Little Munden Neighbourhood Plan
In these days of lockdown and restrictions on our lives our wonderful green and open spaces are becoming increasingly treasured by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and even by those housebound but with views of the countryside. There have been several articles to that effect in recent parish newsletters but that quiet idyll is coming under severe threat from the Government proposals to revise the planning framework when a consultation white paper was issued last year.
To give an indication of the size of the issue, 666 new homes on average were built each year in East Herts (based on the last three years). Under the current East Herts Local Plan that number will rise to 839 each year but under the latest government plans, it will increase to more than 1,100 every year. Where this latest increase in housing will be built has yet to be determined but it is important that residents of the Mundens and Sacombe are prepared to argue with sound reasoning what an acceptable number to be built in our Quiet Valley might be and to engage robustly with EHDC in the consultation on their local Plan. Remember, once we lose our open spaces they are gone forever and we need only to look at the A602 improvements to appreciate how quickly and devastatingly that can happen.
In the light of the numerous responses to the consultation, the government is now reconsidering and plans to re-issue new proposals in the autumn of this year. Those proposals will probably necessitate a change to the East Herts Local Plan and so work on a Little Munden Neighbourhood Plan, if that is what residents wish, cannot commence in earnest until more detail is known which will be more than 12 months away. In the meantime, the Parish Council plans to take a more active interest in the planning system and rules so it will be better placed to protect residents’ interests in the future. To that end the Council would be interested in hearing from anyone who feels they could contribute to that process, whilst experts would be most welcome, there is also a need for desk based research into sustainability, wildlife and heritage assets amongst others. Please contact the Parish Clerk, Geraldine Ward