Last week I visited North Herts district council offices in Letchworth to make a presentation to the Planning Inspector, regarding the proposal from Gladmans, the land “promoters”, to put 99 houses in the village of Pirton, just off Holwell Road. North Herts Council have opposed it. With the strong support of Pirton parish council and the wider community (many of whom were sitting with me), I opposed it. Let me explain why.
The planning system is meant to be centred on community involvement. In order to help communities shape the development in their areas, the government recently passed legislation (the Neighbourhood Planning Act) to enable Neighbourhood Plans. Pirton were one of the first communities in the country to pass a Neighbourhood Plan, via local referendum, which means that communities’ wishes on the nature of local development must be adhered to – and that has force in law. Pirton is not a NIMBY community – they want their wishes respected on the type and location of houses in their parish. I support them, and now we have Government legislation which does too.
Planning policy is clear that where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted. This proposal conflicts with Pirton’s plan, and therefore should be rejected.
We will have to build more houses in our beautiful rural areas. We can do this and yet preserve our beautiful villages at the same time – but we can only do it if we plan our development properly. Pirton is trying to do that. I am completely in support of them.