No Council plans to build in areas of outstanding natural beauty

Press ReleaseUpdated: 2 June 2023Planning

There are no plans to allocate any land for development in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – that’s the message from the Leader of Three Rivers District Council.

Council Leader Cllr Sarah Nelmes has responded to a leaflet from Gagan Mohindra, the MP for South West Hertfordshire, that said the Council had plans to build over 1,000 new dwellings in the AONB.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes said: “Any sites that were promoted by landowners and developers for the AONB for the Local Plan were rejected by this Council including two recent planning applications in March for the Green Street site in Chorleywood. We have never included any AONB sites in our Regulation 18 Local Plan consultations.

“Our record shows that planning applications for major development within the AONB have been refused by the council. We are working hard to deliver a Local Plan that balances the need to deliver growth helping us secure needed infrastructure such as schools and affordable homes whilst trying to minimise impact on our valuable green belt and environment. Unfortunately, on occasions our refusals of planning permissions have been overruled by the governments planning inspector.

“I have written to the MP demanding he withdraw the misleading and inaccurate leaflet and apologise for the confusion and upset he has now caused residents with these misleading claims.

“Although there are not yet any changes to national planning policy following the government’s consultation on planning reform, it was agreed at a Full Council meeting in December that the council will consult on a version of the Local Plan with lower housing numbers than set by the government’s standard method for calculating housing need. We remain committed to retaining our Green Belt.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Three Rivers District Council Leader, Cllr Sarah Nelmes