Dacorum Councillors

Further to BRAG’s letter dated 9th November, BRAG would like to thank Councillors for taking time to read our letter and especially those who confirmed such in emails. BRAG would like to take the opportunity to respond to all Dacorum Councillors regarding a few points made in some of those replies.

It is not true that we will be left without a Plan if the consultation does not go ahead. Dacorum does have a current Plan, but as our original letter outlined it was the decision of the Assistant Director to embark on the preparation of a new Plan rather than review the existing one, as required by the Planning Inspector.

As Dacorum DOES have a current Plan which itself contains challenging targets it is not necessarily the case that a decision on a Green Belt development proposal would be decided by default. A greater concern is that our planners seem to have encouraged developers to push forward their proposals.

The calculation of housing need has been and remains confusing. The Government recognise this in their latest White Paper (consultation closed 29th October) and the 922 target comes from another consultation document that closed on 1st October which employed an algorithm that is now unequivocally accepted as fundamentally flawed. Following reports in the Sunday Telegraph and on the BBC this weekend, as well as articles in the Telegraph and Times today, it is clear that the Government will be rethinking the algorithm as part of their ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

Dacorum’s current Local Plan requirement stands at 430 new dwellings per annum and Dacorum have been delivering an average of 627 over the last 3 years, which is well above the latest ONS 2018-based household projections (the real local need) of 336 per annum increase for the Dacorum plan period (2020-2038).  These latest ONS figures clearly show that even the current Plan target of 430 out-performs the ONS projected local need.

BRAG understands that the Government has been promoting numbers that make up for historical underperformance in other regions, but even a revised housing target of say circa 602 (Government target when Dacorum consulted in 2017) would ‘change the landscape’ in terms of land required for development and avoid putting into the public domain an apparent acceptance by Dacorum Council that vast extents of its precious Green Belt will be built on.

In short, given the recent admissions by Government and the restrictions caused by the pandemic, there is absolutely no justification to put the Draft Local Plan out for consultation at this time.


BRAG committee 16th November 2020

Leave A Comment