St Albans Lib Dem councillors greet news of Hertsmere local plan with caution

Following the news that Hertsmere Borough Council has pulled its local plan, St Albans Liberal Democrats councillors have said that while this is good news in the short-term regarding the shelving of the controversial Bowmans Cross development, it leaves the door open to developers.

The local plan included a proposed garden village of 6,000 homes to the south-east of St Albans district, called Bowmans Cross. The plan received 18,000 responses during the consultation period, with many residents worried about the coalescence between Colney Heath and London Colney.

Hertsmere has not yet confirmed whether the local plan being pulled is subject to a vote or what the formal status of their Draft Plan now is.

Chris Brazier, district councillor for Colney Heath, said: “The huge outcry of opposition from residents, councillors and community groups alike clearly couldn’t be ignored. Trying to put Hertsmere’s housing solution on our doorstep was a bad idea from the get-go – and I’m glad the local plan’s been pulled.

“However, it’s inevitable that in the future that developers will once more be looking to built on this land – we’ll have to deal with that when the time comes. The fight’s far from over.”

County councillor for Colney Heath and Marshalswick John Hale echoed these sentiments, saying: "I am pleased that this flawed plan has been shelved, but it does open the door to developers to build as they will claim Hertsmere doesn't have a plan.

“The problem is the rules the Conservative government is imposing on councils requiring them to build, build, build with no concern for the impact.  Until the government listens we will be forced to fight application after application."

Council leader Chris White also points to the key problem being with the government’s top-down housing targets, saying: “While I and the council do generally support the development of sites around existing Hertsmere Borough County settlements – as there is a genuine need for more housing – the proposed location of Bowmans Cross was fraught with problems that just couldn’t be overcome.

“Now, we need to see more action being taken to change government-imposed housing targets, which give councils no choice but to propose sites in their local plan that are on the Green Belt.”

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