Hertsmere planners are making a further appeal for potential employment sites in the borough as part of ongoing efforts to secure future economic development.
Landowners and other key stakeholders will be receiving letters or emails from planners inviting them to submit any sites with potential for employment. The call has been issued after officers became informally aware of several new potential sites which had not been previously submitted as part of Hertsmere’s new delayed Local Plan.
To be eligible for consideration, sites should have the potential to accommodate 500 square metres of floor space in the form of offices, industrial, storage, distribution or other employment generating activities. Respondents are being asked to complete a questionnaire and return it with a map showing the site boundary and other supporting information to the council on or before 18 March.
Any sites that are included in the draft Local Plan – postponed from last summer – will be subject to the six-week public consultation. It is not expected that the draft Plan will be published until after the County Council elections in May as it will contain controversial proposals to release specific sites from the green belt for housing.
Said Labour Group Leader, Cllr Jeremy Newmark, who sits on the Planning Committee and is Vice Chair of the Member Planning Panel responsible for reviewing the Local Plan, said: “At earlier stages in the Local Plan process we argued for a gold standard in public engagement and consultation. This document is a once in a generation opportunity. We were pleased to see our advice taken on board and a very positive consultation process followed. It is critical that any late entry sites are subject to exactly the same level of public consultation, scrutiny and engagement. We accept the rationale for late entry sites. However there is no rationale for diluting the level of public engagement.”
The Local Plan will guide development and influence how the borough changes through the after-effects of the pandemic and over the next 15 years. More than 100 sites have previously been submitted for housing and employment. A previous call for sites was conducted in 2017.
This latest announcement will be a further blow to local green belt campaign groups who have been dismayed at ongoing delays in publication of the draft Plan.