Have your say on future of St Albans district
A NEW consultation which will feed into the next major planning document for the district has been unveiled. It looks at crucial issues which affect the district, including balancing the need to protect the Green Belt with demands for new housing, jobs,
A NEW consultation which will feed into the next major planning document for the district has been unveiled.
It looks at crucial issues which affect the district, including balancing the need to protect the Green Belt with demands for new housing, jobs, leisure, shopping and traffic congestion.
Local people will be asked for their views on a number of key issues including proposed locations for schools and youth clubs, new transport measures, reducing carbon emissions and green living.
Entitled Shaping Our Community, the results will be incorporated into the long-awaited Local Development Framework (LDF) which takes over where the old planning blueprint for St Albans, the District Plan, left off and will run until 2026.
The consultation document was unveiled last week and the council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, said: "It is not just about housing but leisure, culture, the countryside, employment and all the things people see developing over the next few years.
"It will give us a strong view on what the public want us to defend."
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In recent years the district council has been hamstrung at public inquiries by the lack of an LDF and has had to rely on the outdated District Plan as its blueprint for development.
The LDF is unlikely to be formally adopted until 2011 and the response to Shaping Our Community is a key aspect in its development.
John Young, the council's interim director of planning, said: "It is absolutely fundamental that the Plan is seen as evidence-based, deliverable and realistic. The test of soundness is whether it is in accordance with government guidelines."
St Albans is currently required to build 7,200 new homes by 2026 and has already given planning permission for over 50 per cent of them.
But there is every chance that the government will increase that target up until 2031 which could put fresh pressure on the Green Belt.
Council leader Robert Donald said: "We need to know that residents back the stance the council is taking on the issue of green spaces. It is a really crucial issue.
"We need to know as an administration that the public don't want to see the Green Belt eaten into so we can do all we can to preserve it."
He added: "We have to listen, that is the point of this."
Consultation runs until September 28 and will include a touring exhibition, online survey and public meetings in wards on request.
The documents, including a summary leaflet and questionnaire, are available at the council offices, in local libraries and at the exhibitions.
Once feedback has been received, the council will revise the core strategy at the heart of the LDF which will be submitted to the government.
n What do you think? We want to hear your views on the future development of the district. Write to email@example.com