The number of new homes being built every year could almost double, under new plans discussed by council chiefs last night.
Dacorum Borough Council was expected to back a scheme which would increase the number of new homes built each year from 430 to 760.
The new plan would cover the period 2021-2036.
And it would mean thousands of homes being built on greenbelt land, including:
* 3,000 in north Hemel Hempstead;
* 450 on land north of Gadebridge;
* 1,000 on land south of Berkhamsted;
* 125 in Ivy House Lane, Berkhamsted;
* 50 in Bank Mill Lane, Berkhamsted;
* 1,000 on land east of Tring;
* 130 in Grange Farm, Bovingdon;
* 230 to the rear of Green Lane, Bovingdon;
* 80 in Rectory Lane, Kings Langley;
* 300 in Broadfield and Wayside Farm, Kings Langley;
* 160 on land south of Markyate.
The Gazette has summarised these findings for each site elsewhere on our website.
Councillors have to weigh up the scheme under 28 ‘issues’, which range from protecting the natural environment and heritage, to climate change and creating new jobs.
The paper warns of several pre-existing problems.
It says: “All the key roads in south-west Hertfordshire (are) under pressure from heavy loads of traffic, and associated congestion, which has adverse affects on air quality, quality of life and the local economy.
“Bus services are not adequately linked between Hemel Hempstead rail station, Maylands and Hemel Hempstead town centre.”
However, the council has also rejected several other alternative proposals.
Officers believe that sticking to the current level of 430 new homes a year would fall “significantly short of the assessed local housing need for the area”.
Only building in urban areas would also fail to provide enough new homes – an estimated 470 a year.
A third option would be to build “significantly above assessed local housing need” – 900 homes per year – but officers say that this would take up too much greenbelt land.
In addition, the council has ruled out other plans for building the new homes.
The idea of one large settlement has been rejected as officers “do not consider that there are any suitable sites in sustainable locations”.
Rural areas are not considered to be sustainable for growth, while increasing the size of villages would mean “substantial changes” to their character.
And while Dacorum could try to have its share of housebuilding done by another authority, officers believe that the only realistic option is St Albans which would oppose this.
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