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Welwyn Hatfield's Local Plan falls short

Inspector asks Council to investigate more housing sites

Local Plan graphic

Welwyn Hatfield is set to carry out a further study of the possible sites for housing development in the borough.

It follows the public examination of the council's Local Plan by independent inspector Melvyn Middleton who ruled that the current plan failed to meet the need for housing.

The council has been asked to take another look at the green belt to see if there is any scope for more housing.

That process could begin in January next year with a new call-for-sites process.

The authority would then have to publish any new sites for public comment by February, analyse the sites in the spring, debate the results and submit any new sites to the inspector by the summer. There would then be a new round of hearing sessions in autumn 2019 with a view to the adoption of the new proposals by spring 2020.

The Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel, meeting on Thursday 13 December, will discuss what to do next after the inspector told them to submit a new plan. The document below has been prepared as part of the agenda for that meeting.

Council's letter to the independent inspector
20 September 2018

Inspector's reply to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
24 October 2018

Planning Inspectorate appeal decision
26 October 2018

The timetable for the new Local Plan

The following is taken from the documents published by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

  • January 2019 - New call-for-sites process, to be promoted through the Local Plan newsletter, social media and local newspapers. 
  • February 2019 - Publication of promoted new sites for public comment for 6 weeks. Those registered on the Local Plan consultation database will be notified either by letter or email. Copies of the document will be published online and in paper format which will be made available at the usual inspection points.
  • Spring 2019 (purdah) - Individual and cumulative analysis of sites by officers, utilising public comments, existing evidence, new green belt study and engagement with statutory bodies such as Herts County Council as highway and education authority.
  • Summer 2019 (after elections) - Officers to present analysis to CPPP and Cabinet to recommend any changes to brownfield assumptions, changes to existing sites (such as increased densities) and to identify any additional sites for allocation and release from the green belt.
  • Summer 2019 - Submit new sites to inspector / examination.
  • Autumn 2019 - Examination hearing sessions to take place on new sites, village sites and Symondshyde village.
  • Winter 2019 - Modifications consultation.
  • Early 2020 - Receipt of Inspector’s Report.
  • Spring 2020 - Adoption of Local Plan.

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