Opposition expected over plans to build thousands of homes

PUBLISHED: 09:19 19 October 2012

Chairman of Finesse Peter Cabon, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council John Dean

Chairman of Finesse Peter Cabon, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council John Dean

Archant

THE leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council has admitted he faces opposition after the authority unveiled plans to build thousands of homes in Times Territory up until 2029.

Cabinet rubber stamped proposals for 7,227 homes on Tuesday that will be centred around the two towns with more than 2,100 set to go up in Green Belt land.

The WHT has pushed for detailed maps to be published so residents can better understand the plans, but the authority will not release a map identifying the sites until plans have been agreed.

Councillor John Dean, leader of the authority, said: “It was a decision made to try and protect the countryside, to a certain extent that has always been our policy.

“That’s what we are trying to do and that is why we are focusing on the main areas of population.

“The decision we have taken will now go out to full consultation and a decision will not be made until that is completed.

“I think it will go quite smoothly and whatever we do or whatever decision we take we will get opposition and that is what opposition is for and I don’t have a problem with that – it is the residents who we want to take notice of.”

The fightback may have started already, with the leader of the Labour opposition claiming the Emerging Core Strategy would not be supported by residents.

Cllr Kieran Thorpe told the WHT residents had already told them [the council] how they felt and they were “not happy”.

Councillor Thorpe said: “The way this has been done is completely politically motivated, this has been done completely underhandedly and I think it is going to fail when they present it to the Government.

“The money and time that has gone into it will be completely wasted.”

A council spokesman said: “The emerging core strategy is to be considered by cabinet panel on October 22 and then by cabinet on October 23 following which public consultation will take place from mid November until January.

“The plan that will be part of the core strategy will be diagrammatic and not indicate specific sites as that is not the role of the core strategy.”

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