Our response to the Government’s consultation on its First Homes scheme, which aims to tackle the lack of affordability in the housing market.
In February 2020 the Government launched ‘First Homes: getting you on the ladder’, its consultation on the design and delivery of First Homes. First Homes is the latest government initiative aiming to increase home ownership. First Homes are flats and houses no different from other properties except they will be sold with a discount of at least 30 per cent (currently ‘affordable housing’ is priced at 20 per cent below market value), primarily to local people. The consultation document is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/first-homes. Our responses to the questions posed in the consultation are available to read below.
Government's First Homes consultation response
Changes to the 298 bus route by Transport for London: Hertsmere Borough Council's response
Transport for London ran a consultation last year on its plans to restructure the 298 bus route in Potters Bar. The proposals, which were approved in September 2017 and came into force in November 2017, concerned removing the section of the route running from the train station to Cranborne Road industrial estate in Potters Bar. Our response to the consultation is below. We are continuing to seek the reinstatement of this section of the route to ensure the largest employment area in the town is served by a regular bus route.
Transport for London consultation response - changes to route 298
Proposed removal of public payphones by British Telecommunications PLC: Hertsmere Borough Council’s final response to BT
Following the recent consultation on our draft decision relating to BT’s proposed removal of public payphones in the borough (see news item below), we have now sent the Council’s final response to BT. This takes account of several additional representations made by residents in the Letchmore Heath area.
A copy of the final response can be seen here:
Payphone consultation stage 2 response
Thank you to anyone who took the time to send us your views. The final decision as to whether payphones will be removed or retained rests with BT, not Hertsmere Borough Council.
Proposed removal of public payphones by British Telecommunications PLC: Results of Consultation and Hertsmere Borough Council’s draft decision
The council has recently consulted on BT’s proposals to remove 25 public payphones in the borough (see news item below for details).
Two objections to BT’s proposals have been received from members of the public during the consultation period. The council has considered these objections and now has to publicise how we propose to respond to BT’s proposals.
The basis on which we can object to the proposals is limited by law and by the guidance issued by Ofcom.
We are however proposing to object to the removal of four of the public payphones. These are the payphones at:
- The Green Letchmore Heath
- Outside 110 London Road Shenley
- o/s 41 High Road Bushey Heath
- o/s 186 Gateshead Road Borehamwood
The reasons for our objection are set out in our draft decision which we have to send to BT and the Secretary of State.
Draft Decision - payphone consultation stage 1 response
There is now another month for further comments to be made on the draft decision. If you have any further comments on the draft decision as it affects specific payphones please send them to:
Please ensure any comments reach us by 5pm on Monday 9 January 2017. We will not be able to consider late comments as we have to meet the deadline for making final comments set by Ofcom.
Proposed removal of public payphones by British Telecommunications PLC: Consultation
British Telecommunications PLC (BT) has notified the council that it proposes to remove 25 public payphones in the borough. BT placed a poster at each payphone in October 2016 advising people of its proposed removal and telling them to contact Hertsmere Borough Council planning department if they had any comments.
The payphones that BT proposes to remove are as follows:
- Junction of Brookside and Blackhorse Lane, EN63PR
- Junction of Church Road and Sandringham Road, EN6 1EX
- Junction of Southgate Road and Hill Rise, EN6 2RX
- Outside 112 Dugdale Hill Lane, EN6 2DJ
- Junction of Laurel Ave and Mutton Lane, EN6 2AN
- Junction of Carpenter Way and Oakmere Ave, EN6 5ED
- Outside 70 Chace Avenue, EN6 5LZ
- Junction of Mimms Hall Road and Mutton Lane, EN6 2AN
- Junction of Bushey Grove Road and Bushey Hall Road, WD23 2EA
- Opposite 478 Bushey Mill Lane, WD23 2AS
- Opposite Oundle Ave, Chiltern Avenue, WD23 4PY
- Near junction of The Rutts, WD23 1LP
- Outside 147 Little Bushey Lane, WD23 4SB
- Junction of Farm Way and Ford Close, WD23 3PH
- Outside 41 High Road, WD23 1EE
- Outside Aldenham Social Club, Church Lane, WD25 2AS
- Outside 110 London Road, WD7 9BS
- Outside 31-33 Farriers Way, WD6 2TB
- Outside 2 Linton Avenue, WD6 4QZ
- Outside 186 Gateshead Road, WD6 5LL
- Outside 12 Aycliffe Road , WD6 5LL
- Junction of Rossington Ave and Tuxford Close, WD6 4LE
- Opposite Arundel Drive, Furzehill Road, WD6 2DG
Read a copy of the notification letter BT sent to the council.
BT’s letter sets out the background to their proposals to remove the payphones and provides information on the process for their removal.
Although the proposals to remove the payphones have not been put forward by the council, and the decision as to whether or not a payphone is removed does not lie with us either, the council is responsible for consulting the local community on the proposals.
If you have any comments on the proposed removal of a specific payphone please let us know what you think and why, and write to us by:
Please ensure that any comments reach us by 5pm on Monday 5 December 2016 at the latest. We will not be able to consider late comments as there are further procedures Ofcom require us to follow before we can advise BT whether or not we object to any of the proposed removals.
Additional information about the status of the Core Strategy
Following the publication of a report on Local Plans progress across England by planning consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP), the council raised concerns with NLP about the status it gave to Hertsmere Borough Council's Core Strategy. This strategy was adopted in January 2013, following the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012). The map on Page 2 of the Early Adopters and the Late Majority report by NLP had identified Hertsmere and five other councils as having a 'Quashed/Time Expired Plan', although this terminology was not clarified or explained anywhere else in their report.
The council's position is that its Core Strategy is neither quashed nor time expired. The plan does include a commitment to 'undertaking' a partial review within three years and that review has now started with the publication of technical studies, jointly with other authorities. However, there was no requirement to complete such a review within three years and there is no such requirement in law.
NLP subsequently agreed to amend the report and now describes the status of the plans in the six councils as Quashed or Time Limited Early Review (Date Passed) with a note providing some additional clarification.
Whilst the council recognises that NLP has changed the report following our concerns, the terminology used is still considered to be confusing and potentially misleading. The council wishes to emphasise that it will continue to determine planning applications in accordance with its adopted plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise, in line with s38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) adopted
The council's Executive Committee adopted a new Affordable Housing SPD at its meeting on 14 October 2015.
View the agenda
Find out more information about the SPD on the planning publications pages.
Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Plan Published
We have published the final part of our new Local Plan, the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Plan (SADM for short), and there is now a six week period in which people can make comments before we submit the plan to the Secretary of State for a public examination which will be held by an independent Inspector.
The SADM Policies Plan allocates specific sites for development and other designations (such as town centres and open spaces), and also provides detailed policies which will be used in the assessment of planning applications.
The plan has now been published following approval from Full Council, which means that the policies within the plan are being used to make decisions on planning applications from 31 July 2015.
The consultation period runs from 3 August until 14 September 2015 at 5pm, and it is important that all comments are received within this period.
The SADM Plan and its supporting documents can be viewed on the SADM web page.
Overview of Hertsmere Borough Council position in light of the Ministerial Statements on Affordable Housing
Hertsmere Borough Council has carefully considered the statements made by The Minister of State for Housing and Planning on 28 November 2014 and the Secretary of State for Communities for Local Government on 25 March 2014 and associated changes to national Planning Practice Guidance.
The planning system is plan-led and planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
The council regards the Ministerial Statement and associated change to the Planning Practice Guidance as material considerations. Material considerations such as the Planning Practice Guidance and most significantly the National Planning Policy Framework materially inform development control decisions.
The council will continue to apply statutory development plan policies when determining planning applications whilst at the same time having suitable and appropriate regard to material considerations.
New planning guidance for domestic garage conversions
From 30 October 2014 a new Draft Appendix A to Part E of the Planning and Design Guide SPD will be used on an interim basis for all planning applications determined on or after 30 October 2014.
A period of public consultation will run from Thursday 30 October 2014 to 5pm on Friday 12 December 2014. Your comments are welcomed either by email or by post to the Planning Policy team at the address below.
The new Draft Appendix to the existing SPD sets out additional, more detailed guidance for garage conversions where planning permission is required. The main elements within the additional guidance are:
- Guidance on parking requirements if integral garages are converted, and this will only be routinely permitted where garages are less than 3m wide.
- Provision of some basic design criteria around acceptable window design, positioning and size and the materials to be used.
- Guidance on bin storage, driveways and landscaping.
For more information please see the Part E Appendix web page.
This Appendix has now been adopted following a period of public consultation.
Hertsmere responds to government consultation on proposed changes to the planning system
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) recently ran a consultation exercise on proposals aimed at streamlining the planning system. The proposals range from changing how neighbourhood plans and development orders are prepared, through to further changes of use and building work which can be carried out without planning permission being required.
Whilst broadly supportive of initiatives which make the planning system more accessible and responsive, our response to the consultation, which is endorsed by Portfolio Holder for Planning and Localism, Councillor Harvey Cohen, raises a number of important issues which we hope the DCLG will take into account when considering what changes to take forward.
Of particular concern are:
- the possible impact on the viability of town and local centres which could result from the loosening of control over changes of use of shop units from retail to other uses;
- the implications for the quality of decision making and the eventual quality of development which could result from the proposed reduction in time allowed for various aspects of the planning application process;
- the likelihood that the cumulative effect of recent changes in the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) will be to make the legislation complex and harder to interpret and apply. We have recommended that the government reviews the format of the entire GPDO following the outcome of this consultation so that it becomes clear to follow for all parties.
Proposals that are particularly welcomed include:
- an ability to prevent office to residential conversions under permitted development where there would be a loss of strategically important office accommodation;
- the introduction of new permitted development rights for commercial film and television production, and
- a streamlining of statutory consultation arrangements – i.e. how the local planning authority has to consult with other statutory bodies on relevant planning applications.