Liberal Democrat Councillors Protest Against Excessive Government Housing Demands.

November 15, 2020 11:20 PM

The Liberal Democrat Councillors on Dacorum Borough Council are protesting against imposed government housing demands for the Borough which they feel are excessive, especially in their impact on Berkhamsted and Tring.

One of the DBC Councillors for Berkhamsted East, Nigel Taylor, writes as follows:

Housing ()"The way the planning system operates is complex. The Central Government now sets targets for where it wants houses built. Then local Councils are, in effect, forced to produce a local plan to deliver the Central Government target. Recently the Government has increased the target for Dacorum Council from roughly 430 new houses (set as recently as 2013) to 922 new houses per year.

"If the council refuses to produce a Local Plan or does not plan for enough houses, the Government can transfer its planning powers to the Planning Inspectorate which would give developers far greater freedom to do what they like, even on Green Belt. Even delaying the plan by 6 months could allow developers to argue that they should be free to build on Green Belt. If the council refuses, they would be over-ridden by the Planning Inspector. The council could also be exposed to legal claims for costs resulting from the delay.

Nigel Taylor

Nigel Taylor

"This is likely to get worse if current Governments plans to change the planning system further in favour of developers, actually progress to becoming law..

"I am opposed to the current plans for Berkhamsted and Tring; as a matter of the principal of "over development", the removal of local control, the failure to understand the constraints on the infrastructure of the town and the failure to provide new infrastructure before the houses are built. The challenge is to stop these proposals, without the Government taking our planning powers away and building the houses anyway.

"I can assure you that all the Liberal Democrat councillors in Dacorum are committed to do everything we can to stop the proposals and resist government pressure. But we must be sure that our actions will lead to the outcomes we desire.

"Next Wednesday 18th November the full council will decide on the process of public consultation over the plan. You can see the agenda here:-

https://democracy.dacorum.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=156&MId=2544

Item 8.5 on the agenda is the proposal to go to consultation, which is the opportunity for local residents to get involved. However, this is only about the consultation process.

"It is possible for members of the public to speak at this point, but you must register in advance to do so.

"The Liberal Democrat councillors are putting a motion to council calling on the council to ask for the imposed 922 annual target to be lowered. We are putting forward a moderate motion in the hope that this may allow some of the Conservative councillors to join us in voting for it and enabling it to pass. You can see the text here.

https://democracy.dacorum.gov.uk/documents/s26366/Local%20Plan.pdf

"Ultimately this policy is driven by central Government. I urge residents to write to our MP, Mr Gagan Mohindra, to persuade him to intervene and stop this happening. During the last General Election he promised to "Protect the Green Belt", yet now his party (whether nationally or locally) is planning to put a massive increase in housing extra houses in Berkhamsted and Tring - an increase of over 35%. The only way to stop this, may be to make Mr Mohindra understand that residents will hold him to account for this at the next general election."