The Government has today (December 19th) published the much-delayed Policy Framework which will give Councils power to reduce the number of homes they must allow to be built if development will significantly alter the character of their area or damage the Green Belt, as well as exempt them from building houses on prime agricultural land. In addition, it removes the requirement for Local Housing Needs Assessments and allowing Councils to build as few homes as they wish. In anticipation of these changes sixty Councils have already paused or withdrawn their Local Plans as they will no longer be held to targets set by the standard method.
So, what does this mean for the future of the Harlow and Gilston Town, which as things stand will see hundreds of acres of Green Belt land destroyed, the removal of many commercial greenhouses to the west of the town and the destruction of many green spaces within the Harlow boundary? Will Councillors at Harlow DC, East Herts DC and Epping Forest DC say enough is enough and follow the lead of councillors at sixty other Council’s and withdraw their plans.
In the meantime developers are crying crocodile tears about this framework, whilst sitting on many brown field sites which have lain derelict for many years.