An ideal world in Brookmans Park

Brookmans Park is the quintessential Hertfordshire village, as Nicola Piggott discovers

BROOKMANS Park is pristine. Large sprawling residences line carefully constructed roads, planned out in regimental fashion. Dubbed the 'footballers' village', there is no denying that Brookmans Park is indeed an area for the up and coming to aspire to. Drives are awash with expensive cars and gardens are luxuriously adorned, even the local bar/restaurant, aptly named 'Brookmans', advertises not the usual ubiquitous lager ads on its awning but Taittinger champagne.A ward of North Mymms Parish, Brookmans Park is clearly a well-heeled and highly desirable village in which to live. Situated close to the M25, M1, A1(M), and M11, and with a local railway station which offers a regular service into London, it is the ideal spot for commuters. There is certainly something near perfect about the place. The village even has an award-winning website, which is highly comprehensive and offers those interested all they need to know about the area. But what of the Brookmans Park residents? After all a village is nothing if not for its people. Parish councillor Cyril Everard has lived in the area for 25 years, he says, 'Brookmans Park is certainly a cosmopolitan village and very affluent, which certainly reflects the aspirations of today's society. As villagers we are proud of the area and make sure that the village is extremely well tended. There is a certain amount of healthy competition between residents, which also helps to keep standards high!'Cyril describes Brookmans Park as a 'perfect village' and a 'very pleasant one in which to live'. It undoubtedly boasts amenities that would be the envy of many a Hertfordshire village, including a greengrocers, butchers, library, dentist, bakery, Post Office, pharmacy and various complementary health facilities such as an osteopath, chiropractor and chiropodist, to name but a few. Paul Barnham, one of Brookmans restaurant's three owners, says his company, BBL Holdings Ltd, felt Brookmans Park was the prime location for its latest venture. He explains, 'The company already has four restaurants and one wine shop in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. When the opportunity came to develop the hotel in Brookmans Park it was one I couldn't resist. Knowing what I did about the village there was no doubt in my mind that this would be a successful venture.'We have had great support from the local community and we continue to see the same faces on a daily basis, as well as people from outside the area coming to sample our offerings. In this world dominated by large supermarkets and chain restaurants, it is extremely important that local villagers support the smaller community businesses. I knew that in Brookmans Park I would get that support, which made my decision to invest here far easier.'Paul's words are certainly testament to the pride that the residents of Brookmans Park have about their village. Bob Horrocks, who has lived in the village for 24 years, adds, 'The village has a strong community spirit and pride of place. There are many strongly supported societies in the area but one in particular is the North Mymms District Green Belt Society. The village is surrounded by open countryside, part of the Metropolitan Green Belt created 50 years ago.'This society, formed in 1975, is highly regarded by local residents for its active opposition to 'inappropriate developments' on the Green Belt land. During the last three years, this society has raised local awareness of the proposals in the draft East of England Plan to build housing on what is currently Green Belt land.'The village website was created in 1999 by resident David Brewer and contains an abundance of information about the village and its surrounding area. Listing 82 local businesses and a calendar of events, there are direct links to a variety of local societies and a discussion forum, which currently boasts 745 members. If you visit the site you can clearly see how it has won the New Statesman website award several years running. Both schools in the vicinity, the village primary school and the Chancellor's School are highly regarded. The latter, a foundation co-educational secondary school awarded Specialist College status in mathematics and computing, made the national news in 2006 when one of its pupils, Michael Perham, became the youngest single-handed sailor to cross the Atlantic at the age of 14. Brookmans Park has a rare quality for a village in 2007 - the traditional approach to village life from days gone by, but also somehow capturing the hopes and dreams of today.Article taken from October issue of Hertfordshire Life