Draft Local Plan Update

Living Magazines Dacorum Local Plan

Our thanks to Berkhamsted Citizens Association for this latest update on Dacorum Borough Council’s new Draft Local Plan covering the period 2020 to 2038. This went to public consultation on 27 November 2020 and the consultation period runs until Sunday 7 February 2021.

Once adopted, the Local Plan will replace the Site Allocations Development Plan (adopted July 2017), the Core
Strategy Development Plan (adopted September 2013) and those ‘saved’ parts of the Dacorum Borough Local
Plan (adopted May 2004).

The Local Plan consultation is available on the DBC website as follows :

Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG)

Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG) have launched a campaign, ‘Say No to The South Berkhamsted Concept’. BRAG Chair, Antony Harbidge, expands:

The main topic in our mailbag revolves around the recent bulk mailing to Berkhamsted residents on behalf of the developers Thakeham promoting their Bulbourne Cross proposals.

I understand that many of you are impressed with Thakeham’s credentials and their commitment to delivering dwellings that are carbon-zero in lifetime use and, by 2025, are carbon-neutral in production. Indeed, it is difficult not to be impressed by Thakeham’s holistic approach as outlined in their recent Zoom presentations and, assuming they did deliver everything they are promising, Bulbourne Cross would deliver infrastructure that other proposals do not.

DBC have considered and rejected Thakeham’s proposals in favour of multiple other sites that will provide monetary contributions to DBC for infrastructure improvements, though not necessarily (indeed almost certainly not) for infrastructure improvements in Berkhamsted. Thakeham are arguing for their proposal to be included in the Plan instead of the other sites, which would deliver infrastructure in Berkhamsted.

It is a seductive argument but also one that can deflect from the fundamental problems with the Draft Local Plan. BRAG was specifically set up to help protect the Green Belt that surrounds Berkhamsted, and on that basis I believe we should concentrate on making compelling arguments that:

  1. the housing targets set for the Borough are too large – the recent U-turn on the ‘mutant algorithm’ doesn’t immediately help us as Jenrick and his cronies have reverted to the previous even higher 1022 per annum target for Dacorum – exactly how this fits in with the North/South leveling-up agenda, who knows, but that’s the situation as I write.
  2. DBC can only hit these targets by claiming ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply, thus allowing Green Belt release. We need to robustly challenge this.
  3. The Plan’s infrastructure proposals are weak to non-existent.
  4. Proposed Green Belt sites are not sustainable in any true sense of the word.
  5. Focus of development should be on Hemel where growth is more sustainable and can be used to regenerate the town.

BRAG is formulating a response but it will not be ready until mid to late January earliest. We have already attended two working group meetings with the Town Council, which have been positive but under the current restrictions it is all much more difficult to bring things together.

You can help by supplying evidence and/or arguments that support the 5 points above.

Other objections

The Chiltern Society also have grave concerns about this plan and have organised a virtual event on 14 January to discuss. More on The Chiltern Society website.

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