Stevenage Borough Local Plan is presently the subject of a holding direction by the Secretary of State at the request of the local conservative MP. The holding direction will be a year old in November with no reason or direction coming from the secretary of state.
The draft Local Plan which includes the regeneration of the town centre sets out how Stevenage will be developed through to 2031 and was commended with minor modifications by a senior government planning inspector over a year ago after the full cycle of public consultations.
The conservative MP used his influence with Mr Sajid Javid (then Secretary of State) to place a ‘holding direction’ on Stevenage Borough Council’s plan so nothing more can be done to develop it till the holding order is lifted . It is the latest bid he has made to derail town centre and other redevelopment plans, which aim to transform Stevenage in six key phases – beginning with an area known as SG1 which includes the bus station, council offices and beyond.
This ‘temporary’ direction will have been in place for a year on 13th November and the Council has written to the Secretary of state requiring him to lift the direction or provide reasons as to why it should remain. A response is required by 13th November and in the event of an unsatisfactory outcome, formal legal proceedings to achieve the lifting of the direction will commence.
A similar stop was placed on East Herts District Council on the day of the adoption of their Local Plan, and the two councils have worked together to resolve these issues. This holding direction on East Herts has now been lifted.
Stevenage Labour party notes the lack of respect for local democracy manifest in the actions of our Tory MP and central government that has delayed the approval of the plan . Many beneficial projects, including building homes are delayed as a direct consequence as is progress in regeneration of our town centre and neighbourhoods. It is pointless of the chancellor to provide rate relief to stimulate town centres when a local Conservative MP supported by a conservative secretary of state continue to delay progress with the town plan.