Villages object to Welwyn Hatfield Draft Local Plan proposals

PUBLISHED: 09:21 03 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 03 November 2016

Stuart Coe, representing Save Woolmer Green, presents a petition to borough councillor Mandy Perkins

Stuart Coe, representing Save Woolmer Green, presents a petition to borough councillor Mandy Perkins

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Campaigners and parish councillors from Welwyn and Woolmer Green have objected to proposals made in Welwyn Hatfield Council's draft Local Plan.

Save Woolmer Green campaigners, along with members of Woolmer Green Parish Council, handed over a petition signed by 400 people opposing the proposed development of 150 houses on Green Belt land.

Stuart Coe, representing Save Woolmer Green, presented the petition to borough councillor Mandy Perkins, cabinet member for planning.

Villagers unanimously supported the development of an available Brownfield site, which includes housing and a convenience store, which the parish council believes the village desperately needs.

Welwyn Parish Council, with support from Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group, Welwyn Parish Plan Group and Friends of the River Mimram Group, also declared part of the draft Local Plan to not be sound.

The Welwyn councillors objected to plans to expand the Traveller site in the Green Belt. In their response, they said: “The Plan allows for six further pitches, a total of 11 and exclusion from the Green Belt. We do not consider this to be sound.

“This site is a private not a public site and so cannot contribute to the long-standing identified need for public sites in the Borough and, from this standpoint, fails to be either positively prepared or justified.

The councillors argued that the borough council “has until now consistently maintained that the site is only suitable for five pitches”, which included 10 caravans and their associated support buildings.

The parish council accepted other proposals in the Draft Local Plan as sound.

Chairman of Woolmer Green Parish Council Andy Gribble said: “There are no ‘exceptional circumstances’ that justify building 150 houses on the Green Belt in Woolmer Green when there is previously developed land available for development.

Brownfield land should be used before resorting to destroying the Green Belt and that is the view of the Parish Council, local residents and our MP.”

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