Call for Councils to Unite

By Jenny Desborough, St Albans Review Reporter 

Mary Maynard

Mary Maynard, St Albans District Councillor

An MP is calling on the Government to ensure two councils work together on allocating affordable homes in a new development. Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, held informal talks with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid and has written to St Albans City and District Council, along with The Crown Estate, about affordable housing on the East Hemel development.

The development, though named East Hemel, is entirely inside the St Albans boundary. Mr Penning also hopes to see the SACDC and Dacorum Borough Council work together to share the allocation across the two districts. Mr Penning also cited a recent court case where the SACDC challenged criticisms of their strategic and local plan by the Department of Communities and Local Government, who said they had not met its duty to cooperate with neighbouring councils who objected to development plans.

Mr Penning said: “It is clear that Dacorum will end up footing the bill for this major expansion of Hemel Hempstead. “All the services and infrastructure will be Hemel based. “It is common sense – and of course the right thing to do – to share allocations between the two districts.”

Cllr Mary Maynard, who leads planning for SACDC, said she would be visiting sites in the Dacorum area to fully understand their options and issues. She said: “Since the court case, the council has moved quickly to progress talks with neighbouring councils, understand their concerns, and work together to develop our respective areas in ways that are cooperative and beneficial to residents. “We have already had excellent conversations with Dacorum Borough Council and plan to continue to do so, not only on the land at East Hemel Hempstead but also on employment and infrastructure issues.