Consultation for Revised Draft Local Plan gives you the chance to shape Dacorum’s future

Dacorum Borough Council needs you to have your say on the future of your borough – you can help to decide the plan and direction for Dacorum for more than the next decade.

A consultation opened on Monday 30 October,giving you the opportunity to comment on the revised draft Local Plan for six weeks. Your comments will play a big part in determining how Dacorum looks until 2040.

If you are a resident of Dacorum, have a business based in the borough, or perhaps are a regular visitor to one of its towns and villages, the Council wants to hear from you so please give your views in the consultation on the Revised Strategy for Growth which will strongly influence the creation of the new Dacorum Local Plan 2024-2040.

The borough is already a great place to live and raise a family, and a proven perfect location for national and international business. This consultation is about you, and about making sure that Dacorum continues to become an even better place to live and grow up, as well as thriving as a hub for business and industry.

The consultation is taking place online through the Council’s new interactive engagement platform, Let’s Talk Dacorum, in person at local events, and by post, ending at 11.59pm on Monday 11December 2023.

This is the Council’s latest consultation as it develops and prepares the new draft Dacorum Local Plan, and so far…

  • An extensive consultation was held in 2017, and subsequently a detailed evidence-gathering process was carried out;
  • The Council’s Draft Local Plan, the Emerging Strategy for Growth, was presented for a consultation in 2020 – and all of your responses considered.

The Local Plan will lay out the strategy for delivering new homes, jobs and investment across the borough; it will plan for important infrastructure such as schools, transport and health facilities; and will also set the Council’s approach to protecting and providing parks and green spaces, and the way in which it responds to the challenges of climate change. It will also provide the policies to be considered when decisions are made on planning applications.

The consultation is a vital and fundamental next stepin determining the amount and location of new development in Dacorum over the next 16 years within our new Local Plan, which plays a pivotal role in setting out the approach to:

  • Identifying where and when development should take place; 
  • Delivering a step change in housing growth; 
  • Supporting the local economy, employment and retail;
  • Constantly adapting to, and mitigating the effects of a changing climate;
  • Promoting high quality design of development;
  • Conserving and enhancing the historic and natural environment; and 
  • Enabling the delivery of critical infrastructure.

Once the consultation period has ended in December, the Council will closely consider all of your feedback and then prepare a summary Consultation Report for spring 2024 before a pre-submission version of the Local Plan is published in October 2024, in time for formal submission by mid-2025.

Cllr Sheron Wilkie, Dacorum Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Place, said:

“It is so important that as many of our residents and businesses as possible have their say as part of this consultation, as their views will help to shape plans for the borough for many years to come. Dacorum is a wonderful place to live – a fantastic area for families to call home and visit – with incredibly diverse towns and villages, and it is an important location for business.

“The feedback we receive from this consultation is vital to ensure that Dacorum can keep flourishing, and that the right decisions on housing and infrastructure will be made, while we make absolutely sure that our natural environment is protected and, of course, that sustainability and the challenges of climate change are top priorities.”

Your feedback in previous consultations has already led to changes in the Revised Strategy for Growth. Here’s how…

You said: The housing target should be lower.

So the Council has consulted on a proposed reduction to the overall housing target, from the Government target of 1,017 to around 900 new homes a year.

You said: The proposed level of homes across the borough was disproportionate for our smaller towns and villages.

So the Council has reduced the number of homes proposed at Berkhamsted, Tring, and in villages, and focused on transforming Dacorum’s largest and most sustainable town, Hemel Hempstead, by delivering new growth and infrastructure via the Hemel Garden Communities programme.

You said: The Council needs to maximise housing on brownfield sites.

So the Council has set out new opportunities to regenerate Hemel Hempstead’s town centre and other urban areas.

You said: We need to reduce the amount of Green Belt being lost for development.

So the Council is proposing the removal of 12 sites previously shown for housing in the Green Belt.