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04 April 2018

Funding secured for planning initiatives

Funding has been secured for three key posts that will help St Albans City and District Council produce detailed plans for the area's future growth.

The Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government is to provide more than £370,000 to finance the jobs and fund technical studies over the next two years.

This will help the Council prepare a Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) that it is working on with neighbouring local authorities in the South West Herts Group.

The money will also allow the Council to complete aspects of its Local Plan (LP) that identifies land for residential and commercial development.

The JSP will plan for major infrastructure involving cross-boundary issues that go beyond any one Council's geographical area.

This includes the provision of key infrastructure including new roads and other transport links, schools, health facilities and the needs of utilities.

Two new employees will work on the JSP for all local authorities in the South West Herts Group. The others are Dacorum Borough Council, Hertsmere Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council.

These posts are for a Joint Strategic Plan Director and a Housing and Employment Delivery Director.

There is also funding for technical studies. This will include work on the task of identifying strategic growth locations for housing and commercial building.

The other post is for a Senior Urban Designer/Masterplanner which will be shared with Dacorum.

This new recruit will assist with work on each Council's LP and will be tasked with shaping the detailed design of major growth areas.

Tracy Harvey, Head of Planning and Building Control for St Albans, said: "We're delighted to have gained this funding along with our partners for these new planning jobs and technical studies.

"This will help us move ahead the Joint Strategic Plan that we are working on with four neighbouring local authorities and with our Local Plan.

"This Government support follows a Planning Inspector's decision, upheld by the Appeal Court last year, that a draft Local Plan we published had not met the duty to co-operate with other Councils.

"We have since begun work on a new Local Plan and finished a six-week public consultation earlier this year. A draft is scheduled to go before the full Council this summer.

"In developing a new Local Plan, we have held discussions with the neighbouring Councils, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and other interested organisations.

"We also joined the South West Herts Group to work on a Joint Strategic Plan for the whole area that will ensure the infrastructure needs of housing and commercial developments are delivered in a co-ordinated way."

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