Watford Borough Council have now formally adopted a new vision for the development of the borough from now until 2038, following the Examination by the Government’s Planning Inspector of the ‘New Watford Local Plan’.
The plan provides a blueprint for delivering the council’s priorities and sets out the strategy for our growth and improvement for the local economy, housing, transport systems and environment until 2038. Adoption of the plan was agreed at a Full Council meeting last night (17 October), with no councillors voting against the document. The full plan can be found at watfordlocalplan.co.uk.
The new Local Plan includes policies that will allow Watford to insist that new homes are designed to the highest standards, to be more environmentally friendly, and, importantly, affordable for local people. It will introduce better controls around good design and building height, which is a key issue for local people.
Speaking at the meeting, Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “This Local Plan will give us more say over the future of town. We will have more power to reject inappropriate overdevelopment, more power to ensure we have homes that our affordable and have high environmental standards.
“It will help us to ensure we create communities with the infrastructure needed for local residents and businesses. It will mean that we can say no to taller buildings that are not right for Watford. In an imperfect planning system it is the best way for our town to meet the challenges we face, making the most of the opportunities we have.”
High housing targets set by the government mean that Watford will continue to see some taller buildings in areas earmarked as more suitable, but with the up-to-date Local Plan, the council will be better able to defend decisions to refuse developments which do not show that they benefit the town.
The plan also introduces policies to help support our town centre and the local economy by protecting land for certain uses such as retail, leisure and employment. Without an up-to-date Local Plan these important uses could be lost forever, and our communities would suffer as a result.
Following the adoption of the plan, Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, added: “I am pleased that we were able to pass this last night with no councillors voting against it. Throughout the process we have consulted widely with the public. Councillors and staff have been part of putting the plan together and have worked incredibly hard to produce a document we can have confidence in.
“Watford’s housing targets are still too high and I will continue to fight for a reduction to a level that is appropriate. However, with an up-to-date Local Plan, we have a better chance of resisting appeals for inappropriate development and have more control over how we keep Watford a great place to live, work and visit.”
For more information, please visit www.watfordlocalplan.co.uk