Old town homes plan gets the thumbs-up

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for 80 homes in Hemel Hempstead’s old town have been given the go-ahead.

The development in Cherry Bounce was agreed by a full meeting of Dacorum Borough Council as part of plans for 11,300 homes across the borough up to 2031.

The move comes despite the creation of an action group to protect the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the town.

Councillor Keith White, part of the Labour group, attacked the Conservative administration’s Core Strategy housing blueprint.

He told the meeting: “Cherry Bounce is in the Green Belt. We are failing to set out a plan that will move us towards housing need. It has not set out a strategy for growth, a strategy for jobs.

“I would like to congratulate the council on coming up with a strategy that fails to plan for the future and pleases no-one.”

Councillor Graham Adshead, who represents the old town as a Tory, said he supported the administration’s preference for the higher of two housing level options.

“I am fully opposed to development in that area,” he said. “It’s with reluctance that I will have to support option two.”

The plans include 300 homes at Marchmont Farm and an estate of up to 900 homes to the west of Hemel Hempstead on an undecided site between Chaulden and Gadebridge.

Up to 60 homes are planned for land off Chesham Road in Bovingdon near The Mount prison, another 60 off Shootersway in Berkhamsted and 150 off Icknield Way in Tring.

Council leader Andrew Williams said: “There is a huge demand for housing. We have to produce a plan that’s robust and won’t be found unsound.

“I believe the figures provided here are the minimum we need to provide to satisfy demand.”