The Parish Council have had a meeting with a property developer called Stonebond Properties Ltd who are hoping to build 18 houses on the field between Martlets and Levenage Lane. The company know that this is a significant development for a village the size of Widford and they want to be as open as possible with the residents and the Parish Council. Stonebond are proposing a good mix of housing from one bedroom flats to a 5 bedroom house.
They recognize that this development would be outside of the village boundary and as Widford is a Group 2 village planning permission should not be granted. However, as they pointed out, East Herts District Council have failed to secure the 5 year housing supply that is required by their own 2007 Regional Plan and, as a result, their current planning policies are not valid in all situations. The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) is very clear that where Local Plans are out of date in terms of housing supply, there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
The Parish Council are trying to arrange a meeting with East Herts District Council to better understand the situation. The development is at an early stage and no formal application has yet been made. Stonebond have offered to attend a village or Parish Council meeting to answer any questions.
Martlets Briefing Note
The failure East Herts District Council to secure a 5 year supply of land for housing has clearly rendered many of the policies in the 2007 Plan invalid and the village boundary and conservation area are, for the moment, meaningless. This has been confirmed by the planning approval which has recently been granted to the application for development of the land to the West of Wilmoor.