Confirmation of the St Albans Green Belt review

Press release dated 21 st Dec following cabinet decision- as previously covered.

St Albans City and District Council is to commission an independent review of Green Belt boundaries and a study of potential housing locations in the District.

This follows a decision of Full Council on 28 November. This led to the withdrawal of the pre-submission Strategic Local Plan (SLP) whilst further work is undertaken.

On 20 December, Cabinet considered the terms of the decision and a plan to take this forward.

It agreed an approach for points 1, 4, 5 and 7 of the decision. This entails commissioning an independent review of Green Belt boundaries and a Green Belt study of all potential housing locations.

The Oaklands site has to be included in the Green Belt review to avoid pre-judging the outcome of this work.

Cabinet also agreed to refer points 2, 3 and 6 of the motion for clarification to Council at its next meeting on 30 January.

In addition, Cabinet requested a report to be presented to its next meeting on 17 January 2013 to include the draft terms of reference for the studies.

Councillor Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation for St Albans City and District Council, said: “A plan of action has been put together following the full Council decision last month. There are aspects of the decision that require clarification by Council. It looks like a review of the Green Belt and housing targets will take up to nine months. Further public consultation and work is also likely to need to be undertaken. All in all, we are looking at a period of up to 15 months before we will be able to produce a new SLP ready for the pre-submission stage. This means the Council will be without an adopted plan until at least May 2015. In the meantime, there are significant risks that could affect the Council’s ability to protect the District from inappropriate development.”

A webcast of the meeting on 20 December can be seen on the Council’s website at:http://www.stalbans.ukcouncil.net/site/

The papers for the meeting are available the Council’s website at:http://stalbans.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=6932&Ver=4

Councillor contact: Councillor Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation for St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 761014

Contact for the media: Amanda Wilkinson, Media and Internal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819317, E-mail:amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk

Notes:

On 28 November Full Council considered a petition in relation to development of land at Oaklands and subsequently agreed the following motion:

“That this Council agrees to the following recommendations put forward by No

Oaklands Housing Action Group:

1. An independent review of Green Belt boundaries and a Green Belt Study of all potential housing locations needs to be undertaken now.

2. There needs to be clarity on how sites will be delivered and this is implied by an allocation of strategic sites.

3. Detailed delivery matters such as availability and infrastructure requirements need resolving.

4. Oaklands should retain its Green Belt green field status in any future policy review or boundary change to prevent urban sprawl and coalescence with Hatfield.

5. An alternative site should be considered.

6. Green Belt release should only be considered when the district has run out of sites within its urban land.

7. An independent commission of housing need in St Albans and its District should be set up to inform the evidence base.”