Action plan to meet growing housing demand agreed by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

PUBLISHED: 13:41 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 08 August 2019

Waterbeach in Panshangher, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Google Street View.

Waterbeach in Panshangher, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Google Street View.

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A new housing plan was agreed by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council on Tuesday to meet growing demand.

The council was prompted to create the action plan after it failed, between April 2015 and March 2018, to meet the government-set target of 1,701 homes - falling short by 203.

The borough will now accelerate applications for housing schemes, consider the necessity of planning conditions and prepare Section 106 agreements - which set conditions for development such as carrying out works - as quickly as possible.

It commits the council to progressing the adoption of the Local Plan - which determines which areas of the borough should be available for housing - and to reviewing technology to improve the planning application process.

Other actions highlighted in the report include the authority having land holdings of its own to increase the supply of all types of housing - and setting up a housing company to deliver social rented properties that are desirable and affordable for local residents.

It is also looking at the potential for 400 new homes on town centre sites in Welwyn Garden City - and has allowed taller buildings in sustainable locations.

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The report to councillors updates the current position with the Local Plan, available brownfield sites and the time for applications to be processed.

It also outlines the time it takes between an application being received, planning permission granted and construction complete for various sizes of projects - based on a review of 600 projects submitted between 2000 and 2015.

The report shows that, on average, applications are determined in just over three months - but this varies between an average of 2.6 months for applications that don't need a Section 106 agreement and nearly 10 for those that do.

Usually, says the report, there is then a gap of between 10 and 14 months before construction begins.

Then, it says, the length of time to complete construction depends on the number of properties to be built - ranging from just shy of nine months for four or fewer properties to almost three years for developments in excess of 250 properties.

According to the report there are currently 63 sites identified on the Welwyn Hatfield Brownfield Register, with a capacity for 2,758 dwellings.

It also states the average house price in the borough is £384,500.

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