Around 75 per cent of draft Local Plan sites put forward by developers rejected by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
PUBLISHED: 17:45 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:57 13 January 2020
After launching its call for sites last year, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has decided to reject 75 per cent of the sites put forward for the draft Local Plan.
Of the 144 sites landowners wanted to build on, 36 were recommended by officers for inclusion, yesterday, bringing the total number of homes in the draft Local Plan up to 15,952.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council originally established it needed an estimated 16,000 homes by 2033 - which will be 2036 in reality as the plan has been slow to be adopted - to meet the growing need for housing.
But, due to concerns over the Green Belt, the council only proposed building 12,000 homes - which is below the borough's assessed need for housing - under its draft Local Plan.
It was then asked to go back to the drawing board after the independent government-appointed inspector, Melvyn Middleton, found that this made the Local Plan "unsound" for housing needs in the area.
So now councillors will be asked to see if the around 4,000 additional new homes - from the 36 sites - should be included to meet up the shortfall.
Last week (January 6), Mr Middleton also warned the council that "unless there are sound planning reasons for not doing so" then the housing requirements would need to be met by this plan.
Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Stephen Boulton, executive member for environment and planning, said: "We have to consider what the evidence is telling us - people right now are in need of housing and so are our future generations.
"We share our residents' concerns about the impact of new development, but we have to balance that with the severe consequences for this borough of not meeting local housing need. If our plan is rejected and the government has to step in, we lose control of the process and we could be hit with even tougher housing targets.
"Whatever happens next, we will continue to work hard to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support growth, including the new roads, schools and healthcare facilities our communities will rely on."
Council officers have also tried to minimise the harm to the Green Belt by maximising opportunities on urban sites, increasing density on some sites already in the plan and using lower harm Green Belt sites where they are in sustainable locations.
They have also not recommended any new high harm areas in the Green Belt.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times has put together a round up of the sites by location, which will be considered by councillors below:
Welwyn Garden City
There are eight more sites selected in the town for allocation in the Local Plan. This could mean 250 more homes at the Campus East car park, along with the 100 proposed for allocation in the draft Local Plan, over one to 10 years.
A Hollybush Lane location could get 16 homes over 11 to 15 years, the Bio-Park on Broadwater Road could get 179 over six to 10 years, 29 Broadwater Road could get 128 homes over one to five years, the former Norton building could get 122 over one to five years, 61 Bridge Road East could get 21 homes over one to five years, 73-83 Bridge Road East could have 235 flats plus floor space, with basement car parking and the YMCA on 90 Peartree Lane could get 29 homes, a 100-bed hostel.
Only the land north east of Welwyn Garden City is on Green Belt land and it could end up with 75 over six to 10 years.
There are eight sites promoted by council officers at Lemsford Road, Meridian House, Link Drive car park and skate park, Minster Close, College Lane (north).
They would provide 475 more homes in addition to the 2,097 already in the plan over up to 10 years. None are on the Green Belt.
It has one more Green Belt site at 52 London Road and an urban site at 51 to 53 London Road, Knebworth.
They would add 59 homes to the 150 already in the plan at this location and would be provided over 10 years.
All four of the proposed locations for homes would be on the Green Belt.
Two sites are at Kimpton Road, one adjoining Welwyn Cemetery and land at Fulling Mill Lane could provided 246 homes over six to 15 years.
Lemsford and Stanborough
All four sites are in the Green Belt currently and both Lemsford and Stanborough have not been included in the plan before.
Lemsford's Roebuck Farm land could provide 27 homes and Stanborough could see 103 homes at land to the north of New Road, land to the east of Great North Road and at Great North Road land over around 10 years.
Seven sites are being considered in the Green Belt at Units 1-3 Welham Manor, west of Station Road, Skimpans Farm, Dixons Hill Road, north of Pooleys Lane, north of Potterells Farm and south of Dixons Hill Road.
They would provide 500 homes and one to two primary schools depending on development.
Bell Bar and Brookmans Park
There could be 529 new homes at three locations on the Green Belt.
They would be on land at Upper Bell Lane Farm, north of Peplins Way and the transmitting station and could be completed over 15 years.
There could be one more site at Videne on Hawkshead Road on the Green Belt and it would provide 36 homes.
A Green Belt site to south east of King George V playing fields is being considered, which could provide 176 homes over 10 years.
Rural areas, at Symondshyde, also got four homes taken out of the 2016 proposals.
The report published yesterday (Wednesday, January 8) also sets out the results of months of work to identify the most suitable sites for the additional homes following the further call for sites earlier in the year.
It will be considered by the cabinet planning and parking panel on January 23 and January 29 before going to cabinet on January 30.
For more information please go here democracy.welhat.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=266&MId=1072&Ver=4