Hertsmere MP has ‘deep concerns’ about Welwyn Hatfield’s Local Plan

Oliver Dowden at Little Heath

Oliver Dowden at Little Heath - Credit: Archant

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden has objected to proposals for a large new housing development near Potters Bar, in his response to Welwyn Hatfield Council’s draft Local Plan consultation.

Oliver Dowden at Little Heath Action Group meeting

Oliver Dowden at Little Heath Action Group meeting - Credit: Archant

The Plan states that a Green Belt site next to Little Heath, which is in the Welwyn Hatfield borough, is available for the building of 150 new homes. .

Mr Dowden said: “This morning I responded to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s draft Local Plan consultation to make clear my deep concerns about the proposed housing developments near Little Heath.

“As I have said previously, I do not believe that this draft Local Plan has yet fulfilled its vital duty to co-operate with Hertsmere Borough Council on how to meet the additional pressure that will be placed on key public services and local infrastructure.

“Little Heath lies just inside the southern boundary of Welwyn Hatfield but it will clearly rely heavily on the services and infrastructure of Potters Bar and Hertsmere. These services are already under strain.’

Little Heath Green Belt boundary

Little Heath Green Belt boundary - Credit: Archant

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Potters Bar currently has a surplus of 17 secondary school places going into 2017, but this is projected to become a 26 place deficit by 2020. Mr Dowden argued that the additional households would exacerbate this demand, and that there was no mention of how the deficit would be addressed in Welwyn Hatfield’s Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan (DIDP). He also pointed out that there was no mention of Little Heath in the DIDP existing health provision, or the fact that health services in Potters Bar will need to meet demand.

The measures provided by the DIDP to cope with an increased population are to widen the nearby Hawkshead Road, although Mr Dowden does not believe this goes far enough to address the potential for increased traffic on already busy roads.

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He said: “Although the consultation has now closed, I strongly encourage any residents who share my reservations to get involved with the Little Heath Action Group to make their voices heard.”

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