CORE STRATEGY UPDATE

The hearing stage of the Inquiry finished on 18th October 2012 and BRAG believes

it went well and we did as much as we could have.

As well as providing the additional written statements to the
Inspector prior to the Inquiry (all written statements including those of BRAG can be viewed athttp://www.dacorum.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=7935 ), we gave oral evidence at six of the sessions and strongly argued our points.

In particular we:

– highlighted the lack of credibility in GUI’s housing need figures –
a position strongly supported by both Berkhamsted Town Council and
Dacorum Borough Council.

– emphasised the importance of maintaining the current boundary of the
Green Belt at South Berkhamsted and pointed out the domino effect if
the Green Belt is altered at Hanburys  – there have already been
applications to build on Old Orchard, the land behind those two
houses, the GUI Site 1 next to it and Haslam Field (Berkhamsted
School’s athletics field).  We also pointed out the unsuitability of
the proposals in Ivy House Lane.

– underlined the transportation problems – especially if housing is
sited on the ridge tops.  The Inspector had visited the sites and
seemed aware of the traffic and parking problems and the issues
related to the proposed bus loop.

It is impossible to say exactly what conclusions the Inspector will
come to when he considers all the evidence put before him but it was
not surprising that the Inspector identified the most significant
factors in his decision to be DBC’s assessment of housing need (the
numbers) and the balance between housing need and environmental
constraints.

We were pleased that the Inspector commended DBC for the robustness of
their defence of the Core Strategy (although we disagree in parts with
DBC, we would have been in big trouble had the developers destroyed
the CS) and that he specifically thanked BRAG for our attendance and
efforts in presenting our case.

Throughout the hearing the Inspector posed questions to DBC. These questions plus DBC’s answers can be viewed athttp://www.dacorum.gov.uk/pdf/QueriesFromHearingsCouncilsResponse.pdf . All participants at the hearing were then allowed to make their comments. BRAG’s response along with all the other responses can be viewed at  http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=8024

 

Having considered all these responses the Inspector then issued DBC with his “Preliminary Findings” (http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/pdf/Inspectors%20Note%20to%20Dacorum%20191112.pdf ) and DBC responded in the form of a letter (http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/pdf/Letter%20to%20Inspector%20regading%20initial%20advice-v2.pdf )

 

To better understand these documents DBC have produced a FAQ which can be viewed at  http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/pdf/Core%20Strategy%20FAQs.pdf

 

The immediate implication for BRAG and Dacorum residents in general is that sometime this month DBC will produce a consultation document for the ‘main modifications’ to the Core Strategy. We will have 6 weeks to comment and then it will be passed back to the Inspector, who will then produce his final report probably towards the end of April.

 

We will keep you informed on what needs doing and how you can help during this next consultation period. The committee were delighted with the large turnout at BRAG’s first AGM in November (minutes can be viewed here) and look forward to utilising the many offers of help over the coming months, though we always need more help so please do not be shy in getting in touch.

MINUTES OF BERKHAMSTED RESIDENTS ACTION GROUP AGM 26 Nov 2012

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