Huge response from public to consultation over Three Rivers Local Plan

Updated: 5 October 2021

More than 20,000 individual comments have been received from the public in the recent consultation on the Three Rivers district Local Plan.

More than 20,000 individual comments have been received from the public in the recent consultation on the Three Rivers district Local Plan.

The Local Plan considers the need for new homes and jobs alongside associated infrastructure such as shops, community facilities, transport, open space, sport and recreation, health and education facilities as well as setting out the policies against which planning applications will be assessed for the next fifteen years.

All councils in England are legally required by the government to plan for future population growth and demand for housing. The number of homes required to be planned for over the plan period is set by the government using a standard calculation. This equates to 630 dwellings a year for Three Rivers.

The draft plan was opened for public consultation from 11 June 2021 to 23 July 2021, and extended until 20 August.

Following consideration of the public feedback, amendments will be made where appropriate and the council may seek to remove more sites or add new ones depending on what suggestions come forward.

The timetable for processing the huge number of responses is likely to take longer than originally expected. As a result the council is aiming for the next stage of consultation (known as Regulation 19) to happen in November / December 2022. This will provide another opportunity for local communities, businesses and other interested stakeholders to comment on content of the draft plan, before the plan is submitted to the government’s Planning Inspectorate for independent examination.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “We are committed to protecting as much of the green belt as we possibly can in Three Rivers, and I have written to the Housing Minister to insist that the target for house numbers be reduced and I will keep pushing for that to happen. We must ensure the balance is correct in building new homes and protecting our natural world. It is essential that we utilise all potential brownfield sites, but if we are to accommodate the national guidelines then more of the green belt will have to be allocated for housing.

“This process is not over and there will be further opportunities for residents to have their say. As we have already seen, this matter is of great importance and interest to local people and I welcome any input from the public.”

Cllr Matthew Bedford, Chairman of the Local Plan Sub-Committee and Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy, said: "The plan will affect every community in Three Rivers and it is pleasing that so many residents have contributed their views. We still have a long way to go in the process and there will be another round of public consultation next year before we submit our plan to the government. In the meantime we need the government to change the national rules that impose an unsustainable number of new homes on the district and I have put down a motion to the next council meeting to ask our MPs to support us in pushing the government to relax the rules."

For more information visit: