In late July, Batchworth Community Council hosted a public forum on Zoom, to discuss the proposals outlined in the district council’s Local Plan, most notably concerning the areas earmarked as potential development sites for new homes. As head of Planning Policy at the district council [TRDC], Councillor Matthew Bedford fielded questions from the 63 attendees, who included Batchworth residents, the local MP, Gagan Mohindra and several county, district and Batchworth Councillors.
Cllr Bedford clarified that the TRDC Local Plan was not a licence to build, but a decision on the principle of any building going ahead on a site. He outlined the following points:
- Over the 20 year period to 2038, TRDC is required to accommodate 12,500 new homes in Three Rivers; of these, 600 have already been built in the past 2 years. Over the next 20 years, this would represent an increase of approximately 20% in the number of homes in Three Rivers.
- There was currently only existing space for 1,500 homes, and therefore a further 9,000 would need to be built on green belt land.
- There was only space for 7,500 homes on green belt land and so a call for sites was being issued for the remaining 1,500 dwellings.
- A public enquiry will be held in the second half of 2022, where residents and landowners can make their case.
- An inspector makes the final decisions.
Topics of concern ranged from increased traffic congestion and sewerage capacity to the types of dwellings to be proposed. Batchworth is compiling a list of the comments and questions received, and is submitting them to TRDC as part of their consultation process.
Members of the public are very welcome to attend the Council’s Full Council, Planning and Finance Committee Meetings. Dates and agendas are on the Council’s website, with public participation sessions of 3 minutes per resident.