North Herts District Council cabinet approves draft Local Plan to build more than 14,000 homes

North Herts District Council's offices in Letchworth.

North Herts District Council's offices in Letchworth. - Credit: Archant

A draft Local Plan to build 14,000 homes in North Herts was approved at a cabinet meeting in Letchworth last night.

Seven representatives from towns and villages affected were able to put forward their views and urge the cabinet to reconsider the application – but were told this wouldn’t be the case and that they should use the upcoming consultation period to submit their objections.

The plan – which shapes housing policy up to 2031 – sets out how the council will balance the need for development to provide new homes and employment in the district to meet demand.

Christine Watson, from the Save Rural Baldock action group, said the town’s future was under threat from the Local Plan, which proposes to add more than 2,000 homes to Baldock – the largest number of houses for a single area in the plan.

She said that new homes should be an investment but the impact on infrastructure would be massive and developers wouldn’t be the ones facing the long term problems it would cause.

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And she pointed out that Baldock hadn’t be exempt from development in the past, with the creation of Clothall Common in the 1970s and 1980s, so it shouldn’t have to take such a big hit again.

“We shall be urging everyone in Baldock to take part in the consultation,” she said.

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David Switzer of Letchworth opposed building north of Radburn Way and said that it was ‘inconceivable’ that the land – which has been considered on and off for 20 years – had featured again in proposals.

Phil Beavis cited flood risk being one of the problems for proposed new-builds in Whitwell.

In Ashwell, concerns about visibility and privacy were raised, as the proposed Claybush Road site to the south looks over the village.

Ashwell parish councillor Graham Lee said: “We’re not against building in Ashwell but other sites should have been considered.”

However planning officer Nigel Smith said that this was the only site put forward.

Cabinet member David Levett is responsible for planning at North Herts District Council.

“Our Local Plan is instrumental in shaping the future character of North Hertfordshire,” he said.

“It plays a key role in supporting the growth of our economy, planning for the right type and number of homes in the right place to create sustainable communities.

“We had a considerable number of responses from individuals, businesses and developers to our Local Plan Preferred Options consultation last year.

“Now that the draft plan has been approved by cabinet, local communities and other organisations will have the chance to submit further comments during the consultation stage.”

The next stage will be a statutory six-week period of consultation starting on Wednesday, October 19, before the Local Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State’s inspectors in spring 2017.

The papers are available at by searching Local Plan.

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