St Albans Strategic Local Plan: six-week consultation starts soon

Green belt land around Redbourn outlined in St Albans district council's Strategic Local Plan for ar

Green belt land around Redbourn outlined in St Albans district council's Strategic Local Plan for around 2500 houses - Credit: Archant

Consultation on St Albans’ draft Strategic Local Plan (SLP) begins next Friday, January 8 – with hopes the important planning blueprint will be adopted in May 2017.

St Albans district council is keen for residents, community groups and developers to give their views on the updated version of the plan, which pinpoints tracts of Green Belt land for housing, social amenities, commerce and infrastructure.

While a previous public consultation at the end of 2014 asked people what they thought of the document, the current draft needs representations on whether it has been prepared in accordance with statutory procedures and whether it is sound – in other words, effective.

The six-week consultation is a chance for people to make comments before the SLP is submitted to the Communities Secretary in June 2016.

In November, a planning inspector will examine the plan, and tell the council about changes it should make, or whether the draft can be officially adopted.

The SLP has attracted criticism across the district, particularly from residents wanting to protect the Green Belt from expansion.

The Harpenden Green Belt Association is concerned that councillors are “flying blind” about the likely impact of their proposal to pave the way for 4,000 homes to be built on greenfield sites - including in Redbourn, Harpenden and Oaklands College - through the document.

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A spokesman for the group said the authority had ignored the fact that people had made it “very clear in the last public consultation they do not want new build on Green Belt land”.

He asked whether councillors knew that sites earmarked for new homes “were chosen without any up-to-date traffic modelling being undertaken by [Herts county council’s highway contractors]? St Albans district council planners simply do not know what the impact will be on our crowded roads, railway stations or parking spaces.”

To comment on the draft SLP go to: