Updated Sunday 23rd March 2003
Hertfordshire Structure Plan:
Consultants Report Dismissed
An £8000 report commissioned by Herts Council Coucil has been dismissed as "shallow" and "intellectually not very robust" by the Chair of its own Structure Plan panel.
|More high density homes|
The report criticised the authority's preferred option of building on brownfield sites, warning that it could lead to cramming and would do nothing to address the shortage of affordable homes.
The authority is facing the dilemma of releasing greenbelt land to the west of Stevenage or promoting cramming on brownfield sites within towns.
It is anticipated that the current urban housebuilding rate of 252 [in East Herts] will have to increase to 450 as a result. This will be accompanied by an increase in housing density.
The Hertfordshire Structure Plan was suspended in Summer 2003 following advice from the Government Office for the East of England.
The Structure Plan has since been succeeded by strategic planning at a regional level by Government Office for The East Of England following legislation in 2004.
The County Council are no longer required to provide a structure plan
See Addendum below
The County Council is desperate to protect the green belt at the expence of towns. Of particular concern is the proposal to build 5000 new homes on green belt land to the west of Stevenage, which is favoured by the town's borough council but strongly opposed by the County authority.
A number of options for future housebuilding were recently examined, with the Authority controversially choosing to "Plan , Monitor and Manage" - the "Do Nothing" option as dubbed my many.
- Option A Build 46,440 homes on brownfield land and 2760 on greenfield land
- Option B Build 35,600 homes on brownfield land and 13,600 on greenfield sites
- Option C "Plan, Monitor and Manage" - build 3280 homes annually and delay decision on release of greenfield sites
- Option D Delay Structure Plan until introduction of governmet's RPG14 planning guidance
- Option E Develop 5000 homes on greenfield land west of Stevenage.
The Hertfordshire Structure Plan covers a 15 year period and includes plans on housebuilding in the county.
In October 2001, the County Council issued a new draft 15-year plan for 2001-2016.
An earlier study by The County Council sparked outrage when it identified car parks and back gardens as suitable sites for the development of 45,000 new homes in the county. District Councils countered by saying that only 35,800 could be accomodated - a shortfall of nearly 10,000.
At a meeting in May 2002, councillors decided to adopt a "plan, monitor and manage" approach to housebuilding. Any policy decision would be postponed until 2006.
In the five years up to 2001, an average of 3200 new homes per year have been built in the county.
Larger developments must provide 30 percent affordable homes.
Hertfordshire County Council is a member of SERPLAN - South East Regional Planning Conference. SERPLAN is an organisation that represents local authorites in the South East, including Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire.
In the Summer of 2003, the Hertfordshire Structure Plan was put on hold following advice from the Government Office for the East of England that it would be superceded by regional plans.
In February 2004 the East of England Regional Assembly approved a draft planning document that imposes a requirement of up to 90,000 new homes in Hertfordshire between 2001 and 2021. This figure is the equivalent of 9 towns the size of Hertford.