Controversial Local Plan pulled by council

Hertsmere Local Plan

Hertsmere have pulled their Local Plan after 18,000 responses from residents. - Credit: Hertsmere Borough Council

A unpopular Local Plan dogged by controversy over proposed building on the Green Belt has been permanently shelved.

Members of Hertsmere Borough Council unanimously voted to set aside their draft plan but continue the process to ensure future development in the borough remains under local democratic control.

Hertsmere’s draft plan was published last year and set out how the borough could grow over the next 15 years and beyond, by providing homes for the next generation as well as the infrastructure and jobs needed to support this growth

The draft plan involved controversial plans to build more than 9,000 homes on the Green Belt across Hertsmere over the next 15 years, with 18,000 responses during the consultation period.

There were two sustainable neighbourhoods proposed for Potters Bar, with 900 homes in Wrotham Park land near Barnet Road, and 500 homes on the former Potters Bar Golf Club.

But the public rejected their proposals, arguing the 12,160 new homes in the borough would have decimated the Green Belt.

Council leader Cllr Morris Bright, portfolio holder for communications and consultation, said: “Last year’s public engagement on our draft plan was one of the most successful engagements we’ve ever undertaken. 

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“We’re grateful to all those who made submissions. Those submissions have given us and will continue to give us a valuable insight into the views and opinions of residents, businesses and other stakeholders about how the borough might develop in the future.

“It is clear from an initial analysis that a key theme was an objection to the level of development proposed in the draft plan, in particular that related to housing, and the impact on the Green Belt from that proposed growth."

Cllr Dr Harvey Cohen, portfolio holder for planning, said: “Whilst we have responded to local concerns in setting aside the current version of the plan, it’s also clear that if we don’t have an up-to-date plan, there will be a risk of speculative applications for development coming forward, which might not benefit our local community or consider local infrastructure.   

“By opting for this next step, we are resolving to put aside the current version of our plan, but continue the plan-making process, while taking into account any planning reforms announced by the government.

“It shows we are committed to doing all we can to positively shape growth in the borough and ensure local people can have a say on where they want development to happen, and how much.”

Additional funding was also agreed at the meeting in order to support the ongoing work on the engagement responses and further technical work.