St Albans council re-grouping after housing blueprint appeal defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:39 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 24 July 2017

Green Belt land for St Albans' SLP off Sandridgebury Lane looking towards Woollams playing fields

Green Belt land for St Albans' SLP off Sandridgebury Lane looking towards Woollams playing fields

Archant

Defeated St Albans council is re-grouping and planning its next move after losing a critical appeal into its future housing blueprint.

Green Belt land in Harpenden in between Cooters End Lane and Luton Road, earmarked for possible urban expansion in St Alban district council's draft Strategic Local PlanGreen Belt land in Harpenden in between Cooters End Lane and Luton Road, earmarked for possible urban expansion in St Alban district council's draft Strategic Local Plan

In June St Albans district council (SADC) appealed against planning inspector David Hogger’s recommendation that its Strategic Local Plan (SLP) should be withdrawn - but the appeal was thrown out.

The now-defunct SLP outlines all major housing development until 2031 and took more than 10 years to produce.

While most of the work can be salvaged, SADC must reevaluate its approach to communicating with other councils, as Mr Hogger said it was not co-operative enough on housing infrastructure issues which will overlap into neighbouring council boundaries.

Fresh talks with the four disgruntled councils will now be scheduled and SADC are looking to meet with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to talk about a new methodology for calculating housing need, which in the pipeline. It is thought the new approach will look at local salaries to work out affordability of houses - and force more building in areas with a disparity.

This change might affect the number of houses planned in the forced redrafting of the SLP.

The portfolio holder for planning at SADC, Cllr Mary Maynard, said it will be a busy summer: “A lot of hard work has gone into getting to this advanced stage and I am determined that we will continue to progress and maintain cross-party support.”

She added that she was disappointed with the high court result: “However, that legal issue has been settled now. We have to accept it and move forward with the effort to finalise an SLP for the district.”

District Cllr David Yates hopes SADC and neighbouring authorities can “present a single voice to Herts county council and the government on the infrastructure deficiencies across our area”.

District Cllr Iain Grant agreed: “With the government set to make potentially significant changes in the near future to the framework under which the SLP would be assessed and examined for soundness, particularly on housing need, it will be helpful to discuss those changes with neighbours and seek to share our understanding of their implications.”

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