Green Belt landslide: core strategy adopted at full meeting of Dacorum Borough Council

The core strategy for development in Dacorum which features controversial plans to build on Green Belt land was approved in a landslide vote at Hemel Hempstead’s Civic Centre on Wednesday.

Just four councillors voted against the strategy – which includes building 900 homes on the LA3 plot between Chaulden and Pouchen End Lane – at a full meeting of Dacorum Borough Council.

The West Hemel Action Group.

The West Hemel Action Group.

The strategy was adopted by 36 votes to four with mayor Penny Hearn abstaining.

The West Hemel Action Group, made up of residents opposed to the LA3 proposal, demonstrated outside the meeting and filled the public gallery during the vote. The group also submitted a petition containing 1,800 signatures opposing the strategy to the full council.

While councillors including Labour representative for Gadebridge Maureen Flint spoke out against the plans, portfolio holder for housing Margaret Griffiths said: “We can’t play around with the core strategy, we either accept it or refuse it.

“I urge members of the council to support it so we remain in control of our own borough. We have planned carefully for future growth, and we have released Green Belt land, but reluctantly.”

Action group chairman Lee Royal said after the verdict: “It was disappointing. Despite a number of councillors sharing their personal views around the protection of local countryside, they are not prepared to stand by those views when it comes to a vote.

“We would like to thank those West Hemel councillors that did vote against. We have been heartened by the many residents who turned out to attend the meeting and sign our petition. Both show the strength of public feeling in opposition to the LA3 development.”