Local Plan is ‘opportunity’ for younger people in North Herts to own their own home says councillor behind report – as new Baldock link road also proposed

NHDC offices in Letchworth

NHDC offices in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

The man behind drawing up the North Herts Local Plan Preferred Options consultation – which will frame the district’s housing policy for a generation or more – is encouraging as many people as possible to attend next week’s public meeting as the number of planned homes is set to rise by 2,500.

Councillor David Levett and his eight strong team have been busy spending months sifting through an incredible 8,500 responses made on the proposed policies and allocation of land in North Herts for housing and employment for the period up to 2031.

The full council meeting is to be held from 7.30pm on Wednesday, July 20, at North Herts Leisure Centre in Letchworth, and will be a chance for residents to hear North Herts District Council report on the representations – with Mr Levett confirming the number of new homes will now be set at 14,600 from the original estimate of 12,100.

Around 2,800 homes have been earmarked for a new neighbourhood on land north of Baldock – with the plan also proposing a specially-built new link road connecting the A507 London Road to A505 Baldock bypass – including a new bridge across the railway near to Baldock railway station.

Mr Levett – responsible for planning at the council – speaking to the Comet at a special media briefing at the council offices in Gernon Road said: “We have taken into account concerns raised about supporting infrastructure on the larger sites. For example Baldock residents raised concerns about traffic issues and as a result the strategic policy for north of Baldock now includes the need for a new link road to alleviate these problems.”

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Councillor Levett also views the report as an ‘opportunity’ for countless younger families who dream of owning their own homes.

“We’ve listened to the large number of people who responded. The main feedback we had concerned the sites of the intended new homes and have now set out specific strategic policies for every site with more than 500 homes.

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“We view this plan as a real opportunity for new homes to be provided for younger people. The plan has taken into account the supporting infrastructure, employment and retail opportunities to achieve this.”

If the draft of the plan is endorsed at full council it will then go before cabinet for approval in September. A statutory six-week consultation will then take place before it is submitted to the Secretary of State’s inspectors in ‘early’ 2017 – ahead of the government-imposed deadline of March 2017.

Mr Levett added: “We have to draw a line in the sand in order to present our report. We are better placed than many authorities across the country in terms of submitting their plans for consideration.

“By presenting this report now we can avoid the Government potentially imposing higher numbers of homes upon us. And we also avoid ‘hostile’ property developers who could build on land.

“My team and I have worked very hard on this and I thank them for their hard work – I fully intend to see this project through to the end.

“The public meeting promises to be a lively affair but I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and listen to what we have to say.”

For more information on the meeting, click here for the agenda.

For more on the Local Plan in general click here or search for Local Plan on the North Herts District Council website.

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