Local Plan Newsletter – Issue 11

The Borough Council has commenced the period of public consultation for the Final Draft of the Local Plan. This started on Tuesday 30th August and ends on Monday 24th October at 5 p.m.

The Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) have produced Newsletter No. 11 which contains details of the dates and venues of their drop-in consultation events, and you are encouraged to note these dates and to attend, in order to get a fuller understanding of the Local Plan.

This consultation process is your final opportunity to make representations before the Local Plan is submitted for independent examination by the Government’s appointed Planning inspector.

But it is important to read the advice given in Newsletter No.11 regarding the basis upon which representations may be made, and to be clear that these representations will be made public. It is the Planning Inspector, and not the WHBC Planning Department who will consider representations at this stage.

For your own personal copy of Newsletter 11, which details the WHBC approach and schedules click Local Plan Newsletter 11 August consultation special

 

 

 

 

 

Local Plan Newsletter – Issue 10

Copy of the Newsletter

To read your own copy of the latest Newsletter from the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Planning Department, click the Local Plan Newsletter 10 July 2016 FINAL

The Local Plan – the latest stage

The Submission of the Final Draft of the Local Plan will be considered by the Borough Council’s Cabinet Housing & Planning Panel (CHPP) on 20 July and then by Cabinet on 2 August. If approved, it will be published for consultation for eight weeks commencing on 22 August and ending on 17 October at 5pm. A series of consultation events will be held across the borough and the dates and venues for these will be published on the Council’s website.

WPAG Response 

WPAG representatives will be working in a sub-group formed by the Welwyn Parish Council’s Planning & Licensing Committee, and representatives of the Welwyn Parish Plan Action Group, to co-ordinate a response to the Borough Council  from Welwyn’s community..

The WPAG is also making plans to highlight the various proposals within the Final Draft Local Plan, as they affect the Parish of Welwyn,  in a series of articles to be posted on this website. These posts will include a summary of the sites selected for housing in Welwyn.

Your Comments

WPAG members will be able to post their comments on the website blog, and in this way, help us shape our contribution to the Welwyn Parish Council sub-group.

The Borough Council will of course be inviting the general public to comment direct to them as part of the Consultation Process.

 

Local Plan – Welwyn Hatfield – Progress update

WHBC Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel Newsletter No 8 reports that they have recommended to Cabinet a revised timetable for the preparation of the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan.

The following are extracts from the WHBC Newsletter No 8 published October 2015

To get your own copy of the Newsletters you are invited to email your details to planningpolicy@welhat.gov.uk or telephone 01707 357532.

The Borough Newsletter No 8 declares:

The revised timetable reflects the amount of time that it will take to: analyse nearly 6,000 consultation responses to the draft plan; assess 61 new and/or amended sites; update evidence, such as the need for new homes in the borough; receive evidence from third-party studies such as the Herts Water Study; and liaise with service providers in respect of schools and healthcare and other infrastructure.

New Sites

The Newsletter identifies that many new and/or amended sites have been put forward for potential inclusion in the Local Plan since the draft was put out to consultation earlier this year. Details of these proposed sites can be found on the Local Plan website, but they come with a caveat. In none of these instances have the proposed sites yet been assessed for suitability.

Of special interest to the WPAG, there are a number of newly proposed housing sites affecting Welwyn directly, and it is worthwhile familiarising yourself with these, in readiness for our involvement in the Consultation on the final draft Local Plan which is scheduled for the Summer of 2016.

Drop In Events

But in fact you do not have to wait that long, because the Borough is running two drop-in events where these proposed new/amended sites will be able to be viewed, as follows:

20th October 2015     – at The Hub, Hatfield Town Centre between 4 pm and 7.30 p.m.

11th November 2015 – at The Focolare Centre, Parkway, Welwyn Garden City, between 4 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.

At these events we are informed that officers will be available to answer questions about the Local Plan process and the feedback received to date.

We repeat, the Borough cautions that these sites have not yet been assessed and therefore no decision has been made on their suitability.

Local Plan Timeline

Autumn – Winter 2015    Review responses and further technical work

Spring 2016                    Complete evidence, site assessments, draft final Local Plan

Summer 2016                 Consultation on final draft Local Plan

Autumn/Winter 2016       Review responses and submit for examination

Early 2017                       Examination in Public

Spring/Autumn 2017       Examination Inspector’s Report and Adoption

The Local Plan – how it relates to Welwyn Parish.

Introduction

This analysis is for members of the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group and is intended to provide a focus on the main issues contained within the Consultation Document, as far as they impact the Village of Welwyn, and the surrounding settlements of Oaklands & Mardley Heath, and Digswell.

For full details of the Local Plan it is recommended that you go to the borough website and access the Local Plan Consultation Document after following simple registration instructions.

Most of the content of the following analysis concerns housing site selection, and is derived from Sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Consultation Document, relating respectively to Oaklands & Mardley Heath, Welwyn Village, and Digswell.

  • To understand better the impact that Woolmer Green proposals might have on Welwyn, go to Section 12.
  • To understand better what is planned for Codicote, and developments along the B656 Welwyn-Codicote Road which will most likely impact life in Welwyn due to their major impact on B656 Highways issues, go to the North Herts Local PLan.

Continue reading

The Local Plan – a Precis

The following Precis is for the benefit of members of the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group, and readers generally, who do not perhaps have a detailed understanding of the planning process which led to the production of the Welwyn Hatfield Consultation Document.

Of necessity, this precis omits technical details and evidence which support the broader statements that have been made, and we apologise if errors have crept in, or if there are major omissions.

We therefore strongly recommend that for a full understanding of the Consultation Document, readers should go to the Borough website and, once Registered, access all sections online.

Continue reading

Welwyn Hatfield – new Local Plan goes out to Public Consultation

The new Borough Local Plan takes shape – but what shape?

(If you are not sure what a Local Plan is – go to What is – a Local Plan?)

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has published their proposed new Local Plan for 2011-2031. It was put out for Public Consultation on 23rd January 2015 and Public Consultation runs to 19th March 2015..

To find out what is in the new Local Plan for 2011-2031, go to WHBC Local Plan Consultation.

The Borough is consulting on:

  • how many homes we need to build,
  • where they should go and on which sites and
  • what type of policies are needed.

In order to gather the evidence which is essential to a successful planning process, consultants working with WHBC have analysed the social, economic and environmental impacts of the policy intentions and sites which are set out in the Local Plan Consultation document.

Have your say!

You are all encouraged to take the time to study the Consultation Document, and to complete the associated Response Forms for:

  • the Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan, (to identify the infrastructure likely to be required to support Local Plan housing growth, and
  • the Sustainability Appraisal.

How to respond?

In order to comment you will need to register your details on the WHBC consultation portal, so do not leave it to the last minute!

Once you’ve registered you will be given a password to ensure your access is secure and that no one else can comment using your name.  Please be aware that this is a public consultation and once your comments have been processed they can be viewed by others.

If you are unable to comment online, you can also email: ku.vo1544836539g.tah1544836539lew@n1544836539alpla1544836539col1544836539 or write to Planning Policy, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6AE.

Paper copies of the consultation material will also be available in the council offices and at libraries throughout the borough.

When to Respond?

Your comments have to be received by post, or online, by 5 pm on Thursday 19th March 2015, but the best way to have your say is to comment online at the WHBC website.

What is – a Local Plan?

What is – a Local Plan?

A Local Plan sets out a vision for the future of a local planning authority, in our case the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield.

It contains strategic policies, growth targets, site allocations and the policies which will guide planning applications.

The Local Plan will decide where and when development should take place.

What period does the Local Plan last?

The Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan will replace the District Plan of 2005 and will cover the period 2011-2031. (The delayed start is due to the inherent delay caused through change in National Government in 2011).

The new Local Plan is thus a 20 year Plan.

What would happen if there is no Local Plan?

A Local Plan is needed in order to comply with Government policy, and is justified by the evidence.

If the borough lacks an up-to-date Local Plan, it could lead to the costly process of ‘planning by appeal’, which would provide far less scope to achieve high quality development.

 

Planning Portal News – 7th February 2013 – New Garden Cities concept

For your convenience we provide a link (on the Links Page) to the Government’s Planning Portal because it is always worth a browse. Sometimes we go further, and recommend selected articles to you.

Of particular interest, the 7th February Planning Portal News includes a heading:

Report finds Infrastructure funding is holding up major residential projects.

The Report referred to has been prepared by property consultants and  analysts, GVA under their own banner ‘National Policy Research Bulletin‘. Within their Bulletin is an article ‘Unlocking Garden Cities‘, which GVA themselves describe as ‘the Government’s Garden Cities and Suburbs Aspiration’:

Planning for large scale housing development lies at the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and features in the Government’s National Housing Strategy published in November 2011. The New Garden Cities concept features as one of the preferred delivery routes to achieving a significant increase in new housing numbers.

So, what is ‘the New Garden Cities’ concept?

You can find the answer to that by reading the article by GVA which can be reached via the Planning Portal for 7th February 2013 . Report finds Infrastructure funding is holding up major residential projects  It is very readable and contains much of educational value for anybody who has an interest in current planning issues and tensions at the national level. These are real issues which in the foreseeable future have the potential to impact most of us living in the South East of England, directly or indirectly.

We believe that WPAG members will find this an interesting read.

Permitted Development Rights – ANTAS Objections

ANTAS (the Association of North Thames Amenity Societies) is an association of local civic societies working to ensure high standards of planning and architecture in our towns and villages, and working to preserve and care for our countryside.  WPAG is member of ANTAS  along with twenty two other civic and community groups across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

With the power of its membership behind it, ANTAS is a voice to be heard at the National level.

As part of the Consultation process, the ANTAS Chairman, (Mr Jon Green), has lodged objections to Mr Pickles, Secretary of State, about two aspects of the Government’s proposed planning reforms.

1) Permitted Development Rights

ANTAS challenges the thought that the proposed PDR’s will alleviate the country’s housing needs. The argument is that although small builders might regard it as good news that building works can proceed with more freedom from planning rules and regulations, i.e. at a faster tempo than before, there must be concerns that the very removal of conventional safeguards within local planning authorities’ procedures will allow potentially inappropriate private residential developments to creep in.

ANTAS give, as an example, the proposed relaxation of controls to permit (domestic) ground floor back extensions up to  6 and 8 metres without the need for local authority planning approval. Such easing of established local authority planning procedures could remove the opportunity for neighbours, and others, to register legitimate objections should they so wish on, for example, such important issues such as loss of amenity, or lessening of security,.

Similarly, ANTAS attack proposals to allow commercial premises to extend and build virtually up to their site boundaries without a planning check to consider the impact on neighbouring land users, or potential traffic and road safety implications where there is a presumption of increased site activity.

2) Major Infrastructure Developments

ANTAS attacks plans to remove into the hands of the Government’s Planning inspectorate, major infrastructural projects lodged with those local planning authorities who, compared to others, are deemed to be statistically low in terms of their ‘track record’ of speed of response and quality of action, i.e. their rate of ‘Refusals’. The criteria for taking such draconian steps is at this stage open to doubt and uncertainty, but of critical importance.

ANTAS argues that the obvious risk of such discipline, clearly intended, is to put pressure on planning departments to speed up their approval rate, potentially at the expense of care and attention to planning priorities.

Go to the ANTAS website to learn more about their work and objectives.

To learn more about the detail of the Government’s proposals, click Permitted Development Rights, or go to the Government Planning Portal on the Links page for information on a wide range of planning related subjects.