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David Guest brings you up-to-date on what the planners and the developers have in mind for your neighbourhood


he motto of the Hemel Hempstead New Town Development Corporation, responsible for the Mark 1 new town that emerged in the 1950s, was ‘Greater,


Richer, More Beautiful’. The financial year 2014/15 is expected to see Dacorum Borough Council’s plans for new homes in the borough reach a peak of 668 completions. That makes it a good time to review the DBC’s plans and progress. Last autumn, the publication of Local Allocation details (LAs) marked an important stage in the projected growth of the towns we live in. That figure of 668, by the way, is the high point in the borough’s trajectory of new homes. It begins to less impressive when you consider that the estimated annual requirement for new affordable homes is about 650.


Spencer’s Park


DBC’s Development Programme, 2011-2015, anticipated building on average 520 new houses a year by 2015. Among the challenges it acknowledges – pays lip service to, perhaps – is the impact of development on communities. ‘In particular it [development] must contribute fully to infrastructure needs,’ it says.


28 | Hemel Hempstead Living


The body of that document is its annually updated Action Plan. In January 2013 this reported the following progress: l Spencer’s Park phase 1: 357 houses to be built l Spencer’s Park phase 2: 600 new homes l Brownfield sites throughout the borough: new housing, number unspecified


l Grovehill Shopping Centre: increased housing, number unspecified


l Neighbourhood Improvements Programme: nine centres, some new homes


Spencer’s Park is 12.4ha at the northern margin of Hemel Hempstead. The application for 357 homes was approved by DBC in February 2014. Access will be from Three Cherry Trees Lane


Core Strategy


The Core Strategy, adopted in 2013, anticipates 430 new homes a year on average between 2006 and 2031 – 10,750 in total. The final figure may be slightly higher, it adds, ‘if ‘windfall’ sites are taken into account’. The aim is to make best use of land within existing settlements and adding ‘Local Allocations’. These LAs are described as ‘modest’ extensions to ‘help meet local housing and infrastructure needs’. The Council published draft masterplans for the


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