Local Plan meetings cancelled amid confusion over PM’s speech

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council offices. Picture: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council cabinet members have written to Michael Gove for local plan clarification. - Credit: Archant

Meetings to discuss the Local Plan for Welwyn Hatfield have been cancelled amid confusion over comments from the Prime Minister on building homes on ‘green fields’. 

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council cancelled meetings of the cabinet planning and parking panel, and special council, originally scheduled for October 20 and November 4, as they seek clarification following Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative Party conference. 

During his speech, the PM referred to future homes not being built on ‘green fields’, and the council’s six cabinet members have now written to levelling up, housing and communities secretary Michael Gove to find out what this means for future planning policy. 

The government appointed planning inspector for Welwyn Hatfield has sites for 15,200 new homes must be found, but Stephen Boulton, WHBC’s executive member for planning wants to know if this figure can be discussed. 

“We have long expressed our resistance to over-development in the borough and made it clear that we feel a target of 15,200 homes for Welwyn Hatfield is too high,” he said.  


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“That is the expressed view of all political groups, and of our communities.  

“We were intrigued by the Prime Minister’s reference in his conference speech to not wanting to build on ‘green fields’, and we are now seeking the answer to two specific questions.  

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“Firstly, is there a possibility of further discussion on the target figure for new homes?  

“And secondly, do the PM’s comments suggest a change to planning policy in the near future?  

“The timing is far from ideal, but at such a crucial stage of the development of our plan we feel it would be irresponsible for us not to take the opportunity to seek such clarification before we proceed.” 

The council have said that they will reschedule the cancelled meetings as soon as is ‘practically possible’ to discuss the Local Plan - the blueprint for sustainable growth in Welwyn Hatfield in the years ahead - following a response to their letter from Michael Gove.

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