On Thursday, May 26 I attended a Three Rivers council planning meeting. Warner Bros’ planning application 22/0491/FUL will change temporary use of green fields (possibly owned by Herts County Council) to permanent use and also cause extensive building works including a multi-storey car park.

This contradicts and negates promises made - protect green belt, nature site, recreation areas, new buildings visually unobtrusive - made to local residents in the original 1995 Leavesden Studio Plan that the council promoted and approved.

After the meeting, where speakers were allowed three minutes to put their case; one speaker ‘For’ and one ‘Against’ I noticed that Warner Bros’ speaker ‘For’ was invited to meet and talk separately to the councillors.

Later, I was able to talk to him as we left the building.

My intention was to ask what arguments he had that would ‘trump’ the need for green spaces/food security and biodiversity.

He claimed that WB brought:

1) great financial benefit to the area,

2) more employment and

3) training opportunities.

I would point out that:

1) Little financial benefit accrues to the local area because, under government rules, the majority of commercial rates paid to local councils is ‘clawed back’ to government coffers. Council Tax should be lower, especially for those residents living near WB Studios, instead they get all the disadvantages like more road traffic/congestion together with air, light and noise pollution, less biodiversity and the probable reduction in the value of their property;

2) More employment in the entertainment industry comes at a time when there are desperate shortages of workers in essential services; and

3) Training opportunities are needed for nurses, doctors, midwives, dentists, food production and a host of other essential services not, at this time, in ’entertainment’.

The LibDem Council has adopted a ‘Climate Emergency’ policy so it must consider the implications of the loss of yet more ‘green space’ and agricultural land.

Worldwide, millions of people are starving. In the UK, continually increasing food prices cause hunger so our politicians must strive to preserve as much ‘green space’, with the potential to grow food, as possible.

The planning committee must also take into account the vast amounts of CO2 that will be emitted during construction and has been emitted during production of the materials.

Any reasonable person will agree that it would be hypocritical of the planning committee to approve the application 22/0491/FUL.

David Bennett

College Road, Abbots Langley