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Major progress being made with creating a Local Plan for St Albans District

Publication date:

Major progress has been made with the production of a Local Plan for St Albans District with a public consultation on key proposals scheduled to start this summer.

The Local Plan (LP) is being drawn up by St Albans City and District Council and will identify land for future housing, commercial and infrastructure developments.

A commitment to tackling the climate emergency will be a central feature of the LP with new developments required to improve biodiversity and be sustainable.

Other priorities are delivering more social housing, jobs, schools, GP surgeries, public transport, cycle paths, play areas, parks and access to nature.

The LP will also be designed to grow the local economy and promote equality, inclusion and fairness.

An update on LP work is to be given to a meeting of the Council’s Planning Policy and Climate Committee on Monday 26 June.

The District has a growing population and the Government has demanded the Council identifies land for around 15,000 new homes over the next 17 years. Land for around 5,000 houses has already been found with land now needing to be provided for the remainder.

More than 600 potential sites put forward by developers have been examined and an evidence-based selection made by spatial planning officers in accordance with national guidelines and best practice.

A report to the Committee gives details of these sites that the technical studies showed are the most suitable for development.

These include 12 broad locations each with 250 or more homes and 90 large, medium or small sites that each could provide between five and 249.

In total, all of these sites could provide 11,826 new homes in the years up to 2041.

New residential areas would be supported by between three to four new secondary schools, eight to 10 new primary schools, a minimum 25,000 new trees and new country parks which will be in total about ten times the size of Verulamium Park.

Up to 20,000 new high-quality jobs would also be created along with 30 kilometres of new or enhanced cycle paths. There would be roughly 1.5 times more new or newly protected public green space as development land, the equivalent of 2,000-plus football pitches.

There would also be a solar energy plant in an area East of Hemel Hempstead that would produce clean energy on a large scale.

The proposed development sites will form part of a draft Local Plan that will go before a public consultation that could start as early as Wednesday 12 July.

This exercise, known as a Regulation 18 consultation, will allow residents, developers and other stakeholders to give their views on the proposals.

Councillor Chris White, the Council Leader and the Committee’s Chair, said ahead of the meeting:

The production of a Local Plan is one of the most complex and challenging tasks that a District Council is required to undertake.

It is essential that we complete this task. Our community will want locally-elected Councillors rather than central Government to draw up this blueprint for the District’s future growth as we are responsive to their needs and have a feel for our area.

The consequence of us not producing a new Local Plan is that Whitehall might draw up one instead despite having little knowledge of local conditions. We will also be prey to opportunistic developers who will try to force through unsuitable schemes.


I am pleased, therefore, that after a terrific amount of work by officers we are now very close to being able to hold the first public consultation of the draft Local Plan.

This is a big moment as we want our residents, community groups, businesses and other organisations to provide feedback and help shape our final proposals. Engaging with the public is a central feature of the process.

Cllr White added:

We had a huge response to our call for people to offer potential development sites for consideration. Our spatial planning officers then proposed sites to go forward for inclusion in the draft Local Plan without Councillor involvement. We will be considering these proposals at our meeting on Monday 26 June.

It was a selection based on technical studies that considered issues such as sustainability, the need to protect the Green Belt, selecting sites that would cause the least harm to it, and planning authority best practice.

Getting a new Local Plan adopted will allow us to control where houses and businesses are built and very importantly, where they are not built.

Another meeting of the Planning Policy and Climate Committee has been called for Monday 10 July when the content of the draft Local Plan for consultation is scheduled to be finalised.

Councillors will then be able to authorise the public consultation which is scheduled to run until Monday 25 September.

All the responses will then be analysed and a report prepared for a future meeting of the Committee to see what changes may be needed to the draft LP.

It is hoped that a final draft may be submitted to a Government-appointed Planning Inspector for examination in December next year.

Media Contact: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727 819533,