Housing minister threatens to intervene in council

Sajid Javid. Photo: Ian Carter.

Sajid Javid. Photo: Ian Carter. - Credit: 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.

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“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