We are absolutely delighted to say that the Referendum Version of the Shenley Plan is going to be approved by Hertsmere Borough Council Executive Committee on 14th October. Sign off should have taken place on 16th September but the meeting was adjourned due to unforeseen circumstances. From 14th October the Shenley Plan will be treated as if the Referendum has taken place and it has to be considered with regard to all planning applications going forward. There will be a referendum in May 2021.

In the last SVM article we told you that the Shenley Plan was in the final stages of its examination. The Examiners Shenley Neighbourhood Plan Examination report was submitted to Hertsmere on 26th May. Overall the Steering Group is not unhappy with John Slaters report. We seemed to have had a better outcome than Radlett in that their examiner made them delete two policies one of which we still have in ours. We did have to delete Policy SH2 Shenley Village Special Policy Area as the Examiner felt that the policy failed to meet ‘basic conditions’. We are disappointed but have to accept the Examiner’s decision.

The examiner considered it was a response to the emerging Hertsmere local plan which seemed to indicate more housing in Shenley parish.  “I only attach little weight to it as it is largely speculation as to possible green belt releases and large site allocations, at this stage as the local plan making process proceeds, which will be the subject of further appraisals and public consultation and in time public examination.”  As you will see in the rest of this article the examiner goes on to make it clear that he would not expect to see large greenbelt release in the parish and should it happen it would only be sustainable to release land at the edges of existing settlements

It is worth noting that in the section ‘Compliance with the Development Plan’ the Examiner said:

  1. “Shenley sits at the fourth and fifth levels of the borough’s settlement hierarchy. The Core Strategy recognises that Shenley has reached its natural limits within the Green Belt and that further development will be restricted to small infill development opportunities as set out in Policy CS2.  The Key Diagram shows the part of the settlement area comprising the former Shenley Hospital surrounded by Green Belt.  The relevant Green Belt policy is Policy CS13.”

We hope that the above underlined sentence will help to protect Shenley.

We are delighted that the Examiner made the following comment regarding the Shenley Parish Design Principles and Code and we extend special thanks to our Consultant Angela Koch of ImaginePlaces who helped us draft it:

Shenley Parish Design Principles and Code

  1. “I commend the quality and the clarity of aspirations set out in the Design Principles and Code – it is some of the best design guidance I have seen and is particularly well illustrated”.

In his summary the examiner said:

  1. “I congratulate Shenley Parish Council and its Steering Group on the quality of this neighbourhood plan. There is a clear desire that any development within the rural parts of the parish should reflect that character and it promotes high design quality which is a commendable aspiration.
  2. I am confident that the Design Principles and Code will, as amended, have a positive result in shaping the design quality of any new housing that takes place in the plan area during the lifetime of the plan. Equally, once the new Hertsmere Local Plan has been adopted, that would then be the best time to be reviewing this neighbourhood plan, to be able to build upon the decisions that will be made in that strategic document.
  3. I am therefore delighted to recommend to Hertsmere Borough Council that the Shenley Parish Neighbourhood Plan, as modified by my recommendations, should proceed in due course to referendum”.

We had a Team meeting with Hertsmere Planning on 26th June when they confirmed that they were going to recommend that the Examiners report be accepted. It was agreed that we should ask our consultant to start making the changes recommended by the Examiner. This was done and the revised plan was sent to Hertsmere. We then had to wait for an email listing the proposed changes they wanted to make.  This was sent to us at the beginning of September. An extremely intense few weeks of negotiation followed. Where there was no material effect we agreed to Hertsmere’s proposed changes but we had to stand our ground re a few points.

Please take a look at the final approved version of the Referendum Plan on the village website in the Neighbourhood Plan section – it will be uploaded shortly once Hertsmere have agreed the final wording.

On behalf of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group we extend a big thank you to everyone who helped us make the Shenley Plan. A huge endeavour which will be of enormous benefit to the village.

There are proposed changes to the Planning system and they could affect the work that Hertsmere has done so far on the new Local Plan but until the Government announces the changes we cannot know what impact this will have.

Nicky Beaton

Chair Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Cllr. Rosemary Gilligan

Vice Chair Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group