Hertsmere pulls Local Plan after residents rejected proposals

Hertsmere Local Plan

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

Hertsmere’s Local Plan has been shelved after the council admitted residents had rejected their proposals, including 12,160 new homes in the borough.

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.

The council made the unexpected announcement during a full council meeting on Wednesday, with leader, councillor Morris Bright, saying the responses from residents meant the council could not continue with the plan.

“It’s clear, even from early shifts of responses, that our residents have clearly rejected the Local Plan and now the council must reject it too,” he said.

“The draft Local Plan showed how the borough could grow over the next 15 years and beyond by providing homes, infrastructure and jobs for future generations.

“All councils must have up to date Local Plans, and the government expects local authorities to have new Local Plans in place during 2023.

Cllr Bright accepted the decision meant the council was unlikely to meet this deadline, but added: “This potential decimation of large swathes of the Green Belt has been too much for local people and local councillors to accept.”

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The decision to scrap the Local Plan has been met with concern from opposing parties, who accused the Conservatives of making the decision for political reasons after deciding not to consult them.

Oliver Dowden

Oliver Dowden (left) with council leader Morris Bright (right) and Harvey Cohen. - Credit: Martin Darby

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden has backed the call however, saying: “I welcome the council’s decision not to proceed with the draft Local Plan, following an unprecedented response from Hertsmere residents.

"Throughout the Local Plan process, I have urged residents to engage with the council’s consultation and I have frequently raised with councillors the scale of concern about the number of houses in the plan, as well as my own fears about the impact of this on the green spaces in the borough.

"I am delighted that so many residents engaged with the consultation, and that the council has listened and made the decision not to proceed with the plan in its current form. I think it is right that councillors look again at how best to deliver new houses in the borough and draw up a new plan which places the protection of green spaces at its heart.

"Meanwhile, I will continue my campaign to get the Housing Department to reconsider its approach to Hertsmere, where it is hugely difficult to meet housing targets without damaging the beautiful green spaces which make our area such a wonderful place to live.”