Green Belt

Part of Fields End Farm, west of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Green Balance played a key role in saving Green Belt land at Fields End Farm on the west side of Hemel Hempstead from housing development.

There has been a long history of local authorities attempting to allocate housing to this area despite it being identified as Green Belt: Hertfordshire County Council in 1986-88 and 1996-98, and Dacorum Borough Council in 1981-84, 1998-2000 and 2006-present.

Back in 1982 a Local Plan Inspector had concluded “I share the concern of objectors about changes to the Green Belt status of the site… After being involved in the preparation of the Plan the local community are entitled to believe in the permanence of Green Belt land.”

CPRE – The Hertfordshire Society asked Green Balance to appear at the Local Plan Inquiry in 2000 into the Borough’s Plan at that time. This focused on a local campaign to save as much as possible of Dacorum’s Green Belt from housing development, even though Hemel Hempstead had been identified in the Hertfordshire Structure Plan as a preferred location for housing expansion. We acted both as expert witness and advocate.

The Inspector agreed with the evidence of Green Balance that releasing land at Fields End Farm would seriously undermine the purposes of the Green Belt. Despite considerable pressure for housing on the site, the Inspector urged the Council to “seriously consider deleting the proposal”. He also felt that the site had a prominent position in the landscape and was not a suitable location due to poor accessibility to local facilities and traffic problems generated away from the site. The District Council did not proceed with the allocation on that occasion. The policy change the client had sought here was secured.

Further information on the planning history of Fields End Farm is given in Richard Bate's presentation to the Reigate Society AGM in 2013 on Green Belt and Planning for the Future.

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