How will NHDC Local Plan impact our areas?
PUBLISHED: 17:01 05 September 2020
The latest round of North Herts District Council Local Plan hearings are due to begin at the end of this month – so how will the Local Plan affect you?
What has happened so far, and what will the Local Plan bring? The Comet has put together a refresher for those who may not be caught up on the plans.
In September 2016, the draft Local Plan was approved by NHDC’s cabinet, which – if successful – would bring around 14,000 new homes to the district and would shape housing policy up to 2031.
Following the approval, the consultation period opened and local communities and organisations, such as parish councils, were able to submit their comments ahead of its submission in June 2017.
Examination hearings took place in Letchworth in November and December 2017, and January and February 2018 and were overseen by government appointed planning inspector, Simon Berkeley, before he considered the plan as a whole and came back to the council with modifications.
The hearings saw campaigner groups from across the district come out in force to put their cases forward on why the green belt or infrastructure in their areas should be spared in the plans.
Mr Berkeley told the council of his amendments, having looked at the responses received during the consultation. While he did not call for a change in the overall number of homes, he stated that the council should have set out more requirements for prospective developers to meet before planning permission could be granted.
In January last year, a further consultation opened – allowing interested parties to comment on the modifications, which needed to be addressed by the council before the plans could be recommended for adoption.
In light of further “issues and reservations”, in July 2019 Mr Berkeley called for further hearing sessions to be carried out.
He cited concerns over housing need, the use of Green Belt in the Local Plan, proposed east of Luton sites, safeguarded land west of Stevenage.
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As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the hearings – scheduled for dates in March and April this year – were cancelled, and have since been rescheduled for September and October, and will be via video call.
If adopted, what will the Local Plan mean for our area?
Baldock: Baldock is earmarked for 3,386 new homes within the Local Plan, almost doubling to size of the town.
The site labelled BA1 would be the largest single housing development throughout the Local Plan. It is located at Blackhorse Farm, in the north of Baldock.
It would provide 2,800 – 2,500 delivered by 2031 – two primary schools and a secondary school, as well as a community hall and GP surgery. Land west of Clothall Road is assigned for 200 homes, and another 200 set for land south of Clothall Common. East Clothall Common is earmark for 95 houses, while land off Yeomanry Drive, Icknield Way, Clare Crescent, and Deans Yard will bring less than 30 new houses each.
Graveley and North Stevenage: Land to the north of Stevenage, which comes under Graveley parish, is allocated for approximately 900 homes.
To the south-east of the site is Forster Country, countryside within Stevenage Borough Council’s remit that was controversially assigned for the development of 800 houses. There would also be an additional 8 homes built on land at Milksey Lane.
Land off Mendip Way in Stevenage known as GA2 has been the source of controversy among campaigners. It is earmarked for 600 homes, while GA1 – Roundwood in Graveley parish, off Weston Way – will bring 330.
Hitchin: 700 homes are assigned to Highover Farm in Hitchin, with the possibility of a new primary school on site. A further six sites include: Land north of Pound Farm, 84 homes, Land south of Oughtonhead Lane, 46 homes, land at junction of Grays Lane & Lucas Lane, 16 homes, land at junction of Grays Lane & Crow Furlong, 53 homes, Cooks Way, 50 homes, former B&Q site, 60 homes.
Knebworth: Plans would see a further 598 homes in Knebworth spread across land at Deards End, of Gypsy Lane, the Chas Lowe site, and to the east of the village.
Letchworth: North Herts District Council has planned for the addition of 2,167 new homes in total for Letchworth, with land north of the town bearing the brunt of development. Known as LG1, the Green Belt land surrounding The Grange playing field is earmarked for 900 new houses. The council has acknowledged that the site would have to fit with the Garden City principles.
There will also be 120 homes on land east of Kristiansand Way and Talbot Way and 45 homes on land north of the former Norton School. Other sites include land off or at Birds Hill, Radburn Way, the Pixmore Centre, former Lannock School, Croft Lane, Glebe Road, Icknield Way, Foundation House and Hamonte.
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