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Respond to North Herts Local Plan Consultation by 6 Feb

Monday, 29 December 2014 15:44

North Hertfordshire countryside North Hertfordshire countryside Elizabeth Hamilton

Countryside campaigners CPRE Hertfordshire are calling on North Herts District Council to correct its misinterpretation of National planning policy and scrap its disastrous and unjustified Local Plan proposals for thousands of houses in the Green Belt.

The Plan proposes over 14,000 new houses to be built in the District up to 2031, and unspecified thousands after 2031, mostly in the Green Belt. This is because the Council has ignored Government Policy and Guidance. In the Plan’s ‘Spatial Strategy’ (2.7) it states the Green Belt has been reviewed ‘to accommodate the identified levels of growth’. But the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires Councils to protect the Green Belt when preparing their Plans. In paragraph 14 the NPPF states that the extent to which housing needs are met must reflect policy constraints such as Green Belt. This fundamental policy was re-affirmed by the Government in October, with newly issued Guidance explaining what councils like North Herts are required to do.

Honorary Director of CPRE Hertfordshire, Kevin FitzGerald, says:

‘By pressing ahead with proposals to meet all of the estimated district’s housing demand, plus overspill from Luton and Stevenage, the Council would destroy decades of work to protect the District’s countryside. The proposed Housing Target of over 14,000 will result in permanent and unnecessary loss of huge areas of countryside.’

‘A District Councillors has informed us that Council Members have been told by their officers and legal advisors that the Council has no choice on the number of houses to be built. Shockingly, they have been advised to ignore the Government’s recent guidance confirming the policy of protecting the Green Belt. We call on all North Herts. Councillors to demand a review of the Council’s Housing target in the Preferred Options Plan in line with the NPPF.

‘We also call on everyone who loves the district to tell the Council that they do not accept the loss of the Green Belt unless the “exceptional circumstances” for doing so required by the NPPF are demonstrated by the Council.'

The deadline for comments is 6 February 2015.

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