Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats have been critical of the Borough’s Local Plan for years. The Liberal Democrats consider the plan badly thought through, due to its adverse impacts on residents access to green belt and green spaces, while failing to deliver sufficient social housing or the schools, NHS services, road improvements or sports facilities that all residents need.
The latest letter from the Planning Inspector, received on August 8th, suggesting the council should consider withdrawing the plan and starting again, was a body-blow to the council.
This week, however, the committee tasked with discussing the Local Plan and progress towards it, the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP), due to meet on 12th September, was cancelled without reason and without notice.
Cllr Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem member of the CPPP committee, commented “I received an email. Short and sweet, ‘committee cancelled’. No reason was given. Perhaps they think there’s nothing to discuss?”
Cllr Malcolm Cowan, Lib Dem group leader, commented “It feels like national politics writ small. Our Prime Minister prorogues Parliament to shut down debate, while our Borough Council cancel committee meetings so opposition councillors can’t ask questions to get to the bottom of what is or is not going on.”
Paul contacted a consultant who regularly attends the Examination sessions and relevant Council meetings to advise him of the cancellation. His response was perhaps predictable: “I’ve been involved in many local plans, but never one quite as shambolic as this! The Examination has so far taken over two years with no end in sight, costing council tax payers huge sums. How much longer will this take? Nobody seems to know.”