Oliver Dowden, MP for Hertsmere, convened a meeting with the heads of Hertsmere Borough Council’s Planning Department to discuss council’s plans for the future of the area.
It came as the borough council continue the process of updating their Local Plan, the document that will set out development across Hertsmere for the next few decades. The meeting was attended by the Council Executive’s Member for Planning, Cllr Harvey Cohen, and Mrs Christine Lyons, Head of Planning & Economic Development.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Dowden MP said: “How we meet the needs of a growing community is one of the biggest challenges we face here in Hertsmere. That’s why it’s important for me to meet with the Planning Department to scrutinise their proposals and to make sure that my constituents’ voices are heard in this process.
“They are examining a wide range of options to meet the Government’s targets for house building. I stressed to them that while we must provide homes for the next generation, we must also make sure that we keep what makes our area special. Our green open spaces are essential to preserving our Borough’s town and villages, creating distinct communities and preventing ugly urban sprawl.
“At the same time, new development needs to be matched by the right infrastructure, including schools, roads, GPs and emergency services.
“I was very glad to hear from the council that they share this view and are working to do just this in the Local Plan.”
The Local Plan Update is an ongoing process. In September last year, the council published its ‘Issues and Options Report’ which set out broad proposals for development, including a new garden village, urban extensions and brownfield development.
Mr Dowden MP added: “The next stage of the planning process will be the ‘Preferred Options’ report in September where they will set out in more detail which sites are being looked at for development.
“I strongly urge everyone in Hertsmere to engage with the consultation on this. It is one of the main ways for the council understand people’s views and has a real impact on the final shape of the plans. If you don’t express your views now it will be much harder to do so later. Similarly, as Hertsmere’s MP I am determined to ensure that residents’ views are heard by decision makers and I will continue to meet regularly with the council over the coming months.”