Welwyn Hatfield’s Local Plan set to be submitted with no significant changes

PUBLISHED: 10:43 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 16 March 2017

Lib Dem borough councillor Malcolm Cowan

Lib Dem borough councillor Malcolm Cowan

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Local Plan is set to be approved with no significant changes, despite a wave of criticism during a two-month consultation.

The plan to build around 13,000 houses by 2032 will be voted on by a planning committee this evening, with officers set to recommend it is submitted to the Secretary of State with minimal changes.

Proposals to build thousands of homes on Green Belt land have infuriated residents, with many claiming “exceptional circumstances” required to justify it had not been demonstrated.

A 1,500-page document outlining the process is available online, which Lib Dem leader Malcolm Cowan claimed was the latest step in a “long and tortuous” route to a Local Plan.

He said: “This is not a list of changes, it is a justification for no change – apart from a few minor corrections.

“This rejection of every view put forward by residents and others is yet another example of the council saying ‘we want your views’ and then ignoring them, just as they did over the brown bin tax.

“It is hard to believe that not one comment made about any of the proposed sites was thought worthy of a modification to what was sent out last year.”

He added: “We continue to advocate that a new Garden City or New Town that lies beyond the Green Belt – where services can be designed in from scratch, not shoehorned in later – is a better way forward, and note that the Government now supports that as well.

“We look forward to making our case in front of the inspector that will surely be appointed to review the plan.”

Tonight’s meeting, which is open to the public, is at the council’s debating chamber in The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, at 7.30pm.


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