing the proposal by Sainsbury’s to build a superstore and petrol station on the former Murphy’s Chemicals site on the edge of the village.
WDPS took the view that the proposed store was too big (22,000 square feet) for a village the size of Wheathampstead, and was effectively an ‘out of town’ superstore that would have attracted custom and traffic from a much wider area. It would also have affected the viability of existing shops and businesses in the village centre. Following a public planning inquiry in 1996, the application was refused by the Secretary of State. The site has since been redeveloped for housing.
The next major campaign for the Society was to fight the proposal by Redlands (now Lafarge Aggregates) in association with Hertfordshire County Council and the Groundwork Trust (now Groundwork Hertfordshire) to re-open Blackbridge Tip, on the outskirts of the village.