Councils must ‘work together’ after failed legal challenge over Hemel Hempstead housing plans

An artist's impression of the East Hemel development
An artist's impression of the East Hemel development

Dacorum Borough Council can finally expect more co-operation from a neighbouring council on house-building - after a judge ordered them to work together.

Planning inspector David Hogger had concluded that St Albans District Council (SADC) had failed to co-operate with neighbouring councils - including Dacorum - when drawing up its Strategic Local Plan (SLP) for housing.

St Albans appealed the ruling at the High Court, but it has recently been upheld by Judge Sir Ross Cranston.

It means St Albans will have to work more closely with Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) on developments such as East Hemel, which forms part of the St Albans SLP but is effectively an extension of Hemel Hempstead.

The 2,500-home scheme would meet the housing needs of St Albans, but will leave Dacorum “footing the bill”, according to Hemel MP Mike Penning.

Mr Penning has written to Secretary of State Sajid Javid, St Albans District Council, and land owners The Crown Estate, to call on them to wor sensibly on the development, particularly the number of affordable homes within it.

He said: “All the services and infrastructure will be Hemel based. It is common sense – and of course the right thing to do – to share allocations between the two.”

Mark Gaynor, the corporate director for housing and regeneration at DBC, said: “We agree that the proposed development east of Hemel Hempstead, though within St Albans, will be very much part of Hemel Hempstead and that we need to be involved in future developments to ensure the needs of residents are met.

“We were not involved in the legal proceedings between St Albans District Council and the Secretary of State.

“However, following the judge’s decision we are starting to work more closely with St Albans on the future development of this site.”