Our Planning Committee
Our Planning Committee meets every few weeks to consider planning applications in Northchurch. We send our comments to Dacorum Borough Council www.dacorum.gov.uk/home/planning-development who decide whether or not to approve applications. If you would like to attend our meetings and express your views (there is a 3-minute speaking limit), please contact our clerk.
Although we can make comments, we have no power to make decisions. Most planning decisions are made by case officers employed by the Borough Council. Larger or more complex applications may be decided by elected Borough Councillors at the Council’s Development Management Committee. Our comments and the decisions made by the Borough Council must be based on the National Planning PolicyFramework, Government guidance, and the Borough's Local Plan which they are currently reviewing.
You can see a map of planning applications below. You can also search for a planning application and make your own comment.
More stringent rules apply in our two Conservation Areas: Northchurch and Dudswell.
Northchurch Conservation Area extends from the eastern end of The Meads to the shops, north to the river and south level with Seymour Road and includes the houses fronting the High Street and New Road.
Dudswell Conservation Area includes part of Dudswell Lane near the lock.
Green Belt and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CAONB)
Much of Northchurch is Green Belt or Chilterns AONB. The two paragraphs below from the the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 highlight the constant conflict between a desire to provide housing and a desire to protect the Green Belt.
59. To support the Government’s objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes, it is important that a sufficient amount and variety of land can come forward where it is needed, that the needs of groups with specific housing requirements are addressed and that land with permission is developed without unnecessary delay.
133. The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.
Several organisations are very effective in protecting the Green Belt in Northchurch:
- The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Campaign to Protect Rural England (Herts)
- The Open Space Society
The Chiltern Building Design Guide is a very useful reference for applicants and designers, giving very clear and concise help as to what is acceptable.
Dacorum Borough Council - Local Plan
To balance these conflicting needs, Dacorum Borough Council has spent years meticulously reviewing the Green Belt assessing the local environment and consulting local people. However, a new algorithm adopted by the government has led to much higher housing targets for rural districts like Dacorum.
To meet these new targets, Dacorum Borough Council has abandoned its previous findings and produced a draft new Local Plan with major changes for Northchurch.
The two proposed developments in Northchurch will cause irreversible harm to our Green Belt and the setting of Northchurch:
- 60 houses at Lock Field in New Road above the canal on the opposite side of St Mary's School
- 200 houses and a Secondary School on the fields between Durrants Lane and Darrs Lane
The Borough Council is required by law to consult local people about their plans. The consultation starts on 28 November 2020 and lasts for 10 weeks. If you want to protect the Green Belt and preserve the character of Northchurch, you can let them know your views. Northchurch Parish Council will be opposing these developments.