Skip to main content

North Herts Local Plan adopted

09 November 2022
A Royston housing development

Following extensive public consultation, public hearings and a lengthy examination by government Planning Inspectors, the Local Plan for North Herts was approved for adoption by councillors last night at an Extraordinary Council meeting (Tuesday, 8 November).

Our Local Plan 2011-31 sets out how and where new homes, jobs and infrastructure will be delivered in the district which includes the main towns of Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston, and villages such as Knebworth, Codicote, Offley and Weston.

It is a government requirement for every local authority to have a Local Plan, to outline a strategy for ensuring that growth is delivered in the right place and is of the right character and quality, and means we have a proactive plan in place for the needs of our residents. Many areas, including North Herts, are under pressure to provide more homes, in particular affordable homes which local residents, especially young people, can afford to live in.

As well as planning for approximately 11,600 new homes to meet the needs of our district, our Local Plan sets out plans for new and expanded employment sites at Baldock and Royston. The Local Plan also sets out the requirements for supporting roads, schools, retail, leisure and community facilities to help our communities thrive.

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Leader of North Herts Council, said:I would like to thank members of the previous administration for their hard work in getting the plan submitted for inspection. Developing a Local Plan is a long and complex process, but I am pleased that we finally have a strategy supported by the Government’s Inspector that will give the council greater control over where new developments will go – and will also ensure up to 40% of our largest housing schemes will be reserved for lower cost options, such as affordable rent and shared ownership. It is also great news that land between Hitchin and Luton will now be designated a new area of green belt, linking to green belt in Bedfordshire.”

Councillor Ruth Brown, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, said: “I want to thank the hundreds of people who have taken part in consultations and the Examination over the last few years, in shaping our Local Plan which is an essential part of the district’s future. Through our Plan we will require new developments to deliver high-quality sustainable design, open space and routes for pedestrians and cyclists to help the fight against climate change.”

The Local Plan will encourage good design throughout the district and in particular highlight the need for environmental considerations, including:

  • Encouraging walking and cycling, with strategic housing sites having to create integrated, accessible and sustainable transport systems.
  • Reducing water use in new properties.
  • Providing appropriate spaces and new habitat for nature known as biodiversity net gain (separate national legislation has mandated this should be 10%).

The Plan will be reviewed by the end of 2023 to help decide how and when it should be updated in the future.

You can find the Inspector's Report and Local Plan in the committee papers.