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Kings Langley Green Belt

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 13 February 2019

The petition of residents of Kings Langley,

Declares strong opposition to plans under consideration in Dacorum Borough Councils Local Plan 2017 that would mean the loss of valuable farmland and the demise of Wayside Dairy Farm and other local green areas.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to protect the Green Belt in and around the village of Kings Langley.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Mike Penning, Official Report, 24 October 2018; Vol. 648, c. 400.]


Observations from the Minister for Housing (Kit Malthouse):

The Government are clear that councils and their communities are best placed to take decisions on planning issues affecting their local area, within the context of national planning policy and our ambition to build 300,000 homes a year. Up-to-date plans reduce speculative development, provide certainty and are a mechanism for holding authorities to account on managing local housing need. It gives local areas the flexibility to use land they already have to build the homes, facilities and infrastructure that they need.

Environmental protection is at the heart of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (published July 2018), setting clear expectations for future developments, including assessing the impacts of new development on the road network. The revised Framework sets out that most new building is inappropriate in the Green Belt and should be refused planning permission except in very special circumstances. Only in exceptional circumstances can a strategic policy-making authority establish the need to alter a Green Belt boundary, using the plan process of consultation and examination. The revised Framework has strengthened this policy by setting out that authorities should show fully evidenced justification for a Green Belt boundary change. Including through setting out they have examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development needs by making more effective use of suitable brownfield and under-utilised land; optimising density of new development where appropriate; and discussing with neighbouring authorities whether they could take some of the necessary development.

The Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government has a quasi-judicial role in the planning system, and so the Government cannot comment on the detail of specific plans or planning applications for reasons of propriety.

It is understood that Dacorum Borough Council are undertaking a partial review of their core strategy to produce a new local plan. As part of this process the council held a public consultation on an issues and options document, followed by a series of public exhibitions. It is also understood that the council proposes to undertake a pre-submission draft consultation during summer 2019.

When ready, the council will submit the plan for examination by an independent inspector. Before the examination anyone with an interest in the plan will have an opportunity to make representations and may request to appear before the examination.