North Hertfordshire Local Plan: Dates set for inspector’s examination

North Hertfordshires Local Plan will be examined in Letchworth during November and December. Picture

North Hertfordshires Local Plan will be examined in Letchworth during November and December. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A month-long schedule has been drawn up for the examination of North Hertfordshire’s 2011-to-2031 Local Plan during November and December.

Hearings for North Herts District Council’s plan, which calls for at least 14,000 new homes, will be held in Letchworth during the weeks starting November 13, 20 and 27 – with an extra three days from December 12 onwards.

Only those who responded to the consultation on the pre-submission draft of the Local Plan are invited to speak during the public sessions at the Icknield Centre, off Icknield Way.

According to a version of the schedule finalised on Saturday, housing strategy, deliverability and the Great Belt will be discussed generally during the opening two weeks – November 13 to 17 and 20 to 24.

Housing allocations and settlement boundaries for Letchworth specifically will be discussed on Friday, November 24 – with Baldock, Hitchin, Cockernhoe and Royston covered on Monday, November 27.

The next morning session, on November 29, will be given over to discussions about Knebworth and the Great Ashby area of Stevenage, before the afternoon focuses on Codicote, Ashwell, Barkway, Barley, Breachwood Green, Hexton and Kimpton.

On November 30 the focus will turn to the district’s villages, with discussions about Ickleford, Little Wymondley, Lower Stondon, Oaklands, Offley, Pirton, Preston, Reed, Sandon, St Ippolyts, St Paul’s Walden parish, Therfield, Weston and Graveley – including development north of Stevenage.

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The rest of the schedule – on December 1 and then starting again on December 12 – includes meetings on infrastructure, town centres and the natural and historic environment. December 15 is set aside as a reserve day.

When the Conservative council’s plan was backed in April, several members voted for it despite misgivings in the hope that the inspector would iron things out – but inspector Simon Berkeley has now issued a guidance note to councillors informing them that “it is not my role to ‘improve’ the plan”.

In the document seen by the Comet, Mr Berkeley adds: “I can only recommend main modifications to rectify issues of soundness.”

Those who have the right to speak at the hearings and wish to do so should contact the programme officer Louise St John Howe on 07789 486419, louise@poservices.co.uk or by post at PO Services, PO Box 10965, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 3BF. The deadline to do so is at 5pm on October 20.

Relevant documents and the full schedule can be seen at north-herts.gov.uk/home/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/local-plan-examination.

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