Hatfield will be "whipping boy" in new housing plan
PUBLISHED: 12:28 07 October 2012
HATFIELD is set to be the 'whipping boy' as thousands of new homes are built across the district, politicians have been warned.
Controversial plans to build 7,227 homes in the borough have been unveiled – with more than 2,100 poised to go up in Green Belt land in Hatfield.
At a meeting on Thursday, committee members at Welwyn Hatfield Council agreed that 3,286 should be built in the town by 2029, with 3,147 for WGC.
Councillors chose to focus the expansion on the towns rather than the borough’s villages as part of its Emerging Core Strategy.
Labour member for Hatfield Kieran Thorpe hit out at the decision after the meeting.
“I think it is clear to anyone when they look at these figures the majority of them are in Hatfield,” he told the WHT.
“Once again Hatfield is the whipping boy.”
The WHT asked for a map showing where the houses could be built but the authority said no more information would be released until cabinet discuss the plan on October 9.
Cllr Thorpe’s outburst came after he and cllr Margaret Birleson voted against the motion to expand the towns that was proposed by cllr Mandy Perkins, executive member for planning, environmental health and member development.
Throughout the cabinet housing and planning panel meeting she talked of a “critical mass” of housing that would be needed to ensure infrastructure would be improved in any expansion.
She said: “In deciding the perfect approach we must be aware that we will be challenged so we need to be certain we can fully justify this approach.
“But we cannot reject people’s views and I don’t feel comfortable ignoring the views of our residents when deciding this strategy.
“I think [this option] supports economic growth in the two towns.
“We need to have enough homes to get some of the infrastructure working, so for the growth strategy when it comes to it we should go for [this option].”
Senior councillors will now have to agree the plan and residents will have the chance to voice their thoughts through a series of consultations before a final plan is approved.
No specific areas have been outlined by the council, but more details are set to emerge in the consultation period.