A Local Plan is a document that sets out how development including housing, business, construction and infrastructure (such as roads and leisure and well being facilities) can best benefit the area the council is responsible for. St Albans has the (in)famous reputation of having one of the oldest Local Plans in England. Unsurprisingly, the document does not mention sustainability, or the climate crisis, which has, for example, significantly hampered the ability of the planning department to encourage buildings with sustainability at their heart. The draft of a new Local Plan is now open for public consultation and you can have your say until 5pm on 25th September. Find out how to get involved and a guide to responding below…
What’s it about?
St Albans Council have drafted a new Local Plan, which sets out how life across our district might develop – from climate, business and transport to homes and open spaces, and many more things besides. The plan will touch almost every aspect of everyday life in St Albans District, including the city, Harpenden and the villages.
That sounds a bit boring
What’s that? A planning policy document is dull? Community infrastructure and economic impacts? Dry and not relevant to you?
But it is about your home, your street, your route to work, your park, your job opportunities …
- Should you or your neighbour be free to put cladding on your outside walls to make your homes more energy efficient?
- Should solar panels be allowed on listed buildings? Or their installation be made a condition of new building approvals?
- Should we try and design away the problems caused by flooded roads?
- Should spaces be put aside for play, nature, food growing, shops, schools or homes…?
- Which sites are suitable for new development?
This is your chance to have your say on the way the district is shaped over the next 18 years. There is a simple survey to complete, or you can provide a full questionnaire response if you’d like to.
Once the consultation has closed, the feedback will be used to inform a revised version of the plan.
Have your say! Take the brief survey:
For example, we’re going to be selecting:
- “most important” against Tackling Climate Change from amongst the priorities in Question 1, and
- “extremely important” or “very important” against all the thematic ways of addressing climate change set out in Question 2
Have your say! Provide a full response:
If you’d like to provide more detail to your thinking, you’ll need to register with the site, read the consultation documents, and fill in all or some of a long questionnaire.
Full disclosure: the draft Local Plan alone is 150 pages long, and there are various supporting papers too. We’ve highlighted the particular chapters that are relevant to the sustainability and climate change subjects:
- Chapter 1 – A Spatial Strategy for St Albans City and District.
- Chapter 2 – Climate Emergency
- Chapter 3 – Sustainable Use of Land and Green Belt
- Chapter 4 – Housing
- Chapter 5 – Economy and Employment
- Chapter 6 – City, Town and Village Centres and Retail
- Chapter 7 – Community Infrastructure
- Chapter 8 – Transport
- Chapter 9 – Utilities Infrastructure
- Chapter 10 – Natural Environment and Biodiversity
- Chapter 11 – Historic Environment
- Chapter 12 – High Quality Design
- Chapter 13 – Public Health and Wellbeing
- Chapter 14 – Implementation
- Appendix 1 – Site Allocations
- Appendices 2 to 5
- General Comments on the Local Plan
- Evidence Base and Supporting Documents
When you get to the long questionnaire, it has open text boxes under the following headings, “Please write your comments for Chapter X here (please refer to the relevant section, policy, paragraph, table or map):”
There is a facility to upload documents, and bear in mind that answers will be made public.
Sustainable St Albans will be providing a comprehensive response so don’t be put off by this part of the consultation: many answers to the short survey will demonstrate our community’s strength of feeling, too.
Work with us?
Sustainable St Albans has formed a volunteer group specifically to develop a response to, at least, chapters 1 (A Spatial Strategy for St Albans City & District), 2 (Climate Emergency), 8 (Transport) and 10 (Natural Environment & Biodiversity). If you’re interested in helping Sustainable St Albans draft these responses, please get in touch.
Let’s do it!
Why don’t you grab a cup of tea, watch the video and complete the short survey?
Forward it to your friends to let them know that their thoughts matter too.
The deadline is 5pm 25th September.