Axing of East of England plan praised by Hertfordshire County Council

HERTFORDSHIRE County Council has praised the decision to abandon regional planning and therefore provide local authorities further command over housing provision.

Cllr Derrick Ashley, executive member for planning, spoke out after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles vowed to tear up the controversial East of England Plan, which stipulated the county must provide an extra 107,000 homes by March 2031.

Cllr Ashley said: “We fought the previous government every step of the way over its plans for Hertfordshire, including our successful High Court challenge to the East of England Plan, so we’re very pleased with this decision to scrap unrealistic housing targets.

“There is a growing need for new housing, but it is vital these homes enhance local communities and, wherever possible, don’t encroach on our valuable Green Belt.”

He said indications were new legislation, set to be introduced over the next 12 months, would bring in locally-based planning systems, where local communities reached their own decisions about housing needs.

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“We have said all along that the people who are in the best position to decide where to situate new homes are the people who live in the local area and have local knowledge,” Cllr Ashley added.

“We keenly await news of how housing development figures will be decided in the future.”

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