SHENLEY NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
STEERING GROUP MEETING on ZOOM
On Thursday 30th July 2020 at 6pm
Attendees: Nicky Beaton (Chair) NB, Rosemary Gilligan (Vice Chair) RG, Richard Archer RA, Maureen Ashman MA, Martin Finney MF, Annie Keen AK, Gavin O’Sullivan* GO, Rachel Shaw RS, William Susman WS *Denotes attended part of the meeting
- Apologies for Absence: None
- Approval of previous meeting Minutes 21st January 2020: Minutes approved
- Shenley Plan Examination Result – Discussion:
The Examiner John Slater gave some good pointers in his Examination Report in relation to the Shenley Plan having to conform to the current Local Plan which protects the Green Belt. RG considers that we did well apart from having to remove the Special Policy Area. MF asked if the revised Shenley Plan ‘has teeth’. RG believes that it has. The St Alban ‘s Local Plan has just failed inspection and she feels that Hertsmere’s new Local Plan will not be successful if it proposes extensive unsustainable development in Green belt. John Slater steer is that HBC should be looking to develop on the edges of Shenley Parish to take advantage of existing infrastructure. RS commented that Shenley has a lot of edges. RG feels that Well End is the only edge HBC (Hertsmere Borough Council) can realistically consider. John Slater comments that development in Shenley is not sustainable as we don’t have the infrastructure. He said that development on Site 4 was not sustainable. RG commented that if Green belt is released it has to be within walking distance of a Railway station and bus routes. WS asked if HBC chose sites in the Green belt what opportunity do we have to oppose it. RG said that HBC have to have a strong argument to support using Green belt. She thinks that John Slater’s steer has real weight.
RG commented that HBC haven’t been able to get Green belt released but MF reminded us that Porters Park was built on Green belt! NB said that our real fear relates to Bloor Homes’ proposal to build Harper Lane Village joining their current development and taking development up to the edge of Cow Bank Wood, next to Porters Park. RG asked would it then be part of Shenley as there would be virtually no separation. It would coalesce. Porters Park and Shenleybury residents would not be happy. There is a serious fear that the scheme is being considered. RG commented that having a Freight Depot and a big housing development would not be viable. The Govt is very against developers spending a lot of money on land. They want to cap it. From September developers have to declare the price paid for their land. Govt wants developers to build affordable house.
- Revised Shenley Plan – Referendum Version:
NB confirmed that with HBC agreement Angela Koch was asked to revise the Shenley Plan as per the Examination Report. The first revision was circulated to everyone. NB & RG gave Angela their feedback (typos, spelling mistakes and other minor errors plus answered questions and approved re-wording to bring Plan up to date). The second revision has been circulated to the Steering Group and was sent to Mark Silverman, HBC, on Wednesday 29th. NB will give HBC a couple of weeks to look at it then chase for a response. If they try to change the Plan beyond what the Examination Report asks for it will be resisted.
- Meeting with Planning on Friday 26th June – Summary:
The virtual meeting was attended by Cllr Harvey Cohen, Scott Leban and Ross Whear the new Head of Planning and RG, NB and Cllr Natalie Susman. The Shenley Plan, new Local Plan progress and relevant Planning issues were discussed. Mark Silverman confirmed that HBC would not oppose the Examiner’s Report and therefore the Executive Committee are likely to give their approval in September at which point the revised Shenley Plan will then be treated as if the Referendum has taken place. Due to Covid 19 the actual Referendum is likely to take place next May at the earliest, the same time as the Radlett Referendum. The Shenley Plan started two years after the Radlett Plan!
NB asked Ross Whear if Shenley Parish Council (SPC) will be eligible to get 25% of CIL money going forward when the revised Plan is approved in September as it is not SPC’s fault that Covid 19 put paid to the Referendum being held this year, which it undoubtedly would have been! Ross said he would consult the HBC Legal Department.
NB asked again if Planning could give us the indicative development number for Shenley Parish. Ross confirmed that Hertsmere are looking to build 750 homes per year over the next 15 years which amounts to 11,250 in total. RG reminded them that that is considerably higher than the 2014 Govt figure. Ross said that we could be given an indicative figure. This was requested and requested again in a follow up email. Unfortunately the recent response was that HBC cannot give us any information re numbers for Shenley! SPC is waiting to hear if they will get 25% CIL monies from September.
New Local Plan progress: The draft plan will now not be available until next Spring so we will not know where they propose development to be until then.
The overall impression after the meeting is that Shenley is extremely vulnerable.
RG commented that new guidelines come into play in September. She feels that if fewer people work in offices going forward due to Covid lots of office blocks will be converted into flats and Hertsmere won’t be able to justify such high figures. She thinks their high numbers can be challenged.
- King William IV Demolition:
RG and GO confirmed that at the SPC meeting in January James Craig told Cllrs that they wanted to demolish the King William IV but were having to keep most of it and would be extending it. It would appear that after that meeting HBC agreed changes to the plans such that the Plans showing the ground floor do indicate the level of demolition that has taken place. NB had a response from Ross Whear today indicating this and highlighting the approved plan. WS commented that Griggs will be rebuilding the chimneys. Generally it was felt that the developers were not open with SPC and there was not enough consultation.
- How the Shenley Plan is ‘Policed’ Going Forward:
As at the meeting on 21st January NB again expressed her concerns as to how SPC will ‘police’ the Shenley Plan going forward. NB, RG & AK firmly believe that SPC should have a Planning Committee. NB is particularly concerned that due to Cllr. Nigel Heller and Cllr. Jonathan Bonn’s recent resignations the Planning Working Party consists of only RG & AK. After the King Will debacle it is extremely important that SPC keep on top of all applications going forward to make sure the Shenley Plan is adhered to.
RS & NB recommended that the newly formed planning committee could be bolstered by the addition of someone with planning experience/sound knowledge of the Shenley Plan as Aldenham Parish Council have on their Planning Committee. RG said she would find out if such a person would be able to vote or just be an adviser. It would help the Planning Committee ensure that the SNP is enforced/respected. WS & RG to discuss.
- Future Steering Group Meetings:
Until the Steering Group need to help SPC organise a Public meeting in Spring 2021 there is no need for further meetings.
- What Happens to the Steering Group:
NB said that the Steering Group will need to help revise the Shenley Plan when Hertsmere Local Plan has been made. It should not be an onerous task but will need to be done as speedily as possible. RG anticipates HBC having problems with the Inspector if they try to release too much Green Belt. The Steering Group will have a celebratory dinner after the Referendum next year.
- Any Other Business: None