HGBA October 16 Newsletter

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Dear Member

 In our July newsletter, we pointed out that St Albans District Council, in its draft ‘Strategic Local Plan’, is not just considering building 500 dwellings on green belt in north Harpenden but also 800 dwellings within the Town.
One does not need a magic wand to work out the effect that so many new dwellings will have on Harpenden in terms of school places, parking, medical services and congested road and rail transport. Things will get even worse for residents, if the total rises to 2,200 new dwellings, as it may well do if Central Bedfordshire allows a further 900 dwellings to be built across the District/County boundary on the right hand side of Luton Road going north to the Kinsbourn Green mini roundabout.

Our view is that the draft ‘Strategic Local Plan’ has been rushed through the planning process to conform to a pre-decided timetable which in the event made it impossible to properly examine all the interrelated issues involved or to take into account the representations made by concerned organisations and members of the public. More specifically, sites for building on were chosen for political reasons and not for good planning reasons.

Even though the Deputy Chairman of the District Council’s key ‘Planning Policy Committee’ said that he thought the draft plan was incomplete, your Council nevertheless stuck with its timetable and has submitted its plan to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate, Mr David Hogger, has duly convened a public meeting in the Council Chamber of St Albans District Council in St Peters Street, St Albans on 26 October commencing at 2 pm.

In his initial assessment, Mr Hogger has first focussed on what is known as your Council’s ‘Duty to Cooperate’ with surrounding district councils like Dacorum, Hertsmere, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield.

Your Council will have to prove to him that it has made every effort to work closely with neighbouring councils on key issues like the provision of infrastructure and overall numbers for the building of new dwellings. As many as 40 ‘representors’ informed Mr Hogger that St Albans District Council has failed to cooperate effectively.
Mr Hogger has thus decided to start by inviting 8 district councils, Hertfordshire County Council and the Home Builders Federation to discuss the situation with him around the table at the meeting on 26 October.

If you responded to the last consultation (in February this year) saying that SADC had not complied with the ‘Duty to Co-operate’ and that you wished to participate in the Examination in Public, you are entitled to make ‘brief comments’ from the public gallery on 26 October.
The Harpenden Green Belt Association will be represented at the hearing by Joanne Whitehead, who has spoken at several local meetings on the ‘Strategic Local Plan’. Joanne is by profession a barrister and QC, practising under her maiden name of Joanne Wicks QC. On behalf of The Association she will be arguing that SADC has failed to comply with its legal ‘Duty to Co-operate’.
If you have the right to make ‘brief comments’ but would prefer not to speak at the hearing yourself, Joanne is happy to represent you as well as The Association.
Please let Joanne know on if you would like her to speak for you.
Please forward this email to those you know who live in Harpenden and who may not know what is going on in your District Council.

New members can join The Association at

David Rankin
The Harpenden Green Belt Association
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