The following press release has been taken from the CPRE Hertfordshire website – http://www.cpreherts.org.uk/
10 January 2013
TRUE THREAT TO GREEN BELT NOT SPELT OUT
IN WELWYN HATFIELD CONSULTATIONS
Two documents with a deadline of 31 January are out for consultation in the Welwyn Hatfield area. The ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ is the Council’s proposed overall strategy for the development of Welwyn Hatfield until 2029. ‘Land for Housing Outside the Urban Areas’ sets out the council’s preferred development sites in the Green Belt. Countryside campaigners CPRE Hertfordshire urge residents of Welwyn Hatfield and the neighbouring areas in St. Albans and East Herts, to respond to both because of the potential impact of their proposals for new Housing on the Green Belt.
The ‘Emerging Core Strategy’ proposes a target of 7,200 new houses up to 2029, 6,800 of which would be in Welwyn Hatfield, and 400 on adjoining land in St. Albans and East Herts Districts. However the Council wishes to set a further target to provide land for an additional 2,000 new houses which would have to be built in the Green Belt. This extra land is to ensure that Green Belt boundaries would not be changed again immediately after 2029. In total this would mean over 5,000 new houses in the Green Belt.
So, in reality, consultation on ‘Land For Housing Outside Urban Areas’ is only about a first release of development sites in the Green Belt. We believe the Council would have to repeat the current process in future in order to justify the further wave of additional housing sites in the Green Belt beyond 2029.
This major consequence of the Council’s proposals is not clear unless the two consultation documents are read together. Regrettably neither of them makes this clear. CPRE Hertfordshire is calling for Welwyn Hatfield to be transparent about the full consequences for the Green Belt of its proposed strategy.
Kevin Fitzgerald, CPRE Hertfordshire Honorary Director, noted: ‘The wide press support and public interest in the ‘No Way To 10K’ campaign only a couple of years ago, when people in Welwyn Hatfield opposed development in the Green Belt, means we are hopeful that residents will make their views known to the Council and their Councillors, and persuade them to be up front about their proposals, and reconsider them.’ CPRE Hertfordshire has prepared a short briefing note on the consultation which is available on its website, www.cpreherts.org.uk and urges people to have their say before the Council’s 31 January deadline.
Briefing Note Attached – ends, Notes to Editors follow – Notes to Editors
1. CPRE Hertfordshire’s principal aim is to safeguard the natural environment of the county, especially the Green Belt and other protected areas. We also seek to protect the built environment, particularly historic settlements and buildings. Our President is Sir Simon Bowes Lyon, KCVO. We have around 1800 members. www.cpreherts.org.uk
2. CPRE Hertfordshire is the County Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. CPRE fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk
3. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Kevin FitzGerald, Hon. Director, CPRE Hertfordshire, tel. 07949 338044, email email@example.com