Thursday, 12 February 2015

Notes from Public Meeting on 27th November 2014

Last night was very well attended and Paul Zukowskyj gave a very informative slide presentation on the latest draft of WHBC's Local Plan

The point of the meeting was to keep residents informed of the progress of the Local Plan and the timeline that the council is working to, this being:

Dec 11 - the CHPP will present the draft Local Plan
Dec 17 - the CHPP will ratify the draft Local Plan
Early January - the Local Plan will be published for public consultation, and we may have 8 - 12 weeks to respond.

The North Mymms Parish Council, the North Mymms District Green Belt Society, the Brookmans Park Residents Association (and, I believe the Welham Green Residents Association and the Little Heath Action Group) will continue to attend the CHPP meetings. We will all examine the Local Plan in detail when it is finally published and issue statements/guidance/recommendations at that point, for residents to use in the consultation.

We do not yet know which proposed sites will appear in the consultation, but it could be all of those currently under consideration ie BrP1, BrP2, BrP4, BrP6, BrP7, BrP9, BrP10, BrP12, BrP13, BrP14.
Most questions raised were about the suitability/viability of the sites, so what follows is a precis of those. Note that WHBC has already thought of ways to circumvent most grounds for objections to developing the sites. Note also that full modelling will only take place after the site(s) is/are chosen.

Q     The land floods, so is unsuitable for housing.
A      The council expects the developer to incorporate a drainage system in the new housing development. This could be the underground storm water drainage tank mentioned before.

Q      The roads are not up to taking another possible 300 - 600 cars, and access to many of the sites is minimal - how can Highways afford the changes necessary?
A       Highways has done some modelling, but the full-scale modelling will be done only after the site(s) has/have been chosen in the consultation. WHBC expects the developer to pay for this, and possibly a contribution to the new roads too.

Q      The infrastructure cannot support another 300 plus houses.
A       When the site(s) is/are chosen, the developer will have to demonstrate that they can plan for, and pay for, adequate drainage, water, utilities etc

Q       The schools are not big enough
A        There is almost certainly going to be provision for new schools in developers' plans,

Q       There will not be enough medical provision, Potterells will be overwhelmed.
A        There may be additional provision in developers' plans, and this will be modelled after the site(s) is/are chosen.

Q       Has an Environmental Impact Survey been commissioned.
A       WHBC have already taken into account information from the Environment Agency. More detailed work will be done after the site(s) is/are chosen.

Q        The sites proposed are all Green Belt and the Government has said that it is committed to protecting the Green Belt.
A         The Government has said that there should only be development on the Green Belt 'in exceptional circumstances'. A requirement to build houses to meet 'an objectively assessed housing need', may qualify as 'exceptional circumstances'. WHBC has an 'objectively assessed housing need' of 12,500 new dwellings.

Paul Zukowskyj is calling on WHBC to challenge the Government’s policy and urge them to consider a new Garden City in Hertfordshire, outside the Green Belt. The LibDems have a petition on this on their website which everybody is invited to sign if they are in favour:

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