Welwyn Hatfield Council leader ‘incredibly worried’ by prospects of failed Local Plan

PUBLISHED: 16:28 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 21 September 2018

The former Panshanger Aerodrome site, which is earmarked for housing in the Local Plan. Picture: Peter Sterling.

The former Panshanger Aerodrome site, which is earmarked for housing in the Local Plan. Picture: Peter Sterling.

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Council’s leader has issued a stark warning over what could happen if the area’s Local Plan is found unsound.

The local authority’s scheme to build up to 16,000 homes by 2032 is currently being assessed by the planning inspector.

But at a council meeting this week, leader Mandy Perkins highlighted what could happen by pointing to St Albans Council, which was threatened with having its planning powers given to the government or the county council.

“This remains a very real threat to Welwyn Hatfield if our Local Plan were to be found unsound,” she told members.

“The government has also threatened to not pay out the new house bonus on occasions where housing applications are refused by the council but granted on appeal.

“Again, [that is] something that is incredibly worrying.”

The borough council warned residents that it is having to consider building on high-harm Green Belt land, because even if it built on all low-risk areas, it would still fall far short of the 16,000 housing target.

At this week’s meeting, Cllr Perkins also aired fears about neighbouring authorities’ Local Plans.

“We already have the situation in St Albans,” she said. “We also have a situation in Stevenage, where Stevenage’s Local Plan has been suspended at the present time, and we also have a similar problem with East Herts.

“East Herts were set to go to their Full Council Meeting last Monday or Tuesday, and five hours before the meeting their Local Plan was suspended.

“This is not good for development in Hertfordshire and worries me incredibly.”

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