We continue to be very concerned that Hertsmere seem to want to build 9,000 new homes and put a high number of them in Shenley Parish. It was very encouraging that so many residents attended the Hertsmere Planning Department’s new Local Plan’s Issue’s & Options Drop session at Shenley Primary School on 13th November last year. We hope that many have people have made their views known and that Hertsmere listens.
We mentioned that we wrote a long letter to the Planning Department giving our views and asking numerous questions. The letter was followed by a meeting with the Planning Team at Hertsmere on 7th December which was also attended by Cllrs. William Susman, Anthony Spencer and Peter Wayne. I am sorry to report that we cannot give you any feedback from the meeting because at the start of the meeting we were told that they were unable to give us a response to our letter. They informed us that they will not be replying to individual submissions as they have had over 1000 responses. We did point out that we were representing the Shenley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and the Shenley Parish Council and therefore Shenley Community, two bodies rather than individuals, but this made no difference. It was very disappointing. A follow up letter was sent to the Planning team and we have just received a response. Further meetings with the Planning Team will be arranged and hopefully we will have more to tell you in the coming months.
The day after the Hertsmere meeting we met our MP. Oliver Dowden. He is very sympathetic to our concerns about the number of homes Hertsmere seems to want Shenley to have and says he will do all he can to help. He confirmed that the Government asked Hertsmere to build 3,720 homes not 9,000.
Our Consultant Angela Koch was at the meeting on the 7th December. Her recommendation to us after the meeting was that we should proceed with our Neighbourhood Plan as speedily as possible and make sure that we have good Design Policy. We agree with Angela. It is very important for us to proceed with the Shenley Neighbourhood Plan with an even greater sense of urgency and to this end we are doing all we can to progress the Draft Plan. Rosemary Gilligan has been in regular contact with Aecom who are writing the vital reports that we need. The Site Allocation report has just been completed, the Housing Needs Assessment is underway and we should have a draft copy in early March. The Character Assessment will be started once the Housing Needs Assessment is completed. All the reports are extremely important and are needed for us to be able to do the Draft Plan. As soon as practical we will hold a Public meeting to give you a chance to find out where we are and so you can give us more feedback. We hope to put the results of the Housing & Development Survey on the village website shortly.
Just before printing SVM we had the opportunity to ask Morris Bright, our County Councillor & Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council some questions at the Parish Council meeting on 6th February. He told us that HBC do not want to build 9000 homes. The final figure should be known in March and he hopes it will not be quite as high. He agrees that regular contact between all parties concerned is needed. The preferred site options will not be available until October this year. He wants to protect our Green Belt but at the same time more homes are needed. He assures us that as our County Councillor he will do all he can to make sure adequate infrastructure is provided.
Cllr Nicky Beaton
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.