‘Not thinking about the long-term effect on us’ claim residents at Local Plan meeting
PUBLISHED: 13:36 22 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:36 22 September 2016
Residents cast their eyes over the borough council’s plans for around 13,000 houses by 2032, at the latest Local Plan consultation event in Welwyn last week.
The council previously said at this stage of the process, representations should only be made on whether the Local Plan is achieving its aim; is objectively assessed; is based on credible evidence; and is consistent with national planning policy (NPP).
Woolmer Green Parish Council chairman, Andy Gribble, told the WHT the plans were not consistent with NPP, because the council wanted to build 150 houses on local Green Belt land, despite a nearby commercial brownfield site remaining available.
“We do not feel they have demonstrated ‘exceptional circumstances’ to build on the Green Belt when there is a brownfield site available,” he said.
“They seem to be keen to get housing squeezed in, but are not thinking about the bigger effect it will have on the village in the long-term.”
However, Ayot Green resident Peter Lee said: “National planning policy is we need a lot more houses and we are not building enough. My objection to it is it’s so protracted.”
Around 130 people flocked to the exhibition at the Welwyn Civic Centre.
A group of Welwyn residents were dumbfounded over proposals to build several houses in School Lane, claiming the plans could not be based on “credible evidence” as those homes had been included.
“No thought has been given to how the construction vehicles will get up School Lane to build these houses,” said one resident.
Another claimed a developer was eyeing up a further 95 dwellings near the area.
However, councillor Mandy Perkins told the WHT that the developer’s initial plans had been thrown out earlier in the process, and even in the event of a planning inspector demanding more housing, that site would still not be considered.
John Winchester, 67, of The Avenue, said it was too early to judge whether the plan was achieving its aims, as the housing numbers were “targets”, which left him concerned the amount might swell during the process.
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