Herts Ad Comment: The sorry tale of the Local Plan

Herts Advertiser comment

Herts Advertiser comment - Credit: Archant

“An utter mess”, “a dog’s breakfast”, “a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money” - just some of the damning comments made this week in relation to the district’s failed local plan.

So where did it all go wrong? And who is ultimately responsible?

Council leader Julian Daly firmly screwed his courage to the sticking place over the district’s Strategic Local Plan. He refused to be swayed over suggestions that the scheme was not fit for purpose, and even today disputes suggestions that St Albans has failed to work with neighbouring authorities.

It’s one thing to be resolute and single-minded in your decision-making, to move forwards without hesitation to achieve your objectives.

It’s quite another kettle of fish to be tunnel-visioned, to ignore the advice of those individuals and organisations who should really know what they’re talking about, and to then end up flat on your face when your lofty schemes come asunder.

In fact, even in the wake of this week’s revelation that planning inspector David Hogger has effectively rejected the SLP, he remains steadfast in his opinions.

However, he did finally accept that he risked the document being taken out of his hands unless it was formally adopted, with the government basically deciding on what the contents of the SLP would be. Such a development would be a massive blow to local democracy, and surely undermine further the position of the council’s ruling administration?

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Unfortunately Cllr Daly is unlikely to read these comments, or the accompanying article, as he freely admits to not being a reader of his local paper. Perhaps that is indicative of how out-of-touch he is when it comes to what is happening on his doorstep, and the bitter backlash which the SLP has faced in many local communities.

Does Cllr Daly have any answers about what happens next? Not as far as we can tell. Watch this space.