Q1. Do you oppose L&G’s plan and will you do all you can to stop it happening?
A: I have thought about this carefully. Stop L&G makes it's case regarding the scale of the proposed L&G development and the impact on our community and environment very well. The arguments regarding the impact on infrastructure and traffic are well-made and convincing.
However, I also believe strongly that our country, including our local community, is in the midst of a deep and severe housing crisis. People of all ages, but particularly young people and young families, are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing to rent or buy. I do not feel comfortable with a situation where the only people who can afford to buy their own homes are those lucky enough to be born into wealthy families. Our country must build more homes, and Hertfordshire should take its fair share of new homes too.
On balance I oppose L&G's plan on the basis of scale: 550 houses on this site are simply too much. However, I do not think the right answer is necessarily 0 houses, and this is why we need a well-thought-through local plan, developed on the basis of the latest data regarding population forecasts, traffic, education and infrastructure needs. This plan should be subject to extensive local consultation, both by local residents and those currently on waiting lists for local authority housing.
Q2. Will you oppose any future attempt to expand Harpenden by building on Green Belt, eg through Local Plan housing targets?
I do not agree with this.
Not all "Green Belt" land consists of virgin countryside or rolling pastures. We should set a very high bar for development on Green Belt land, with the balance tilted in favour of no development. However, I do not support the statement that every square centimetre of Green Belt land can never be used for housing development. This is too much.
Q3. (For Town councillors only) Do you commit to holding a large-scale public meeting immediately after the election (eg May 12th) at which local residents can share their concerns about L&G’s planning application?
I support this, on the condition that those currently on St Albans District Council waiting lists for social housing are also invited to attend and participate.
Q4. (For Town councillors only) Do you commit to urgently sending a strong letter of objection from the Town Council to St Albans District Council about L&G’s planning application in time for this to be considered as part of the public consultation?
I support this, consistent with my above comments.