Fight fails to halt demand for extra homes

A BID to reduce the projected number of new homes to be built in the county has been rejected. The East of England Regional Assembly has backed Government proposals that will result in as many as 72,000 extra houses being built in Herts in the period up to 2021. The new figure will mean up to 500 additional homes above the maximum the district council could achieve being built in the St Albans district.

At its meeting in Hertford last week, the Regional Assembly rejected a Herts County Council bid to reduce the total number of new homes for the region by more than 70,000.

If the numbers are finally approved early next year, St Albans will have to provide space for 7,700 new homes in the period to 2021 - that is 385 a year.

investment land

It will mean the council having to look again at Green Belt sites they had previously rejected when reviewing their planning blueprint, the St Albans District Plan.

Cllr Julian Daly, the district council's representative on the Regional Assembly, said: "This is a much higher figure than we can cope with and will mean there will have to be a significant release of Green Belt land.

"If this is eventually confirmed then it is really bad news for the district." He said the Regional Assembly had agreed that there should be a study of housing supply in Herts but he added: "This could go either way and we could find that we should be building even more."

Cllr Daly added: "One of the biggest problems is who will pay for all the infrastructure such as roads and schools that will be needed for such massive development - and already some parts of the region are short of water" The county's Liberal Democrat group leader, Chris White, said the proposals made Green Belt policy second to growth.

Herts Advertiser, 12.02.2004

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