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Matt Cowley's response

Q1: Do you oppose L&G’s plan and will you do all you can to stop it happening?

A: Yes, I have significant concerns about this proposal and intend to use the four years of experience gained as a member of the Town Council’s Planning Committee (including the past two years as Chair) to represent residents’ views to the best of my ability if elected.

Earlier this month I met with the developer alongside colleagues from the Town Council to hear directly from them more details about what they have planned and to ask them questions about various aspects of the project. My particular focus is around local amenities (education, GP places, etc), transport (both driving and cycling), housing types, affordability, green spaces etc. I felt that we haven’t had satisfactory answers on the transport plans yet, which are obviously a major part of this application, so I requested a further briefing on those which will happen later this week.

Whilst not having a Local Plan makes things harder in terms of the options available to us to object to this application, my intention is to build the strongest possible case on behalf of residents that we can. Q2: Will you oppose any future attempt to expand Harpenden by building on Green Belt, eg through Local Plan housing targets?

A: I think it is important to ensure that any major development proposal has residents’ support and I would certainly do anything I could to support residents and represent their views on inappropriate development in the greenbelt. This is why one of my main goals if elected is to push for the swift adoption of a new Local Plan, which would protect our greenbelt from speculative development and ensure that any development that takes place in our District brings with it appropriate infrastructure and protects the character of our area. I have a strong record in my time as Chair of the Planning Committee in standing up for residents’ interests on planning applications. 3) Q (For Town councillors only): Will 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.

A: I fully support holding a public meeting of the Town Council. 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?

With planning rules being what they are it is important not to pre-determine the decision which Council will take, but I fully support that decision being strongly conveyed to the District Council for their consideration once taken.


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