Harpenden gearing up for vote on future of town planning

PUBLISHED: 10:25 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 18 January 2019

Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan.

Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan.

Archant

Townsfolk will soon have a chance to guide the direction of housing, employment, infrastructure, transport, and green space protection for the next 15 years of Harpenden development.

Next month Harpenden residents have a chance to approve or block the town’s 2018 to 2033 Neighbourhood Plan (NP), which has been put together by a NP Steering Group made up of community representatives, Harpenden Town Council (HTC) and Harpenden Rural Parish Council.

In making the document, the Steering Group has been informed by 3,625 survey responses in three rounds of community engagement.

If adopted, the NP ensures that 25 per cent of the Community Infrastructure Levy from new developments is spent in Harpenden, on projects such as affordable housing, community facilities, and public transport infrastructure.

St Albans district council (SADC) would also be obliged to consider the document in all Harpenden planning applications.

Covering both Harpenden and Kinsbourne Green, it includes proposals to build a minimum of 23 affordable houses on the former Westfield allotment site; 14 homes each at Pan Auto Services and Jewson on Grove Road; and 34 homes at Harpenden Memorial Hospital.

The Southdown Industrial Estate is protected as a key employment location.

Community representative Nicola Wyeth, who helped to draft the document, said: “The main thing is it is written by the people of the town and it means we, as a town, have a say on the future of Harpenden.

“It can’t prevent future development that the higher levels of government might impose but it can change them so they fit with the vision of the town that people have told us.”

She stressed that the referendum has nothing to do with Brexit and is separate to the St Albans Local Plan, currently being drafted by SADC.

The vote will take place on February 7 from 7am to 10pm at polling stations around Harpenden - at Wood End School, Crabtree School, All Saints Church Hall, Batford Memorial Hall, Park Hall, St John’s Church Hall, Harpenden Public Halls, and St Nicholas Church Hall.

View the plan at www.harpenden.gov.uk/useruploads//HNP%20-%20OCTOBER%202018V2.pdf

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