Agreeing scale of planning

I read with interest your front page article of The Comet (March 16) where Ellie Clarke of the Hitchin Forum states that the local planning authority needs to urgently agree policies to control the scale and impact of new building to protect Hitchin s cha

I read with interest your front page article of The Comet (March 16) where Ellie Clarke of the Hitchin Forum states that the local planning authority needs to urgently agree policies to control the scale and impact of new building to protect Hitchin's character and economy. This I agree with.

The planning applications for large scale housing developments in the town are possibly the result of developers taking North Hertfordshire District Council for a ride because they have no Approved Local Plan giving guidance on developments. The current Local Plan started on April 23, 1996 and had an effective end date on March 31, 2001 and is now totally out of date, what has happen since then? A large number of public meetings with consultants, district councillors and council officers to produce planning briefs which act as guidance and may not be legislative. Your article mentions that a council spokesman stated. "We will shortly be starting consultation on the relevant local development framework documents (the replacement for the local plan)." By the time this document is complete the developers could have run rampant through North Hertfordshire making our historic market towns unrecognisable.

The Deputy Prime Ministers Office has an online planning resource at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/ This Planning Portal is the UK Government's planning resource which the public can use to learn about the planning system, apply for planning permission, find out about development near you, appeal against a planning decision and research the latest government policy. Here one can find out what planning proposals there are for North Hertfordshire District and what developments are proposed? This appears inadequate and may be a reason why no area in Hitchin or North Hertfordshire is safe from redevelopment.

CHRIS PARKER, Keep Hitchin Special, Hampden Road, Hitchin


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