Following the publication of the St Albans District Draft Strategic Local Plan, Peter Lilley is encouraging locals to have their say. The plan, which will determine what can be built in the area and where, is open for consultation until 5pm on Sunday 23rd November.
“The planning system means that if we do NOT have a Local Plan it will be far harder to resist developers wherever they propose to build,” said Peter. “We will lose control, not just of the amount of development, but where it takes place if we cannot say “the Plan does not allow development there”. And to get a Plan in place we need to have the approval of the planning inspectors. They will not give that approval unless the Plan includes a reasonable number of new dwellings.
“Independent consultants have estimated that we need to build 436 new homes a year across the whole of the St Albans District area over the next 20 years. I understand that this number is significantly below the ‘indicative’ figure from the Office of National Statistics. To defend it our Councillors will need robust evidence that can withstand scrutiny. At the end of the day we will have to accept our share – not more than our share – of the new homes needed to cope with the chronic housing shortage this country faces. Our local councillors have the invidious task of finding the least bad places to build homes. To resist all development would leave us in the worst possible position: no Plan and therefore unable to defend the environment which makes Harpenden such an attractive place to live.
"It is extremely important that the final plan is sensitive to the views of local residents and that everybody has the opportunity to have their say on a document which will shape our local area over the next 20 years. As well as raising concerns, this is also an opportunity to specify what you would like to see built – primary schools, smaller and more affordable homes, redevelopment of public building etc. I encourage everyone to have their say on the content of the Local Plan and submit their views on the Consultation Portal.”