Serving the people of Knebworth

KNEBWORTH PARISH COUNCIL PLANNING UPDATE

The North Hertfordshire District Council Local Plan proposes changing our Green Belt boundary. It allocates 731 new homes around an expanded Knebworth village. Knebworth Parish Council can't change the allocation of these sites, but it can influence their use.

So, we wrote our own Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan as our community vision for the future. It aims to ensure that our community can influence and benefit from any new development, including that proposed by the NHDC Local Plan. There will be a referendum on our Neighbourhood Plan later this year in a few months' time. We hope you will support it.

North Herts Local Plan 2011-2031 update

NHDC has to prepare a Local Plan for the whole district and to identify housing land for at least the next 5 years. The NHDC Local Plan sets targets for the number of new homes in Knebworth and says where they should be built. It also includes policies which are used to make decisions on planning applications.

NHDC also decide on planning applications, as they are the Local Planning Authority. Planning applications have been difficult for them to reject without an up-to-date Local Plan or a five-year housing supply. This was one of the reasons we lost the Station Pub garden planning appeal.

The new NHDC Local Plan is now nearly complete. It has been examined by a planning inspector and the final changes to it are due soon; we expect them to be minor. The NHDC Local Plan includes three large sites put forward by landowners almost 10 years ago. These are:

  • KB1 (Deards End Lane) and KB2 (Gipsy Lane) to the west of Knebworth village; and
  • KB4 (Swangleys Lane, Old Lane & Watton Road) to the east.

These are all on land in the Green Belt today. The NHDC Local Plan will change that, by making the village boundary bigger. Further information is here.

When the NHDC Local Plan is approved, the loss of Green Belt land at these sites will be confirmed. We expect that, within months, landowners will then seek planning permission for these new developments.

Knebworth Parish Council has a long-standing policy of opposing building on Green Belt land. We have objected to Green Belt boundary changes at every opportunity.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan update

Knebworth Parish Council cannot change the NHDC Local Plan or the housing allocation. We are, however, allowed to create a more specific Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan.

Our Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan cannot contradict the NHDC Local Plan's strategic policies. But we can add our own policies for our community. These can influence the way that future village developments will happen here. NHDC has to consider them, when making decisions on planning applications.

The Parish Council formed the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan team in 2016. The team have created a plan that will allow the village to remain a great place to live. It aims to keep Knebworth distinct from its neighbouring communities. We presented a draft plan in the Village Hall in April 2018 and we have also run other consultations.

Some people in our community do not want any new building. This is unrealistic and new development is inevitable. We need some level of new housing for our own children and grandchildren.

The process to finalise our Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan is now mostly complete. We have submitted it to NHDC for a final consultation, which they will run from 21 April 2021. When that consultation, and an independent examination, is completed, NHDC will hold a local referendum in the Parish. This will be your opportunity to vote for your Neighbourhood Plan. A link to the submitted version of our plan is here. We encourage everyone to read it.

We want Knebworth to be a vibrant and inclusive village community. Our vision is to aspire to good design and improved environmental performance. We want everybody to have access to green spaces. We want to accommodate sustainable growth in our population, services and infrastructure. We want to see development that embraces our values and heritage. It should have the smallest impact on local nature and wildlife. Development should maintain Knebworth's fundamental rural character.

We hope that you will support our Neighbourhood Plan and vote in favour of it at the referendum. We would like to thank the team of volunteers that have been working on this, putting in a huge effort since 2016.

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 00:10 by Claire Graham

Tags: Planning