GUI legal challenge

GUI have signaled their intentions to mount a legal challenge if the Core Strategy is officially adopted at the Full Council Meeting tonight (7.30pm).

They did it by way of a solicitor’s letter prior the Cabinet Meeting last week where Cabinet agreed to recommend the Core Strategy to Full Council today. The letter didn’t raise any new issues and there was no legal requirement for them to officially state their intentions prior to adoption of the Core Strategy, so it was clearly designed to frighten Councilors with the final sentence “we strongly urge Council to refuse to adopt the Core Strategy”.

Only time will tell if this was just saber rattling from GUI, who would clearly benefit from the confusion and the planning weakness of not having and adopted local plan. The recent trend has been for the Government to side with speculative developers in areas where there is no adopted Core Strategy but to support Councils and local communities where a Core Strategy is in place.

Threat of legal action or not, it is imperative that Full Council follows the strong stance of Cabinet by officially adopting the Core Strategy tonight. Failure to do so could be disastrous not only for Berkhamsted but for Dacorum as whole with speculative developers waiting to pounce throughout the Borough.

BRAG has reinforced it’s stance and support for the adoption of the Core Strategy with our Borough Councilors to try to make sure there is no last minute u-turn. For her part, Cabinet-member Julie Laws doesn’t believe there will be and Ian Ray, who is set to speak at the meeting, is also fully aware of our support. However, it can’t hurt to make sure your personal views are known, so if you wish to contact your representative then please do so. A full list of Borough Councilors can be found at

Going forward BRAG will also need more help and support as GUI are not going to just walk away from their potentially very lucrative development. The committee requires new members, so please do step forward and volunteer. We will be having our AGM in the last two weeks of November (exact date to be advised soon) and that is a perfect time for you to get involved.

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