Interim housing target agreed for St Albans District

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News release: 18 January 2013

St Albans City and District Council’s Cabinet has agreed an interim housing target of 360 homes per year to fill a gap in guidance on local development.

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The revocation of the East of England Plan on 3 January left the District without an adopted local plan specifying appropriate levels of housing development. The revoked document included a house building target for the District of 360 homes per year from 2001 to 2021.

A provisional housing target of 250 homes per year was set out in the draft Strategic Local Plan (SLP). However, a decision by full Council on 28 November led to the withdrawal of the SLP for further work to be undertaken.

Councillor Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation for St Albans City and District Council, said: “With the revocation of the East of England Plan there is a vacuum in local planning development policy as there is no definitive housing target. It is a requirement of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that information on the land supply position for housing is provided to guide decision making. Cabinet therefore agreed that the East of England Plan target of 360 homes per year is the most appropriate to use for housing land supply purposes. This target is based on evidence, has been consulted upon, sustainability appraised, justified and publically examined.”

At the meeting on 17 January, Cabinet also agreed to consult with adjoining District Councils on the possibility of jointly undertaking Green Belt and Housing Needs studies. This follows a decision by Cabinet on 20 December 2012 to commission an independent review of Green Belt boundaries and a study of potential housing locations.

A webcast of the meeting can be watched on the Council’s website.

The papers for the meeting are available on the Council’s website.

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 
www.stalbans.gov.uk
Follow us on Twitter:http://twitter.com/StAlbansCouncil 

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.”