Dacorum Borough Council’s housing plans are “too much” – according to Dacorum Borough Council.
Footage has emerged of James Doe, now the council’s assistant director for planning, development and regeneration, pooh-poohing previous plans as being too big.
But five years later the authority is currently consulting on an even bigger scheme, which could see 25,300 new homes being built in the borough by 2036.
Mr Doe was speaking in 2012, specifically about proposals to build 1,180 new homes in Berkhamsted over 25 years. The council’s own plans are to now build a minimum of 1,500 new homes in the town over the same timespan, and possibly up to 2,850.
Antony Harbidge, chairman of Berkhamsted Residents’ Action Group (BRAG), said: “It’s difficult to understand the council’s logic.
“Nothing has changed in terms of infrastructure since 2012. We haven’t been given a new school or a new hospital since then.
“And we’ve actually built plenty of new homes over the last 10 years – 612 new homes have been completed.”
“Yet it looks like the council have done a 180-degree turn.”
The interview with Mr Doe appeared on Dee TV in 2011, an online community page aimed at Dacorum.
In it Mr Doe says: “Dacorum Borough Council is not supporting this proposal.
“It thinks that a development of this size is too much for the town and not necessarily in the right place either.”
This week Mr Doe said to the Gazette: “We are still in the consultation stage for the new local plan and Dacorum Borough Council has not selected any sites for development at this stage. We are looking at how and where we can accommodate the pressure for new housing in the borough to meet the need that is now much greater than in 2012.
“When we put together the previous local plan the number of homes we were required to build was much lower. Now, the assessment of housing need is much higher and current government policy is to significantly boost the delivery of new housing to meet existing shortages.
“The new local plan sets out three options for growth based on the council’s assessment of housing need along with two possible figures based on emerging government policy. At this stage we want to hear from the community before we prepare a draft plan, with selected sites, which will be decided on by elected councillors, and go back to the public for further consultation next year.”
The council’s public consultation closes at midnight tonight (December 13). To take part visit https://dacorum-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/planning/lp/io/io