NHDC Draft Local Plan

Update on Process: Last month I highlighted the extraordinary meeting of the Council to endorse the proposed emerging (or draft) Local Plan. It was the only topic on the agenda and the meeting heard public participation from a number of groups, almost exclusively speaking against the proposals. The council heard a presentation from the Executive Member for Planning, and then a prolonged debate involving most of the council. The resolution to endorse the draft plan was supported by 32 votes, with 12 voting against or abstaining (which included me).

Implications of Local Plan for Knebworth: There are several sites proposed for Knebworth, one in the centre of the village and the rest for removal from the Green Belt, with dwelling estimates (area based rule of thumb, not developer proposal) totalling 791, as follows:

SHLAA Ref Address Site Type Refined dwelling estimate
52 Land at Deards End Green Belt 227
335 Land rear of Redwood, Deards End Lane Green Belt 14
53 Land at Gypsy Lane Green Belt 229
55 Land North of Old Lane Green Belt 63
336 Land east of Old Lane Green Belt 44
57 Land south of Swangley’s Lane Green Belt 100
58 Land north of Watton Road Green Belt 100
KB/m01 Chas Lowe, London Road PDL within village boundary 14

A map of the sites is available, and you can find out more by searching for “draft emerging allocations Knebworth”, with information on the Parish Council and NHDC websites. The full detail of the Emerging Local Plan may be obtained from:

Next Steps and Timings: The next step is for a final decision by the NHDC Cabinet to submit the plan for public consultation which, in this context, is collecting responses for review by the Planning Inspector, on behalf of the Secretary of State.

The decision by Cabinet will be taken at a meeting in September, so that the statutory period of 6 weeks for the consultation will begin sometime around mid October, so there is time to examine the proposals so that you are ready to submit any comments once the consultation begins.

Note that, if you submitted comments in response to previous consultations on the plan, such as the Preferred Options consultation in December 2014, and believe that the updated plan does not fully address your concerns, you should submit your comments again in October. This time the comments will be examined by the Planning Inspector, on behalf of the Secretary of State, and not by the planning officers in NHDC, as part of his review of the whole plan. It is expected that formal submission to the Planning Inspector will happen in the first part of 2017 and approval of the plan will be some time after that, possibly not until 2018.

Joint Waste Collection and Street Cleaning Contract

A contract for waste collection and street cleansing in the District is not the most exciting topic imaginable. However, it does account for around 45% of all North Herts District expenditure, so getting it wrong could have catastrophic consequences for the Council budget. It has been decided to go out to tender jointly with East Herts as by doing this there will be an elimination of duplication in management of the contract and should result in a reduction in unit costs. Before we can do this the contract specifications for North and East Herts have to be brought into line: not least the termination date of our current contracts, but also in some detailed aspects of waste and recycling. To let the contract will therefore take quite some time, but the decision has now been made to move forward with the tender process.

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