Last chance to have your say in Welwyn Hatfield's Draft Local Plan consultation

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 October 2016

Woolmer Green Parish Council meeting on Draft Local Plan

Woolmer Green Parish Council meeting on Draft Local Plan

Archant

There are only a couple of days left for residents to have their say in Welwyn Hatfield Council's Draft Local Plan consultation.

Indicative map of site allocations with labelsIndicative map of site allocations with labels

The consultation is open until 5pm on Monday, October 24, which is the final opportunity to make comments before the plan is submitted.

Nearly 700 people attended drop-in events across the borough, with more than 400 comments submitted so far.

The Draft Local Plan allocates sites for future development until 2032, including locations for more than 12,000 new homes. It also considers business land and premises, open spaces, community facilities and supports infrastructure such as schools and roads.

All the comments received will be reviewed and analysed by planning officers, then submitted to an independent inspector in spring 2017. The inspector will look at whether the council has met the legal requirements for the preparation of the plan and whether it meets what are known as the ‘tests of soundness’.

Countryside watchdog group the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has expressed its concerns over Welwyn Hatfield’s Draft Local Plan.

In a statement the group said it “accepted new homes were needed in the borough”, but questioned the numbers included.

In a public meeting in Woolmer Green on Wednesday, October 12, residents unanimously opposed the building of 150 houses on Green Belt land. Janet Pearce, Woolmer Green Parish Council clerk, said: “In the draft Local Plan both Brownfield sites have been ring fenced for employment which is unrealistic and non-deliverable.

“The sites would have to be marketed for three years before concluding they are non-viable for larger scale business use and can be used for housing.

“During that time permission will have already been granted for 150 houses on the Green Belt. Woolmer Green is willing to take its share of housing growth, as many other areas in Welwyn Hatfield are having to do, but let’s not destroy our Green Belt when it is unnecessary and avoidable. And we really could do with a convenience store.”

Mandy Perkins, executive member for planning, housing and community, said: “This document is the result of years of detailed work, studies and consultation, and I urge anyone who has not yet responded to submit their comments.

“We need new homes and local jobs for future generations to be able to live and work in our borough. Brownfield sites can provide over 6,000 new homes, but there is simply not enough space on previously developed land to meet future demands.

“Allocating Green Belt land for development has not been an easy decision, but we must make sure we’re making the right choices for the future of Welwyn Hatfield.

“Everyone now has a final opportunity to help us ensure we do that.”

Comments should be submitted on a representation form via one of the following:

Online: www.welhat.gov.uk/localplan

Email: localplan@welhat.gov.uk

Post: Planning Policy, Welwyn Hatfield Council, Council Offices, The Campus, WGC, AL8 6AE

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