Draft District Plan
The District Plan sets out how the District Council will deliver sustainable development in the district up to 2031. It is an overarching strategy that will guide development and establishes a number of objectives and supporting policies.
The key issues outlined in the plan include:
- Local Economy
- The Housing
- Infrastructure & Services
- Town Centres
- Rural Services
- The Environment
Local Planning Authorities are required to establish the level of housing need through demographic projections. These show that there will be a need for approximately 16,390 dwellings over 20 years.
In addition to housing it is important that the council plans for the right types of jobs in the right locations and also ensures the necessary community infrastructure is provided alongside development.
The strategy therefore plans for up to 505 new jobs, along with new schools and new roads to support new and existing communities.
Following a number of public consultations, a draft District Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for "examination" in 2017. This process resulted in a list of modifications suggested by the Planning Inspectorate, including changes to housing figures. Controversially, this included changes to wording that require housing figures to be quoted as a minimum, rather than the original maximum. This means that sites identified for potential housing need to accomodate "at least xxx homes", rather than "up to xxx homes".
More information about the District Plan is available on the District Council's website here.
The District Plan and Hertford
Hertford is the second largest town in the District. The population recirded by the 20011 censues was 26,658, whilst ONS statistics estimate the 2016 population to be 28,689.
The draft plan recognises that there are capacity issues within Hertford's schools at both primary and secondary levels. The plans also acknowledges that the town is constrained by it's historic character, the A414 trunk road and subsequent congestion; and the presence of locally and nationally important wildlife assets.
The draft plan identifies five sites for development:
- Mead Lane - 300 homes
- Archers Spring - 300 homes
- West of Thieves Lane - 250 homes
- North of Bengeo - 150 homes
- Mangrove Road - 50 homes
Areas ruled out include historic parks and river valleys.
2016 Final Draft & Consultation
The final draft of the proposed District Plan was published in the latter half of 2016 and a public consultation opened on Thursday 3rd November 2016, running for six weeks.
2018 Modifications and Consultation
The Examination in Public held by the Planning Inspectorate in late 2017 resulted in a number of suggersted modifications to be made before the plan could be approved by the government and adopted by the district authority.
The list of modifications is lengthy and detailed in a 184 page document availabel on the District Council's website.
One of the most controversial changes is the requiredment to set a minumum level for providing new homes, rather than a maximum. So, for example, land in Mead Lane that was formerly a gas works has been identified as having potential to provide "up to 200 homes". The Planning Inspectorate have required this to be changed to "at least 200 homes".
Another controversial modification is the adding of a passage that proposes the "provision of a Hertford bypass to address identified constraints on the A414, in combination with Sustainable Travel Town initiatives".
The Council ran a 6-week consultation on these modifications between the 15th February and 29th March 2018.
The Planning Inspectorate is expected to issue their report on the final consultation around the end of April 2018. Councillors will then vote to adopt the District Plan, probably some time in May 2018.
This article was last updated on Saturday 21st April 2018.