District Plan for East Herts

Adopted in October 2018, the plan sets out planning policies and proposals for the District until 2033. The Plan includes highly controversial proposals to build on large areas of land near Ware and Harlow which have been taken out of the Green Belt, although the countryside around Hertford itself is less affected.

We objected to several aspects of the Plan at the draft stages (e.g. loss of Green Belt, no consideration given to new settlements) – see here and here for detail, but now that an Inspector has found it ‘sound’ and it has been adopted, any opposition to future planning applications which comply with the Plan would be futile.

Despite its controversial aspects, the Council are to be congratulated for putting together – at long last – a document which will safeguard the District from development which is unplanned and unco-ordinated, and which hopefully will bring forward new schools, parks and doctors’ surgeries in tandem with new houses and flats. However we do remain concerned about the Plan’s support for the principle of a Hertford by-pass when the long-term consequences for the town of building, or not building, a by-pass have not been critically assessed.

As development schemes come forward, the Society will be vigilant to ensure that they conform to all the policies and criteria laid down in the Plan. It is the Plan as a whole which has been found ‘sound’, with all its caveats and provisos, not just the headline policies which allocate sites for residential and other development. We particularly welcome the determination expressed by some Councillors when the Plan was adopted that developers should be obliged to deliver their full quota of affordable housing in accordance with its terms. We’ll also be looking to the Council to enforce the stringent new provisions on air quality which were inserted into the Plan partly in response to our objections.

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