Housing minister threatens to intervene in council

PUBLISHED: 12:35 24 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 24 March 2018

Sajid Javid. Photo: Ian Carter.

Sajid Javid. Photo: Ian Carter.

Archant

The Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has written to St Albans council threatening to intervene in the preparation of their Local Plan.

Mr Javid did admit the council had made some progress, however he will continue to monitor the council while it prepares to build as many as 14,608 new homes in the period 2020-36.

He wrote: “I will continue to monitor your progress closely and any further significant delays in meeting your timetable will cause me to have considerable doubt as to whether your council is doing everything that is necessary in connection with the preparation of its Local Plan.

“I will not hesitate to consider how to use the full range of powers Parliament has given me to ensure a Plan is in place.”

The council’s previous Local Plan was rejected after a High Court battle with other West Herts authorities.

It refused to accelerate the process for putting a new Plan in place, fearing it would be rejected again and the government would intervene.

The leader of the council Alec Campbell said: “The council is firmly committed to producing our Local Plan to schedule.

“We are pleased the Secretary of State has recognised that the council is making progress.

“We believe we are best placed to take the important decisions required to deliver our new Local Plan and get the best possible outcome for our community.”

The council’s portfolio holder for planning Mary Maynard said: “I am delighted the government is not intervening in our Local Plan process. It means that we will be able to decide on future development in the district locally.

“It is a credit to the hard work and commitment of officers at the council and the cooperative working between members of all parties. All our neighbouring councils, every council in Hertfordshire, and the county council, all sent messages of support to government on our behalf, as did our MPs Anne Main and Bim Afolami. I would like to thank them all. I hope to take the Plan forward working collaboratively and cooperatively and deliver development that really meets the needs of local people.”

To read the Secretary of State’s letter visit www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/693943/Annex_A5_-_St_Albans.pdf

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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