We've committed to taking the next step towards proposals for a new strategic plan for growth in South West Herts.
Hertsmere Borough Councillors agreed that preliminary work should be undertaken with Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council on a new Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) at our full council meeting on Wednesday (28 February).
The JSP will aim to ensure that housing growth, jobs and key infrastructure – such as transport, schools, health, and utilities like water and sewerage – are properly co-ordinated and delivered. It will help ensure that these infrastructure needs are aligned to the development of new homes and employment areas. All five councils also make up a single housing market area, which means they have previously worked together to identify existing and future housing need.
The work already has the informal support of Hertfordshire County Council, which provides key services and infrastructure in the county.
Councillor Dr Harvey Cohen, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Localism, said: "Neighbouring authorities are increasingly being encouraged to work together to provide the homes, jobs and infrastructure where people to want to live.
"At our meeting we agreed a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out how cooperation between the five local authorities in South West Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council will be managed.
"For Hertsmere, the benefits of working with our neighbouring authorities are significant and manifold; it will bring increased funding opportunities; put us in a better negotiating position with the Government and other authorities; and mean that we can manage the delivery of infrastructure more effectively.
"It will also ensure that our new Local Plan, which is being prepared and will identify locations for growth, reflects the strategic needs of the area."
The JSP will deal with strategic issues that go beyond individual council boundaries – for example, major transport and road improvements require planning and co-ordination across the whole area.
By working together, the councils are confident they will be in a stronger position to deliver sustainable growth and access infrastructure funding opportunities to improve essential local transport links, health services and educational facilities that local people want to see.
Each council will still be responsible for preparing their own Local Plan, but the JSP will be the first critical stage in local planning work across South West Herts, setting the strategic development framework and shared priorities within which individucal local plans can be prepared.
The councils will work towards agreeing this strategic framework through preparation of a Statement of Common Ground (SoCG), which is expected to be published in the summer.
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018