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Council considering 143 sites for development

65 entirely new sites and 78 re-promoted sites

Previously promoted development site BrP6 in Brookmans Park
Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons

The council committee responsible in part for the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan has voted to delay the consultation period on any new development sites in the borough until after the May 2019 local elections.

An independent inspector had earlier indicated that the Local Plan did not meet the “objectively assessed” need for housing.

In December 2018 the council decided to adopt a new timetable and hold a fresh call for sites in January 2019 with public consultation to follow in February 2019.

That call for sites has now been completed. The 65 entirely new sites and 78 re-promoted sites that have been submitted far exceed the council’s expectations. The associated additional workload for the council has created the need to adjust the previously published timetable.

The Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel, which is partly responsible for the Local Plan, voted on Thursday 8 March to adopt a revised timetable which means that public consultation on the new sites will now not take place until after the local elections in May 2019, after which the new sites will be revealed. The results and recommendations will follow in September 2019. The examination hearing sessions to discuss the sites in North Mymms will be held in December 2019.

The Local Plan was item number seven on the agenda and read:
“Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) submitting the Local Plan which is currently undergoing public examination by an independent inspector for agreement of the way forward and timetable to progress the Plan.”
Councillors were faced with two options. Option 1, which was accepted, read:
“The Panel can agree changes to the previously agreed timetable, to acknowledge that public consultation on new sites will now take place after the local elections in May and to accept that this will push back the presentation of results and recommendations until September 2019 and examination hearing sessions until December 2019. Officers will then write to the Inspector on this basis and seek to book his time for the examination hearing sessions.”
Option 2, which was rejected, read:
“This Panel considered a number of possible approaches to progress the Local Plan in September 2018. The selected approach, Approach One, included a new call-for-sites exercise. Approach Two was to allocate lower harm green belt sites that had already been promoted but rejected for the first ten years of the plan and to identify broad locations in the final five years of the plan. Approach Three was to allocate the majority of sites that had already been promoted but rejected, with no reliance on broad locations.”
The document containing the two options which councillors considered is entitled LOCAL PLAN  - NEXT STEPS and is embedded below.

“Blueprint for future growth in the Borough”

The Local Plan is described by the council as “the blueprint for future growth in the borough” covering “new homes, new jobs and business premises, open spaces and community facilities for people to use and infrastructure such as roads, schools and healthcare” between now and 2032.

The revised Local Plan timetable is embedded below.

The North Mymms District Green Belt Society has been monitoring the progress of the Local Plan. If you want to find out more you can go along to their annual general meeting on Monday 25 March 2019 at 8pm at the North Mymms Memorial Hall, 36 Station Road, Welham Green.

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