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12/09/2018

Brokenshire prevents adoption of East Hertfordshire’s local plan

Words: Laura Edgar
James Brokenshire / Ministry of Housing

The housing secretary has issued a holding direction on the adoption of the East Hertfordshire District Local Plan amid concerns about the release of green belt land.

The intervention came yesterday afternoon (11 September), not long before East Hertfordshire District Council was due to adopt the plan.

In his letter, James Brokenshire said he had received several requests to intervene, including from Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, the Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), and a number of parish councils.

Among the complications with the plan is the release of land within the green belt.

Consequently, Brokenshire wrote: “I hereby direct East Hertfordshire District Council not to take any step in connection with the adoption of the plan, while I give the issues raised in the letters further consideration.”

Linda Haysey, Leader of East Hertfordshire District Council, said: “I am, of course,  very disappointed with this decision both because it has been made at such a late stage in the process and also because the plan was inspected by a senior and experienced planning inspector (appointed by the secretary of state) and the council has fully accepted all of her recommendations and suggestions.”

She said the council remains confident in the “soundness” of the plan and will work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to resolve any issues it has with the plan.

“Due to the impact that this will have on the local and wider community and in view of the thorough examination of the plan that has already taken place, we will encourage the secretary of state to act expeditiously to avoid further uncertainty.  We are all too well aware of the speculative development that has taken place in parts of our district because of the lack of a five-year land supply.  None of us want to be in that position again.”

Image credit | Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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