Welwyn Hatfield's Green Belt under threat

PUBLISHED: 11:53 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:27 26 October 2009

THIS week WHT news editor Chris Lennon starts a series of features focusing on different aspects of the core strategy - which is a blueprint that will steer development in Welwyn Hatfield until 2026. First up is housing. IF the figures set in stone in the East of

THIS week WHT news editor Chris Lennon starts a series of features focusing on different aspects of the core strategy - which is a blueprint that will steer development in Welwyn Hatfield until 2026. First up is housing.

IF the figures set in stone in the East of England Plan are to be believed, the world and his wife want to move to Welwyn Hatfield.

For the Government, through those unelected souls at the regional assembly, has decided our borough has to find room for 10,000 homes by 2021.

That target actually dates from 2001 so some housing has already been built or decided upon, but there's still a fair few thousand to find room for in the next 12 years.

But if you thought 10,000 homes in an already densely-populated area was going to be it - think again.

For the Government also dictates that planners have to assume the same rate of growth for the following five years.

And the five years after that.

With Welwyn Hatfield expected to build 500 homes a year in the coming years, you don't need to be a maths genius to work out that's an extra 5,000 on top by 2031.

Green Belt watch out!

Who exactly is going to live in all these homes, and more importantly, where exactly are we expected to put them?

That's the headache currently facing the borough council's planners.

But that's where the core strategy - and the views of the public - come in.

For this is the opportunity for residents to have their say and help shape future development.

As Chris Conway, the council's chief planning officer told me, nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out at this stage.

Every possible site, every suggested plot of land, needs to be considered.

* AN 'issues and options' document is waiting for approval at the next meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council's cabinet.

When and if it is, the core strategy will go out to public consultation for a two-month period over the spring.

That will be the time to make your views known to the council. Further details on how to respond will appear in the WHT nearer the time.

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