Future Green Belt development discussed by Government minister

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Pics - first (l to r) Cllr Dr Harvey Cohen, James Clappison MP and councillor Seamus Quilty with Nick Boles MP. Pics - first (l to r) Cllr Dr Harvey Cohen, James Clappison MP and councillor Seamus Quilty with Nick Boles MP.

Councillors from Hertsmere met with the Government’s planning minister in Westminster this week to discuss concerns of residents and the authority about future planning and housing requirements in the borough.

Organised by Hertsmere MP James Clappison, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council Morris Bright was joined by executive member for planning and localism Councillor Dr Harvey Cohen and executive member for housing, Councillor Seamus Quilty to meet planning minister Nick Boles MP.

Among the topics of discussion were concerns about the need for potential future Green Belt development with Hertsmere being over 80 per cent green belt land and with almost all brownfield sites now allocated for housing, along with the need for more affordable homes including key worker housing when prices in the borough are high and often unaffordable.

In addition, it was agreed that closer working on ensuring the correct infrastructure - including roads, schools and medical facilities - is in place for development go ahead.

The final discussion were based around giving people more say about their areas, when planning inspectors often overrule those views.

Councillor Quilty said after the meeting: "Hertsmere is in the rare position of having so much green belt and such high valued land. We must though work out ways of ensuring more affordable housing for those residents who want their families to live nearby and for key workers such as nurses and teachers. Nick Boles understood that and we began to talk about ideas for seeing how we could make that happen in the future."

Councillor Morris Bright added: "We were pleased to find that the Government understands the issues being faced by residents in Hertsmere and is prepared to work with us to help move matters forward.

"I have extended an invitation to the Minister to come and visit Hertsmere and see for himself some of the planning and housing issues we face and we hope to be able to welcome Nick Boles MP to Hertsmere in the future."

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