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Multiple threats to Green Belt between Hatfield and St. Albans

Thursday, 11 February 2016 21:19

Green Belt in St Albans Green Belt in St Albans Chris Howe

CPRE Hertfordshire is appalled by speculative and premature development proposals by major local landowners which could destroy swathes of nationally important Green Belt land west of Hatfield.

To do so under the guise of consultation through the media and a controlled selective discussion forum is misleading for the people of Welwyn Hatfield and St Albans. This appears to be a deliberate attempt to bypass the democratic planning process through which everyone will be able to have their say on the new Local Plans which will decide how many houses should be built, and where they should be built. So a few facts need to be pointed out to landowners seeking to profit from the current need for housing by building in the Green Belt:

  • Sixty years ago Green Belts became national policy to stop the spread of London, and the towns in the County, across the countryside.
  • It is only because of Green Belt policy that several generations of Hertfordshire and London residents have been able to enjoy access to the countryside for recreation near to their homes, while the vital productive capacity has been maintained of some of our most precious farmland, and woodland has continued to be a haven for wildlife.
  • Green Belt policy not only protects some of Hertfordshire’s most important countryside but encourages urban regeneration in London and the towns around it.
  • We are in serious danger of undermining the integrity of the Green Belt, and condemning future generations to urban sprawl if Green Belt policy is abandoned.
  • As yet, there are no agreed figures for the number of houses that need to be built in Welwyn Hatfield or St Albans. Of course there must be provision for housing but there may be no need for developments of this size in the Green Belt.
    No locations for housing development have yet been agreed through the formal Local Plan process. Once suitable sites have been identified by Welwyn Hatfield and St. Albans Councils, they will be included in their Local Plans which will be open for public consultation and subject to scrutiny at a formal Hearing by a Planning Inspector.

CPRE Hertfordshire urges all residents who value their countryside to oppose speculative housing proposals of this scale in the Green Belt, and to tell the developers and the Council that the proper place to promote such proposals will come when the Councils publish their formal Local Plans for public scrutiny.

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