A council under pressure to allow homes to be built on the green belt to meet Government housing targets is to draw up its own planning document based on the number of homes it believes are needed locally.

Three Rivers District Councillors unanimously agreed to come up with an “alternative” local plan based on more “up-to-date” figures.

The council, which is hopeful the Government will “abolish” its "top-down Whitehall- inspired Stalinist housing targets", says the plan would be alongside any local plan that meets Government requirements.

Three Rivers is being asked to find space for 12,700 homes by 2036 but these are projections based on figures from 2014. This is in a district which is 76% green belt.

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Watford Observer:

A motion put forward by senior Liberal Democrat leaders at a council meeting on October 18 that suggests the council will not just roll over to Government targets was fully supported.

Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who put the motion forward, said: "I am delighted the council has agreed this approach and councillors support our continued opposition to unduly high targets and our decision to delay the Local Plan whilst we argue for lower housing numbers.

"I am determined that we will have a Local Plan that allows for some new development, fully supporting local needs and providing the homes and infrastructure that we need in the areas we need it. It is great that the council is united on this."

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Watford Observer: A motion was supported by members of the Lib Dems, Tories, and Labour at Three Rivers District CouncilA motion was supported by members of the Lib Dems, Tories, and Labour at Three Rivers District Council (Image: Newsquest)

The Conservatives supported the motion but disputed a claim by Cllr Giles-Medhurst that they had performed a ‘U-turn’, having previously criticised the Lib Dems local plan process.

Tory leader Ciaran Reed said: ‘There has been no ‘U turn’. We have always been opposed to using the standard methodology for the Three Rivers Local Plan as the figures are too high.

“At no point in the motion did it celebrate the fact that Three Rivers has delayed its local plan. We still think that the delay was the wrong decision and we argued a Local Plan should be produced with a local target as they have agreed now.

“Instead, the delay means the council is not in a position to end this process positively and have once again left our green belt at risk.”

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