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      Hertfordshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2021

      The January 2021 meeting of the Hertfordshire Growth Board outlined the ongoing work programme for the South West Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan. Hemel Garden Communities and Watford Junction Quarter are examples of the emerging development within the strategic growth corridors going forward. The Housing Delivery Test (2020) results for Hertfordshire engages the presumption in favour of sustainable development for seven local planning authorities including North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and St Albans.

      28 Mar 2021 3 MINUTE READ

      Key highlights

      • Work on the new Local Plan for St Albans has commenced after the withdrawal of the previous Local Plan in September 2020.
      • North Hertfordshire and Welwyn Hatfield further modifications to be consulted upon by late spring/summer 2021.
      • Publication of the Hertsmere and Watford Pre-submission Local Plan (Regulation 19) is anticipated for May/June 2021, with Dacorum following soon after with expected submission in October 2021.

      Broxbourne

      The Local Plan Inspector’s final report on the soundness of the council's Local Plan 2018-2033 was published on 14 April 2020. The report concluded that the Local Plan is sound with modifications. The Local Plan was adopted during a virtual (online) Council meeting on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

      Dacorum

      A public consultation was carried out on the Issues and Options for the emerging Dacorum Local Plan in November 2017. A consultation on the Emerging Strategy for Growth, which set out proposed site allocations, ran up until the 28 February 2021, currently responses are being collated.

      The submission of the Plan for examination is expected in October 2021, subject to the implications of any additional work needed in response to the recent consultation.

      East Hertfordshire

      East Hertfordshire adopted a new Local Plan on 23 October 2018.

      According to the Local Development Scheme (LDS) (agreed 22nd July), the council was to undertake an assessment (autumn 2020) to determine whether the adopted Plan needs updating. A Call for Sites was timetabled for the end of 2020 in order to supplement the council’s assessment - there is no evidence of a Call for Sites Consultation at present.

      Consultation on the draft Sustainability SPD closed on the 8 October 2020 and further information is yet to be published. Vehicle Parking at New Developments SPD was to be published towards the end of 2020 along with the emerging Old River Lane SPD. There is no further progress noted at this time. The LDS notes its adoption in March 2021.

      Hertsmere

      A Sites Consultation was held during October and November 2018 on an emerging Local Plan for Hertsmere. A Draft Plan (Regulation 19) was expected to be taken to Full Council in July 2020 for consultation in the autumn 2020. However, this has now been delayed until mid-2021 as a result of Covid-19.

      The Local Development Scheme (December 2020) notes the Local Plan will cover a 16-year timeframe (2020-2036/37), the publication of the proposed submission (pre-submission) plan for Regulation 19 is now timetabled for May/June 2021, with submission to the Secretary of State anticipated in January 2022.

      North Hertfordshire

      North Hertfordshire’s Local Plan 2011-2031 was submitted for examination on 9 June 2017.

      Further hearings were scheduled for March/April 2020 but were postponed due to Covid-19. The rescheduled hearings were pushed back further and commenced on 23 November 2020 following the outcome of the North Hertfordshire Extraordinary Council Meeting. The council submitted its proposed modifications in October 2020 relating to the use Classes order and this was followed up with further proposed main modifications on 7 December 2020. Hearing sessions took place on 1 and 2 of February 2021 to consider the main modifications relating to Design, Sustainability and Housing Policies.

      The inspector’s closing statement from the final hearing sessions requested further modifications on various aspects by early March 2021 from the council. The inspector was clear on the need for accuracy from the council in providing quality and precise timings of the modifications. The Inspectors suggested modifications were published on the 10 March and were then approved at a Cabinet Meeting held 16 March 2021, the Local Plan Modifications will now be subject to consultation, which is anticipated to commence the week following the planned local elections on May 6.

      Subject to further main modifications, the Local Plan could be found sound in the late summer of 2021.

      St Albans

      The then emerging St Albans Local Plan was submitted for examination on 29 March 2019, however due to serious concerns in relation to legal compliance and soundness of the plan, the council was forced to withdraw the plan on 1 September 2020.

      St Albans City and District Council has again begun the process of preparing a new Local Plan, covering the period 2020 - 2038. The Local Development Scheme (January 2021) anticipates Regulation 18 Consultation in January/February 2022 with submission for examination in spring/summer 2023.

      A Call for Sites 2021 consultation and Statement of Community Involvement consultation closed on Monday 8 March 2021.

      Stevenage

      The Stevenage Borough Local Plan 2011-2031 was adopted on 22 May 2019. This followed the Secretary of State lifting a holding direction on the plan on 26 March 2019, 17 months after it was issued on 13 November 2017.

      A review of the Local Plan is anticipated to begin two years after adoption to produce a new Stevenage Borough Local Plan 2021-2041. At present there is no evidence of a review being progressed.

      Three Rivers

      For the emerging Three Rivers Local Plan, a Regulation 18 Issues and Options and Call for Sites consultation ran from July to September 2017 and an additional Call for Sites Consultation ran from July to August 2018.

      A consultation on a Potential Sites Document which sought comment on sites which had been submitted ran from October to December 2018.

      An additional Regulation 18 Consultation is expected May/July 2021. Submission of the plan is expected in August/September 2022, examination in late 2022/early 2023 and the adoption of the Local Plan in Summer 2023.

      Watford

      An Issues and Options Consultation for the emerging Watford Local Plan ran between 7 September and 19 October 2018 and a draft plan was consulted on between 27 September and 8 November 2019.

      The Watford Local Plan 2020-2036 consultation statement was published early 2021 setting out how the officers have responded to earlier comments. The Final Draft of the Local Plan was also published for consultation in early 2021,with the consultation closing on 18 March. Submission of the local plan is timetabled for June 2021 with an indicative date for examination in July-December 2021.

      Welwyn Hatfield

      Welwyn Hatfield’s emerging Local Plan was submitted for examination on 15 May 2017. During the examination process, the Local Plan Inspector raised serious concerns in relation to the approach taken to Green Belt release in the plan and this ultimately prompted a new Call for Sites which ran between 7 January and 4 February 2019.

      There has been correspondence between the inspector and the council on the submission of further information and additional sites, including the housing supply target, site-specific Statements of Common Grounds and Objectively Assessed need. A consultation on the Objectively Assessed Need ended on 26 January 2021 and responses have been compiled online.

      The schedule of proposed main medications was published in January 2021. Stage 9 hearing sessions took place in February and March 2021.

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