So here we have it.
The new vision for the future of Hertfordshire, expressed in the jargon-packed “Regional Spatial Strategy” on which we are all invited to comment.
This vision requires the most heavily populated county in the country to take up to 100,000 additional houses, with no guarantee of supporting infrastructure and a clear threat to build large numbers of those houses on what is now Green Belt.
The Green Belt is the most popular and best understood tool in the complex planning toolbox. It has served its purpose of protecting the countryside from urban sprawl and preventing the market towns and settlements, which give Hertfordshire its character, from joining up in a “Metroland” mass. It is now under the greatest threat since its creation fifty years ago.
Not only is the St.Albans Green Belt threatened by expanding Hatfield and Hemel Hempstead, but the same fate hangs over East Herts. from Harlow, and North Herts. from Stevenage and Luton. The rural character of the county clearly jars with Regional planners who would prefer that we just became a North London suburb.
It is essential that those who care take this opportunity given them by the current public consultation to make their views known. Let us see if we can get 100,000 people to respond. Then the planners would have to listen.