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GREEN BELT DEVELOPMENTS
CALL FOR SITES – An urgent message from SCANGB
You may have heard that the council had published its ‘call for sites’ consultation asking residents for their opinion on additional sites that are being promoted for housing development.
In short, if they are all accepted then we can expect the population of Cuffley and Northaw to more than double, yes, double in the next 10 years or so. It could even treble.
So what’s happened? When WHBC developed the first version of the Local Plan they calculated they needed to build 12,000 or so homes to meet future need. The government then decided to change the methodology on calculating future need and this 12,000 rose to 16,000. The council pretty much stuck to their guns and said that they were unable to find suitable land to accommodate this 25% increase. During the public enquiry that followed, the government appointed Planning Inspector suggested that the council hadn’t tried hard enough and told them to go away and find ways of building 16,000 new homes between 2013 and 2033. So WHBC did 2 things
- Commission a report on the suitability of all land that bordered settlements in the Welwyn and Hatfield borough. In Cuffley’s case this was basically every plot of land that surrounded current conurbation. Because of the border with Broxbourne this was a semi circle strip that looked at all land adjacent to Soper’s Road, KGV playing fields, the Metropolis site and so on all the way round to Tolmers Scout camp and Peters Wood. In Northaw this was pretty much all the land that circled the village. The fact that large tracts of these sites were not up for sale didn’t make any difference, they were assessed on their suitability and impact on the Green Belt
- Call for more sites. This involved landowners ANYWHERE in the borough to submit their land for development. And this is where it gets scary,
Take a look at figure 1. This shows the sites that were designated for development in the Local Plan V1 (the 12,000 total). You’ll see that they pretty much focussed on the eastern side of the village and the total build was just under 500 houses
Now take a look at the picture when you add in the new sites
Its not clear what the housing density will be on each site but we have estimated it would be a minimum of double the size of Cuffley and easily treble as we know it today
In Northaw it is much worse.
The original Local Plan excluded Northaw given its Green Belt village status but in an attempt to achieve the new targets this status was removed and now the village has attracted promoted sites that will increase the size of the village some 5, 6 or even 7 times. Here is what is being considered
These proposals raise a huge number of questions which we are trying to get answers for but rather than overwhelm you with plans and information we have arranged a meeting at Cuffley Hall to explain, what it could mean to residents of Cuffley and Northaw and what we can do about it. Here are the details