The saga of the Local Plan for the whole of Welwyn Hatfield Borough continues.
In November, the council took two important decisions:
(i) to reduce the target number of new homes that have to be built across the whole borough from 16,000 to 13,800
(ii) to propose a new version of the Local Plan that would broadly meet this reduced obligation
This new version of the plan excluded all the new sites around Welwyn, Digswell, Oaklands and Mardley Heath that had been mooted during 2019.
Although this looked like the outcome that our community had been waiting on for two long years, it still needs to be approved by the independent Inspector, who follows a legally set out process in his assessment. He has concluded that he needs to investigate the reduction in target numbers down to 13,800, rather than just accepting it. He has pointed out that, in the meantime, the new proposed plan now falls well short of the existing target of 16,000 homes.
As a result, the Inspector has announced he will be investigating why various sites in each of Digswell, Mardley Heath, Oaklands and Welwyn were not included in the Plan. This includes the possible reintroduction of the sites around Singlers Marsh in Welwyn village, and the substantial development by Tewin Water in Digswell.
WPAG will be working hard over the coming weeks to resist the reintroduction of any of these sites. We have been invited to contribute to the Inspector’s hearings in March, and will be working with both the borough and parish councils to pursue all means available for avoiding these inappropriate developments.
We will keep you posted on progress as and when there is news to share here.