|A delay to the publication of a draft blueprint for development in Hertsmere has been agreed as uncertainty over the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Hertsmere Borough Council has confirmed that the publication of the new draft Local Plan for the borough is now earmarked for Spring 2021. The plan will be used to guide decisions on the delivery of new homes, schools, employment and services across the borough up to 2036. Following the publication, there will be a six-week consultation period when members of the public and other interested parties will be asked to give their views on the plan, before it is submitted to the Secretary of State for examination.
The document was due to be published this year, however the council’s new Head of Planning, Ross Whear, signed off the revised timetable, in agreement with the council’s Managing Director, Sajida Bijle, and Portfolio Holder for Planning, Councillor Harvey Cohen.
Mr Whear said: “The decision to delay publication of our plan has not been taken lightly. However, it has become apparent that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for additional preparatory work means it would be impossible to keep to our original timetable.
“While it is regrettable, this in no way represents a loss for our residents and businesses. In fact, it means we can spend more time getting everything right and ensuring a smooth progression to the next stage of the Local Plan process.”
Cllr Cohen said: “Our planners and members are committed to producing a new Local Plan that will enable us to meet the borough’s need for housing and jobs, whilst also protecting and enhancing Hertsmere’s unique characteristics and qualities.
“Coronavirus has made it more difficult to run public consultations in the usual way by holding exhibitions or inviting people to speak to members or councillors face-to-face.
“That means we are having to change the way we do things and we want to make sure we get our plan right.
“All through the pandemic, we’ve been working tirelessly towards this goal – and that work will continue apace, until we have adopted a new Local Plan and a clear way forward for our borough’s growth.”
An eight-week consultation on the Potential Sites for Housing and Employment was held at the end of 2018.
More than 2,100 individuals responded to the consultation and their comments can be found at www.hertsmere.gov.uk/newlocalplan. The report entitled ‘Overview of responses from site promoters, statutory bodies and local interest groups’ includes details of 21 new sites which were put forward following the PHSE consultation.
Information on two previous rounds of consultation, including one on the council’s Issues and Options document held in 2017, can also be found on this webpage.