Consultation system is laid down

PUBLISHED: 13:39 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 May 2010

Your editorial of 23 July said North Herts District Council has previous for identifying areas of land which by and large won t be developed and suggested that this process caused unnecessary concern among residents. Please allow me to explain why we h

Your editorial of 23 July said "North Herts District Council has previous for identifying areas of land which by and large won't be developed" and suggested that this process caused unnecessary concern among residents.

Please allow me to explain why we have to consult in this way. The system of consultation is laid down by central government and we cannot modify it or take short cuts.

Along with all other English councils, NHDC is engaged in the long process of creating a Local Development Framework, which is a means of deciding where the District can accommodate extra housing and industry while preserving the green areas. Last year we consulted on our preferred options for development, that is, areas where we thought extra housing and industry could be located.

As part of that consultation we asked landowners, developers and the general public to suggest sites which they thought could be developed. As a result, 126 sites across the District have been proposed for development.

You are quite right that in the end many, perhaps most, of these will not be developed. But we still have to go through the process of elimination to show to central government that we have considered all the options thoroughly. Moreover, pressure for more housing is still increasing, not decreasing, so it is very important for us and the public to be aware of sites which could still be developed.

The policy of NHDC is to promote sustainable development, giving priority to brown field sites within our towns before expanding into the countryside. Meanwhile I do urge as many people as possible to give their views in the current consultation, which runs to September 17. Details are on our website www.north-herts.gov.uk or can be obtained at Royston library.

Councillor Tom Brindley,

Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport

North Hertfordshire District Council

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