Neighbourhood Plan – SVM Article – Spring 2020

“Planning our future together”

The Shenley Neighbourhood Plan, 2019 to 2036 – Submission Plan/Regulation 16, October 2019  – Regulation 16 Consultation

From 28th October until 10th December Hertsmere Borough Council ran the Shenley Plan Regulation 16 Consultation and you were all invited to give your comments via the Hertsmere consultation portal, by email or by sending in a special comments form. The consultation was run by Hertsmere but we wanted to make sure that you were as informed as possible so we held a Public meeting at the Village Hall on 14th November. Meeting Flyers were sent to all households with many A4 posters put up and 3 large banners. We made copies of the Reg.16 submission Plan available at the Post Office, The Hub, the Gateway Surgery, the Orchard Café and Shenley Estates with many copies of the Concise Version of the Plan available. Both copies were also available to look at and download on the Village website.  

 At the meeting on 14th November the Steering Group gave a presentation to inform those present about the Plan and took questions. We wanted to generate as much feedback as possible and we are pleased to say that there was a good response – 76 responses. Radlett had 40 to their second Regulation 16 so we are very pleased that so many people took the time to give their feedback. Thank you very much everyone. Why don’t you take a look at what residents and the different bodies, including Hertsmere and Hertfordshire County Council wrote?   Hertsmere-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/pp/snp_reg16

It is important to point out that a few residents still have the wrong idea that the Shenley Plan and Shenley Parish Council can allocate sites and also that the Shenley Plan and Shenley Parish Council can remove land from Green Belt…this is simply not true. We stressed this at the Public meeting on 14th November.  In November / December 2018 we encouraged residents to give Hertsmere their views about all the sites being put forward for possible development as part of their New Local Plan consultation because it is Hertsmere that will make the decision.  We wanted Hertsmere to know what you think. It is them who will decide what land is taken out of the Green belt to facilitate the 12,800 plus homes they say have to build across the Borough. There will be further consultation this year and people should give their feedback.

In Hertsmere’s response to the Regulation 16 Consultation Adrien Waite, Head of Planning & Economic Development’s covering letter says in the final two paragraphs:

Implications for new strategic housing development’

One of the basic conditions of the Shenley Neighbourhood Plan is that it has to be consistent with national policy. The NPPF (National Policy Planning Framework) establishes a new Housing Delivery Test for councils that is likely to require HBC to deliver significantly more housing in the borough than the current target of 266 homes a year. The new Hertsmere Local Plan will have to address this as explained in our current engagement on potential housing and employment sites. In this context it is highly likely that we will have to consider the need for more development in Shenley beyond the boundary of the existing built up area of the village.

A number of sites that have been submitted for potential future development through the review of our new Local Plan fall within the designated Neighbourhood area which covers the entire Parish down to the urban edge of Borehamwood. Officers are concerned about the implications the SNP could have, particularly in terms of the densities that could arise from ‘having ‘regard’ to the stated Shenley design principles and code which would be incompatible with sustainable development principles’.

I am sure you can understand the implications of the above paragraphs. Hertsmere thinks that our Plan will restrict the development density of any site given the go ahead in Shenley!. They are right, we do not want dense ‘urban’ developments in Shenley Parish.  The Examiner will now decide what happens to our Plan, what changes have to be made. We hope we don’t have to make too many changes.

EXAMINATION

As soon as the Regulation Consultation closed we asked Hertsmere to start the process to organise an Independent Examiner to examine the Shenley Plan. At the time of writing we are waiting to hear who is available.

In the meantime we are assessing all the comments made and will send the appointed examiner a letter giving our responses to comments made by Hertsmere.    It may be that the Examiner decides that we should have an Examiner lead Public Meeting as part of the examination process like Radlett did. If we do, you can attend to hear what the Examiner has to say and to hear his questions and the answers given.  In the meeting people can only speak if questioned by the Examiner.   

The Examiner will ultimately prepare a report and then final changes will be made to the Plan reflecting his or her judgement.  When the final Plan is ready there will be a Referendum.

Final stage –  REFERENDUM.

The Referendum will be organised by Hertsmere and all residents 18 years old and older will be able to vote. If the majority vote ‘Yes’ then the Plan is approved and it becomes part of Hertsmere Planning law. Numbers do not have to be high but of course we want as many people as possible to vote. We anticipate voting will take place in the Spring/early Summer this year.  

Update on Hertsmere Borough Council’s Local Plan

As you know Hertsmere’s ‘Planning for Growth – Potential for Housing and Employment Consultation in 2018 resulted in many potential sites in the Borough being put forward for consideration.  An extra 20 were submitted last year, 2 of which were Shenley sites.    Shenley Parish Council and the Shenley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group continue to be very concerned about Hertsmere’s developing Local Plan. We still feel that Shenley will be asked to have a significant number of homes and we are worried Hertsmere will agree to help neighbouring boroughs like Welwyn & Hatfield and Watford by having us taking some of their numbers. We are making every effort to protect Shenley from over-development. The AECOM report told us we need 220 homes to meet our needs and we want our number to be that or less. Unfortunately the reality is that we are likely to have to have more than 220 homes. We all hope the figure will be reasonable and that it won’t be too long before we know what the numbers for Shenley Parish are to be – It will be Hertsmere’s decision not ours.

Nicky Beaton

Chair. Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Posted in Neighbourhood Plan News.