Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland slams North Herts Local Plan as examination starts

PUBLISHED: 08:26 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:45 17 November 2017

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland. Picture: Danny Loo

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has ripped into North Hertfordshire's draft Local Plan - in the same week the planning inspector has started their examination.

In an open letter published on Monday, Mr McPartland slammed the plan calling for 13,800 new homes as “not positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy” – and repeated his call for a new garden city to alleviate North Herts’ housing shortage.

Mr McPartland’s Stevenage constituency includes some areas, like Knebworth and Codicote, that come under the purview of North Herts District Council.

The Conservative MP’s letter was released on the same day six weeks of examination hearings began in Letchworth – where NHDC, also Tory-controlled, is based.

Mr McPartland said: “The proposed Local Plan takes no account of the need for highways, social and affordable housing, education, health and potential social and leisure infrastructure that will be required by this amount of housing in each community.

“A new garden city located in NHDC could resolve all of these issues and create a wonderful place to live, if 13,800 homes are really required in North Hertfordshire and 7,600 within Stevenage.”

Mr McPartland said that adding hundreds of homes to the edges of villages like Knebworth and Codicote would be “hugely damaging” due to the strain on public services like schools, and expressed concern about plans for 930 homes north of Stevenage on Forster Country, the home of Howards End writer EM Forster.

He added: “NHDC should pause, reflect on the planning inspector’s report and withdraw this proposed Local Plan that does such significant harm to the Green Belt.”

Responding to Mr McPartland’s letter, NHDC planning portfolio holder Councillor David Levett said: “The Planning Inspectorate is currently examining the council’s Local Plan and will be considering all representations made in writing and in person at the examination.”

NHDC Local Plan examination hearings are being held at the Icknield Centre in Letchworth.

Meetings this week have focused on sustainable development, housing strategy and deliverability. The last hearings will be in the new year.A full timetable is available at north-herts.gov.uk.

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