© 2017 The Harpenden Society
The Harpenden Society has again become involved in the discussions over major development in the town. It is important that Society members are aware of what the issues are and how The Society is seeking to influence matters.
What has happened so far...
The St Albans District Council (SADC) is required to have a Strategic Local Plan (SLP) for the ordered use of land and housing development. Readers may recall that last November, its draft SLP was rejected. Without an SLP in place, the National Planning Inspectorate, which hears planning appeals, is less able to take account of the community when developers challenge local decisions.
The NPI has delivered two verdicts preventing building on green belt land. The inspectorate reckons the District has, year on year, met its current target of 360 new houses and that land is available for so doing for five more years. The NPI decided the developments did not satisfy the criteria for building on the green belt, a valuable precedent for the future.
Nonetheless, it is likely that the government will want SADC to build more houses and flats than the Council wishes and that this, for all the promises of its protection, will impinge on the green belt.
What The Society is doing...
We have joined the Harpenden Green Belt Association and the Town Council in a joint working party in an effort to influence the content of the next SLP. The working party has met twice, on the second occasion with SADC planners.
The Society stands firmly by its original position.
The grounds for us doing so are, briefly:
The Society’s campaign on this issue in 2009/10 was very popular – 12% of households responded, with only four of 2,199 replies NOT in favour. A well-attended Harpenden Society public meeting exposed the fallacies in the SADC position. SADC councillors at the meeting were able to gauge the feeling of the town and retreated. Thank you again for your help, but...