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Three Rivers District Part 4 Draft Local Plan – our initial analysis

16th November 2023

Three Rivers District Council is conducting a public consultation on its new Draft Local Plan out to 2041, after a much-welcomed rethink. The new Draft Local Plan scales back the amount of protected Green Belt land that would be released for development.

This new public consultation follows on from earlier consultations over the past five years. These resulted in huge numbers of local residents expressing their opposition to the massive amount of protected Green Belt land that would have been lost to development.

In response to this public outcry, the Council has had a rethink and is now proposing their new “Lower Housing Growth Option – Protecting More Green Belt Land”.

Our initial commentary and analysis

Please download our initial commentary and site impact analysis. We will also publish our full consultation response in advance of the 10 December consultation deadline.

We are generally supportive of the Council’s new approach, and we agree strongly that the Council’s preferred “Low Growth and Green Belt Restraint” strategy is appropriate.

In particular, we are pleased that Three Rivers Council is taking account of policy constraints and local conditions in providing for housing need, particularly with regard to designated protected land such as the Green Belt and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

  • We agree with the Council’s proposed stance of not complying with the Government’s Standard Method calculation regarding the District’s housing need figure owing to Green Belt and the AONB.
  • We fully support the Council’s approach in applying NPPF paragraph 11 and footnote 7 in assessing housing need against Green Belt policy constraints.

We also believe that all local planning authorities with a high proportion of designated protected land, including the neighbouring boroughs of Dacorum, Hertsmere and St Albans, should apply this policy test and similarly re-assess their housing need and housing target figures. Three Rivers District Council is one of 60 local planning authorities in England reviewing their position regarding the calculation of future housing requirements.

However, we do note that Three Rivers Council has not applied the policy test to the whole of the Green Belt in the District, which would be our preferred position, but has instead concentrated on where most harm would be caused.

In addition, we believe the Council may have underestimated the potential for new dwellings to be accommodated on previously developed (brownfield) land. We urge the Council to re-assess these opportunities for redevelopment, so as to protect even more of the Green Belt.

What you can do

You can read more about our views by downloading our initial commentary and site impact analysis.

We hope that all local people and communities throughout the District will respond to the consultation and have your say about the proposals. It’s imperative that the Council understands local residents’ views, so your comments are important.

Your comments should be submitted to Three Rivers District Council by 11 pm on Sunday 10th December 2023.

You can review the consultation documents and submit your comments via the online consultation platform at

You can also comment via post to: Planning Policy, Three Rivers District Council, Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1RL

The consultation does not invite responses by email. If you wish to contact the Council to pursue this option we suggest you try

And finally….

We are CPRE Hertfordshire, the countryside charity. We work on behalf of everyone across Hertfordshire to protect and promote the beautiful countryside, for now and for the future. Our charity relies entirely on memberships and fundraising. Please help the countryside and become a CPRE member today – it’s easy and quick to join online. Or make a recurring or one-off donation – any amount is most welcomed.

Large grassy green field in the sunshine with blue sky overhead
Green Belt land in Three Rivers District - Site EOS 7.0: Land to the south of Shepherds Lane and east of the M25, Mill End Steve Wiltshire