Three Rivers Lib Dems to refuse Government housing numbers to save Green Belt
Government plans to develop fields around communities across Three Rivers have been slammed by the Lib Dems in Three Rivers. The Lib Dem Council Group is refusing to propose some sites for consultation suggested by owners for new housing development.
Government regulations prioritise land on the edge of existing settlements for new building. However Liberal Democrats, who last week retained control of Three Rivers Council with an increased majority, say the pandemic has increased the need for outdoor recreation and leisure easily accessible from people's homes.
The LibDems propose at the Annual Council meeting next Tuesday (25th May) to override government guidelines and protect those areas on the edge of settlements, especially in Croxley Green, Abbots Langley and Chorleywood, that have free public access and are well-used for walking and other leisure activities, and where the proposed development brings no compensating benefits for the local community.
The Council is proposing to launch a public consultation in June on the remaining sites put forward by developers for future housing development over the next 15 years as well as updated list of stronger planning policies that encourages affordable family homes rather than executive ones. This consultation does not mean that the Lib Dem Council supports development on the sites but is seeking residents' views, said Leader of the Council Cllr Sarah Nelmes.
Two years ago, the government increased the number of houses to be built in Three Rivers from 180/year to over 600/year. Up to that point, Three Rivers had met its target for new homes every year and now has to revise its Local Plan and is required to meet these targets. As part of this it was required to ask for suggested sites.
The Council asked for a meeting with the government minister to discuss the new target, but this was rejected. The area's two Conservative MPs have not even replied to the Council's request for support a reduced target. Only the Liberal Democrat MP, Daisy Cooper, responded and challenged the government in Parliament.
"We have a responsibility to provide sites for new homes in the area so our young people and elderly downsizers have places they can afford locally." said Cllr Matthew Bedford, the Lead member dealing with the Local Plan, "But this cannot be at the expense of the quality of life and wellbeing of our existing residents. If residents agree with us, we hope they will respond to the consultation and support our proposal to safeguard key areas next to existing settlements. Frankly the government figures are so totally wrong where Three Rivers is concerned and 72% of our land is Green Belt. If the MPs wanted to protect as much of this area as possible they should be questioning the figures imposed on us and back us up."
List of sites proposed by developers that the Liberal Democrats are refusing to put forward to the public to be considered:
REF: CFS26A: Kings Langley Estate, Abbots Langley
REF: CFS21: Land at Rousebarn Lane, Little Green Lane, Croxley
All sites listed as Potential Contingency sites :
Land Adj Parmiters School, High Elms Lane, Leavesden
Kings Langley Estate North: Abbots Langley
Kings Langley Estate (Combined) Abbots Langley
East of Kings Langley Estate, Abbots Langley
Land South of Bedmond
Home Farm, Chorleywood
Land at Heronsgate, Hill Farm and Birdwood, Chorleywood