Agenda and minutes

Special, Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel - Thursday 15th December 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Clair Francis 


No. Item



To note any substitution of Panel Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Additional documents:


The following substitutions of Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:


Councillor Samuel Kasumu for Councillor Stephen Boulton

Councillor Paul Zukowskyj for Councillor Russ Platt

Councillor Darrell Panter for Councillor Jane Quinton




Additional documents:


Apologies of absence were received from Councillors S. Boulton, R. Platt and J. Quinton.





To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2022 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2022 were approved as a correct record.




To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this agenda.


Additional documents:


Councillors S. Thusu and P. Zukowskyj declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the agenda as appropriate by virtue of being Members of Hertfordshire County Council.




Report of the Assistant Director (Planning).

Additional documents:


Report of the Assistant Director (Planning) on the inspector’s letter and proposed modifications to the plan.


The Planning Policy and Implementation Manager provided a presentation detailing the history of the examination of the new Local Plan and the key considerations since the meeting of Council in July. This included a summary of the letters received from the Inspector and the proposed consultation on changes to the planning system which were released by the Secretary of State the previous week.


The following points were raised and discussed:


  • The Chairman referred to the Secretary of State's comments and the proposed legislation. He noted that officers cannot comment on the political side of things. The UK’s population is still growing, and it is continuing to grow at a fast pace. There is a deficit relative to the early nineties of about 2.4 million in the national housing supply. If the country does not build housing, this will cause economic problems, some of which we are seeing today. This is creating a significant pressure to increase building, which is why in 2019 all three parties came up with the same 300,000 figure. Contrary political pressure is of course the local pressure to reduce building to fight individual sites, which are often very unpopular in the localities, and this is coming from backbenchers who want the national numbers to stay where they are, but the local numbers to come down, which is not a very sustainable position. In the short term, not building houses in a certain site or certain area may go down well with the public, but in the long run, if you don't build houses nationally, then you end up with the economic problems we are currently experiencing. The Chair said he would be quite sceptical that the planning reforms are going to square the circle in a very short period of time. The technical element of the legislation is unlikely to do it just because of the sheer amount of housing that is required to plug this deficit. The legislative part of it is unlikely to come about just because of how long legislation takes to pass, and because this was not in the manifesto the House of Lords could just bat it away. It is within their gift to do that and if they do that, the House of Commons can technically force it, but only a year after this parliamentary session, so at its earliest sometime in 2024. So, for those reasons the Chairman said we need to hedge on the Secretary of State's comments.


  • Members noted the Inspector’s views on high harm. Members noted that we do not have the ability to ask for a second opinion or another inspector, but there is no certainty another inspector would take a different view. There was a worry that moving forward, particularly if there are new number targets, that all the sites excluded previously will come back. It was noted that members would be able to debate this in much  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.