Enjoying our local countryside.

This time of tension and lock down provides us with a timely reminder of the importance of the countryside for mental and physical health and well-being. One of the five purposes of the Green Belt laid down in the NPPF is “to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.” Without the protection of the Green Belt planning policies we can’t assume that our countryside will continue to be there.

 Local Plan consultation.

The submissions and comments are still being listed on the consultation portal, so it is not yet possible to see just how many responses there have been, but it is a goodly response. Thank you all for your contributions.

The Society’s comments prepared by Jed Griffiths our planning consultant will be listed in due course. We have objected on Green Belt grounds to all the proposed sites in the parish.

Coronavirus has delayed an already stretched out process. At some point the council officers will present a report on the consultation to the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP) with recommendations as to the way forward. The next meeting of the CPPP is scheduled for Thursday 4th June.

The Inspector’s Stage 8 hearing sessions into the sites already in the Draft Plan will continue but no decision has been taken yet on when they are likely to be held, whether they are likely to be virtual hearing sessions or to take place in the same way as the previous hearings did.

NMDGBS will be represented by Jed Griffiths and our written comments were submitted prior to the deadline last month.

 ??16,000 dwellings??

NMDGBS has consistently argued that the target of 16000 dwellings (known as the Objectively Assessed Number) in the Draft Local Plan is far too high. In part the OAN figure is calculated on assumptions about the strong economic expansion that the Council desired to see over the plan period. These assumptions were highly aspirational when they were made several years ago but now, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer predicting a severe recession “the likes of which we have not seen”, they are totally unrealistic and surely must be reviewed.

Please let your local councilors know if you agree with this argument.

Green Belt beyond North Mymms.

NMDGBS is a long-standing member of the Countryside Charity (CPRE) through CPRE (Herts) as indeed are many of our members. CPRE nationally sends out a regular campaigns newsletter which you can access at https://www.cpre.org.uk

We also belong to the London Green Belt Council which brings together over 100 organisations including councils, residents & environmental groups with a shared concern for London’s Green Belt. Their latest newsletter deals with the emergency change to planning law that permits Councils to hold virtual planning committee meetings. It also includes a round-up of recent developments within the London Metropolitan Green Belt of which we are a part. Our problems are shared throughout the area and we can learn from what is happening in other planning authorities. Check out the details at http://londongreenbeltcouncil.org.uk