It is "imperative" that the finalised St Albans Local Plan is submitted to the UK Government before mid-2025 to secure the safety of much of the district's green belt, according to district and county councillor Paul De Kort.

The Harpenden East politician appeared at a public meeting at Katherine Warington School on Wednesday, January 31.

More than 140 people attended the meeting with the councillor, who was invited by The Harpenden Society to report on the progress being made on the St Albans Local Plan.

Cllr De Kort warned that without the submission of an acceptable Plan before the middle of next year, protection of key areas of the Green Belt against housing development might well be lost.

As it stands, St Albans City & District Council must find land for 15,000 new homes to constructed over the next 17 years.

Herts Advertiser: More than 140 people attended the meeting.More than 140 people attended the meeting. (Image: Ron Taylor / The Harpenden Society)

The leader of the council Chris White challenged this requirement in a letter to the Secretary of State, arguing the figure "should be much lower".

The leader previously told The Herts Advertiser: "It is wrong to suggest that we should ignore Government policy requiring us to allow for 15,000 houses to be built in the district over the next 17 years.

"The ministerial response was quite clear that the Government’s policy stood."

As a result, areas across the district have been identified to be "released from the Green Belt", as part of the council's Local Plan.

If the Local Plan is not accepted, the local authority will lose its control over which areas of the Green Belt are chosen for development.

During the January 31 meeting, Cllr De Kort pointed out that although a recent statement by Secretary of State Michael Gove had indicated a move away from mandatory to "advisory" house building targets, it was clear that the requirement for St Albans council to sanction the building of 15,000 new homes between now and 2041, would not necessarily be eased.

Herts Advertiser: Cllr Paul De Kort warned that the Local Plan must be submitted by mid-2025.Cllr Paul De Kort warned that the Local Plan must be submitted by mid-2025. (Image: Ron Taylor / The Harpenden Society)

Although the council was keen to make maximum use of brownfield sites, surveys had shown that they could accommodate only around 900 dwellings. 

It meant that land had to be made available elsewhere for building about 11,000 more homes.

Cllr Paul De Kort commented: “Putting together a Local Plan is a complex activity for any local authority. The particular circumstances of St Albans District multiply the challenge.

"I hope my presentation and responses to the audience's questions provided more clarity on the local context, the progress made to date and what remaining uncertainties there are to be resolved.


"Very recent ministerial statements appear to allow for greater consideration of specific local pressures and I welcomed that during the evening.

"It is something that we have been demanding for a long time."

St Albans City & District Council plans to submit its Local Plan in March 2025, before it is adopted fully in March 2026.

Further information about the Local Plan can be found at: