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St Albans District Council is at an advanced stage in drafting a ‘Strategic Local Plan’ which has the makings of a disaster for Harpenden.
The District Council wants to build at least 500 houses on green belt land around our town. They will not get all the houses on to a single plot to the north of Harpenden and so three further Green Belt sites, one to the south of Harpenden, another one to the north and one in Batford are candidates to be built on if they get their way.
This will bring 2,000 more people into our town, 1,000 school children and 1,000 more cars on our roads which will put unbearable pressure on our Town’s infrastructure and public services which are already strained. Our Town Council has told the District Council that we are “full” and can take no more but they are not listening.
On top of building at least 500 houses on the green belt, St Albans District Council District plans to build as many as 800 houses within Harpenden.
The Harpenden Green Belt Association has followed the drafting of the SLP for many years and is fully aware that the planning system at SLP level is a rough and ready process. SADC planners are rushed, working to tight timetables and pursuing a 'one size fits all' solution which is not tailored to the needs of Harpenden.
Whilst we all know that more houses are needed, particularly in the 'affordable' category, the key issue is whether Harpenden has the capacity to absorb a major housing development.
It's a myth that SADC has no choice but to build on the Green Belt which surrounds Harpenden. Government policy makes it very clear that local councils can choose whether or not to build on the Green Belt and they should only do so in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
‘Exceptional circumstances’ or not, the real question is how Harpenden can cope with yet more house building.
The fact is there is enough non-Green Belt land in St Albans District to meet the housing needs of local people. Building is already happening in Harpenden at a fast pace with nearly 300 new homes built recently or with permission to be built.
SADC's plans will be a disaster for Harpenden. Harpenden Town Council has told your District Council that the town is effectively 'full' but they don't seem to be listening.
And your District Council is pressing ahead against the background of a report which it commissioned and which states ‘There is overwhelming quantitative evidence that the current level of urban development in St Albans (District) is unsustainable’.
If you are not already a member of our association, but support our aims of protecting Harpenden from ill-considered development, please let us have your email address so we can keep you abreast of developments.
The email address to use is email@example.com
Chairman, Harpenden Green Belt Association
Below are four responses to a public consultation in 2014. Our response to the second public consultation in 2016 can be found under the tab ‘2016 Consultation’.