The Regulation 18 public consultation is important.
This is your opportunity to voice your views. Here are some points that you might like to consider:
While it is hoped that planners and developers intend to put in sufficient infrastructure for new builds, there is concern regarding the lack of infrastructure for existing residents (what is known as infrastructure deficit). Examples are hospital provision, police and enforcement, roads, parking and public transport.
The fact that Hemel Hempstead's housing quota has been reduced from 1100 dwellings per annum is fantastic but...
A (revised) build rate of 900 homes per annum across the borough, over the next 16 years, will yield 14,400 new dwellings by 2040. It would not be unreasonable to estimate a contribution to the local population of approximately 43,200 people. The population of Dacorum is currently about 155,000. The arithmetic therefore, suggests an increase of about 28% over these 16 years.
S E R I O U S L Y ?
Quite simply, we're being expected to accept the fact that Hemel Hempstead well, won't be Hemel Hempstead in 16 years! 🙁
If the quota was halved to 450 dwellings per annum, then the increase in population as a result of new homes over 16 years would be under 15% which is a figure that not only may be acceptable to most people but offers some hope that infrastructure and resources might be realistically enhanced to deliver.
Hemel Hempstead does not have adequate hospital provision. With West Herts Hospital Trust looking to invest considerable sums into Watford Hospital and with very little going to hospitals in St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead, residents are extremely concerned that hospital provisions in the area are already compromised.
West Herts Hospital Trust has had very little if no engagement with Dacorum residents. Why aren't Hemel Hempstead residents even given the opportunity to voice their concerns over such an important issue? The argument has gone on for decades but the bottom line is that it makes no sense what so ever, to offer Hemel Hempstead residents a hospital that's in the most impactable location imaginable.
A recent 'Health Campus' has been announced; a complex which is intended to be built on the old market square in the town centre. It's quite apparent that this simply won't be large enough to supply anything near the potential of a hospital and residents have very little confidence that, what seems to be a glorified GP surgery, will be of any benefit at all, to the wider population.
Residents see very little enforcement by police or Dacorum Borough Council. One example is the blatant consumption of cannabis. It’s difficult to go anywhere now-a-days, and not be subjected to the stench of weed. People have complained that it's even noticeable in the (apparent) privacy of their own gardens.
Boy racers can be heard most evenings, all over Grovehill and nothing seems to be happening to combat this recent phenomenon.
There have already been a couple of associated RTAs in Grovehill, one of which involved pedestrians.
Parking is of great concern, especially when it compromises safety. We have parking problems outside our schools, for example. We’ve had one incident which involved a parking warden being struck by a vehicle. Residents are fed up with the retroactive response of enforcement and don’t understand why action can’t be taken in advance. Surely that’s the definition of wisdom?
Verge abuse IS illegal but in many residential areas, people simply have very little option other than to park on grass. This is happening now, before another 15,000 homes get built! Will anything be done about this? We doubt so.
Whatever your opinion on e-scooters, the fact remains that they are illegal in Hertfordshire. As we all know, there are a lot of people who simply don't care... including enforcement bodies.
Roads are heaving. It’s now almost impossible to ‘pop’ to the local shops, for example without joining a que, let alone wanting to travel across town to one of the retail parks! Is this the new norm’? With another 40,000 odd people, things are going to be very congested.
Of course, more people means more pollution, more waste, more resources at a time when we should be thinking (and planning) to reduce the amount we consume and the amount we discard.
Whether we like it or, combustion engine powered vehicles are going to be around for a while. Reassurance from planners to this end would be greatly appreciated and surely a significant modal shift should be recorded prior to considering building several thousand new homes.
It is understood that water companies have a statutory obligation to deliver. Since the surrounding area is predominantly chalk based however, residents would like to know for example, how reservoirs will be built to potentially supply water for almost 15,000 new homes over the next 16 years.
So where will the water come from?
Water companies' customers remain shocked and bewildered that the dumping of sewage into our waterways, especially our ecologically fragile chalk streams, during periods of heavy rainfall, is still happening. If current demand can't be satisfied, then surely an additional 15,000 homes will only exacerbate the situation.
THIS IS UNACCEPTIBLE.
Plans for LA-1, 380 dwellings on Marchmont Fields, include provision for several gypsy/ traveller pitches. Residents would like to know what a gypsy / traveller pitch is and if there are existing sites (anywhere in country) which would help make things a little clearer.
Don’t let developers fob you off, promising that the homes that they’re building are for your children and your children’s children. Unless dwellings fall under the category of social housing and are therefore, the responsibility of the local authority, such promises are false and totally meaningless.
And lastly, we're told that more homes brings down property prices. Well, perhaps someone would care to show us evidence that this is the case and deny that it's just another selling angle by developers. Hemel Hempstead has one of the lowest unemployment figures in the country and where there's low unemployment, property prices are always high.
If any of the above resonates with you, please do participate in the public consultation.
SO HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS
The previous administration at Dacorum Borough Council, fought hard to get things to Regulation 18, including sticking by some controversial decisions at a time when COVID-19 was still an issue. The reason for that was because it allows you to have your say.
A local plan is necessary. With no local plan, developers can potentially come into areas, buy up land to build on and the local authority might not be able to refuse! That of course, could / would be disastrous.
Currently, Regulation 18 offers an opportunity for residents to voice their opinions.