EAST HERTS DISTRICT PLAN EXAMINATION - OCTOBER 2017
The East Herts District Plan is currently undergoing examination. Christine Thorby DIPTP MRTPI IHBC is the Inspector. As part of this process, Ms Thorby has made a comment that in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework, Neighbourhood Plans can not alter green belt boundaries. As our Neighbourhood Plan has been given this responsibility by East Herts District Council, our Steering Group met with Chris Butcher from the planning team at EHDC to discuss the impact of this on our Plan.
Mr Butcher said that EHDC will not object to the comment. In EHDC's response to the Inspector they will acknowledge that an amendment is needed to the District Plan, saying that EHDC will look to review the Green Belt if EHDC has the support of a Neighbourhood Plan. Mr Butcher said that EHDC will work with Neighbourhood Planning Groups regarding Green Belt sites or number of units.
EHDC still does not intend to specify a number of units for the Green Belt villages, when making the amendment.
It is likely that the Inspector will produce a report expressing her views on this, and on the wider District Plan, in Spring 2018. In the interim, the Watton-at-Stone Neighbourhood Plan group will continue to work on preparing an evidence base to inform any Green Belt recommendations it may decide to make.
Whilst there was a strong desire for no green belt development it was agreed that the development of the available brownfield sites would be likely to achieve only around 20 units. It was agreed that there would be a need for limited greenbelt development. It is proposed that a greenbelt assessment would need to be commissioned to consider the appropriateness of development in the greenbelt.
A schedule of possible areas for policy development was discussed and would be given further consideration by the Steering Group. There was overall support for the work carried out so far by the Neighbourhood Plan Group and further guidance was given on how the future strategy could develop. It was agreed that a further meeting would be arranged once the outcome of the technical work and specialist advice had been received.