Help shape the future

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News release: 09 January 2018

People who live or work in the St Albans District are urged to have their say about future housing, business and infrastructure developments.

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St Albans City and District Council has begun a six-week consultation on its Local Plan for the years 2020 to 2036.

This is a major document that will identify what land can be used for residential, community and commercial developments. 

It will also detail the new roads, schools, green spaces and other infrastructure that will be needed to support the growing population.

All of the District’s 60,000 households are being asked to contribute to the debate and help shape the future of their local area.

They are being sent a questionnaire asking them to give their views on the key issues as will businesses and other organisations.  The survey can be completed online or returned by post.

Among the questions that people are asked about are – where should new homes be built, what sort of houses do we need, how can we support business growth?

A five-minute video explaining the background to the Local Plan has also been made.

The questionnaire, the video and significant documents are available on the Council’s website at www.stalbans.gov.uk/localplan2018.

In a further move to engage the public, 14 exhibitions about the Local Plan will be held across the District at community halls and other venues.   

Councillors and Planning Officers will be on hand at the events to answer questions as well as explain and discuss the issues.

The exhibitions will take place in St Albans, Harpenden, London Colney, Wheathampstead, Redbourn and Bricket Wood. Further details of the location, dates and times are also available on the website.

The consultation runs for six weeks from Tuesday 9 January to Wednesday 21 February.

After it is finished, all views will be taken into account while a draft of the new Local Plan is completed.

If all goes to schedule, it will be considered by Full Council in the summer, consulted on again in the autumn and submitted to the Government in March next year.
 
The Local Plan will have to address the Government’s proposed target of building 14,608 new homes in the District from 2020-36. That is the equivalent of 913 a year.

Around 5,000 new homes are likely to be built on land within the City and other existing settlements.

Other options include expanding existing settlements into Green Belt, building on other large sites that contribute least to Green Belt objectives or creating new Garden Villages.

Councillor Mary Maynard, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “Producing a Local Plan is one of the most challenging and complex tasks the Council undertakes.

“A lot of hard work, such as discussions with neighbouring local authorities, has gone on behind the scenes and now we are ready to consult with our residents and local workers.

“I urge people of all ages and backgrounds to take an interest in the Local Plan by attending one of the exhibitions, watching the video and reading the questionnaire before giving us their views on the future development of the District.

“We are particularly keen for the under-40 age group to get involved. They haven’t engaged as much as we would have liked in the past and it is important that their voice is heard.

“We’ve many major decisions to make about where thousands of new homes should be built and what infrastructure should be provided.  We want to give everyone the chance to have their say.”

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. 

“Everyone’s opinion matters but I hope that there are more responses from younger residents and local workers this time. They are the ones who will be most affected by future developments in the District.”

Councillor Iain Grant, Labour spokesperson on planning, said: “The Local Plan is our chance to shape how and where much-needed homes - particularly affordable housing - can be delivered for the District.

“It is also our chance to ensure this is genuinely sustainable, by having the schools, jobs, leisure facilities and other infrastructure to go with these homes. I hope everyone interested in the future of our area will use this consultation to put their views across.”

Councillor contact:
Cllr Mary Maynard, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Building Control, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01582 620801. Email: Cllr.M.Maynard@stalbans.gov.uk

Media contact: 
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01727-296130