'Housing plans need strategic not ad hoc approach', says Harpenden’s new MP
Addressing an audience of over 100 of his constituents at a packed meeting of the Harpenden Society, the town’s new MP Bim Afolami made a plea for a more strategic approach to planning challenges, rather than the ad hoc process which often resulted from local authority differences. He cited as an example St Albans District Council’s failure to consult with Dacorum in formulating its Strategic Local Plan, suggesting that in shaping the future of Harpenden there should be more collaboration between Hertfordshire County Council, SADC and the Town Council.
That was needed most notably, he said, if the question of supporting infrastructure - roads, schools and even medical services - was to be given due priority when major planning applications for new housing were submitted by developers.
It had to be recognised, said Mr Afolami, that more housing in and around Harpenden was needed. But if there was to be any chance of young people growing up in the town being able to afford a new home without moving away, the housing mix had to include 2/3-bedroom flats and houses - with supporting infrastucture. If the matter was not addressed then the prospect of a town which was more than just a ‘dormitory’, somewhere where people could live and work, with a feeling of real community, would be in jeopardy.