Hertfordshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2024

16.4.24 2 MINUTE READ

Image of herts spring

The ‘incentives’ for plan-making within the updated NPPF appear to be working, particularly in south-west Hertfordshire with activity ramping up, albeit under the shadow of a greater protection to the Green Belt and reduced housing numbers being proposed.

Elsewhere, we are seeing activity in terms of Local Plan reviews, especially in the east, which will see opportunities for the promotion of new sites. The extent of opportunities might, however, be subject to how those authorities consider the importance of their Green Belt, against their housing requirements.

In light of the above, the status of the housing land supply of Hertfordshire authorities continues to be an opportunity. There have been three high profile appeals this year, which highlight this:

The recent Secretary of State (SoS) decision in Tring (Dacorum) showed that a severe deficit in the Five-Year Housing Land Supply (5YHLS) isn’t necessarily enough to overcome the protection of the Green Belt, even with a large number of other benefits weighing in its favour. But in Dacorum, the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) result was above 75%, unlike seven of the other Hertfordshire LPAs, and this may have been the key to allowing the SoS to refuse the appeal.

Whereas in Chiswell Green, St Albans, the SoS agreed with the original Inspector in allowing the appeal for up to 391 homes, referencing the importance of the Councils 1.7 year housing land supply (55% HDT).

Meanwhile in Borehamwood, Hertsmere, an appeal for up to 74 homes was allowed in the Green Belt, where "Very Special Circumstances’ were found to justify the development". The site was an identified draft allocation in the Local Plan, but the 1.39 years housing land supply attributed very substantial weight.

Five-Year Land Supply


Much of Hertfordshire is covered by Green Belt which affects how housing land supply is considered in the determination of applications in these LPAs. For sites outside the Green Belt, a lack of housing delivery in recent years (as measured through the HDT) or a lack of future supply (as measured through the 5YHLS) engages the ‘tilted balance’ where there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development. For sites inside the Green Belt, unless Very Special Circumstances can be proved, this tilted balance is not engaged irrespective of the status of the past or future housing land supply, although it is still a material consideration.

The 2022 HDT results indicate that Broxbourne (57%), Hertsmere (69%), St Albans (55%), Stevenage (57%), Three Rivers (46%), Watford (73%) and Welwyn Hatfield (57%) have all fallen below the 75% threshold that means the tilted balance is automatically engaged for sites outside the Green Belt. Dacorum (77%) have fallen below the 85% threshold and therefore require a 20% buffer added to their 5HYLS. East Hertfordshire (125%) and North Hertfordshire (118%) have passed the test and are not required to add any buffer to their 5YHLS.

For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Hertfordshire, please click on the map below.


Our Planning team


Mike Jones

Partner, Planning

Mike is a Chartered Town Planner with 19+ years’ experience and knowledge across an array of sectors.

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Andrea Orellano

Andrea Orellano

Assistant Planner

Andrea works as an assistant planner at Bidwells' Milton Keynes office.

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Spring 2024

Local Plan Watch

Our Local Plan Watch provides an update on the progress of the Local Plans coming forward across our region to allocate new land for development and highlights the key opportunities for landowners, promoters and developers. 

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