St Albans publishes revised local plan proposals in bid to stave off intervention

St Albans City and District Council has launched a consultation on a new draft of its local plan in a bid to stave off government intervention.

In November, the council was among 15 authorities that were warned by communities secretary Sajid Javid that they faced having their plans written by government officials due to a lack of progress.

But now the Hertfordshire council, which is under no overall control, has published a consultation highlighting options for major housing growth, including potential green belt development and new garden villages. It is understood that the council has been in contact with government officials, and that the authority is hoping to stave off the threat of intervention.

Councillor David Yates, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on planning, said: "With the government threatening to take away St Albans’ right to produce its own Local Plan, it has never been more important that the voices of the people who live and work in St Albans are heard."

The plan outlines options for housing growth, which it says include expanding existing settlements into the green belt, building on large sites that contribute least to green belt objectives or creating new garden villages.

Its consultation document says that there is limited brownfield land in the district, and that adding more homes in built-up areas would put pressure on existing infrastructure.

It says: "Large-scale development on green belt generates the money and land that provides new infrastructure like roads, schools, shops, and parks."

In July last year, the authority failed in its legal bid to overturn an inspector's verdict that it did not meet the duty to cooperate in drawing up the previous version of its draft local plan.

In November 2016, a planning inspector had ruled that the council had not met its duty to cooperate in drawing up the plan.

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