Redrow developers have submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over the proposed Harts Farm development.
Although the appeal is for 'non determination' of the outline application by Hertsmere within the statutory eight week timeframe, it is likely that this was triggered by a belief that the application would be refused by the planning committee on 19 January.
In reality, this allows Redrow's planning case in full to be examined by Inspectorate in the hope it is upheld.
The determination of the application was withdrawn from the January meeting after Redrow failed to submit an archaeological report requested by planning officers. Hertsmere now intend to determine the application at the February meeting following a site visit last week by some of th committee.
Said Little Bushey Community spokesperson, Nik Oakley: "We have local elections in May and Conservative councillors have no hope of holding onto their seats if they approve the application. Whilst that might sound like a win for us, the real danger is that they refuse it on weak grounds."
Continued, Nik Oakley: "By doing this, it will allow Redrow to argue against those reasons and for the Inspectorate to uphold the appeal. The reasons for refusal must be robust."
The Little Bushey Community campaign team believe that refusing the application on weak grounds will allow Conservative councillors to blame the Inspectorate should they allow the appeal.
The date for the appeal has not yet been set, but Redrow have asked that 10 days be set aside for the hearing.
Little Bushey Community can be party to the appeal by applying for rule 6 status. That means they can appear alongside Hertsmere in presenting the case against development and cross examining Redrow's witnesses. Organisations are permitted to represent themselves, but it is far better to appoint a specialist planning barrister who could cost some £35,000.
Last minute dirty tricks by developer, Redrow, mean that the planning application for hundreds of houses and a school will no longer be heard at the Hertsmere planning committee on 19 January.
The additional archaeological report requested by Hertsmere has failed to materialise, despite the fields being excavated at the end of November.
As a result, the application's determination has been postponed at the last minute. At the same time, Redrow have submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for non determination of the application within the statutory eight week period.
Said Little Bushey Community spokesperson, Nik Oakley: "Unscrupulous developers have a range of tactics open to them if they suspect their application will be refused. This is one of them."
Despite the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, the application will be heard by the committee and Little Bushey Community expects to be party to that appeal with planning consultants Chroma.
After four years of campaigning against the development of Harts Farm for a massive housing scheme in the green belt, the planning application goes before Hertsmere's Planning Committee on Thursday 19 January.
Nearly 3,000 objections to the development have been submitted, including ones from Little Bushey Community's planning consultants, Chroma Planning and Development.
Now we need you to join us at Hertsmere Civic Centre in Borehamwood before and during the Planning Committee for a real show of strength against this huge development of hundreds of houses and a school.
Residents are being asked to join the camapign team on the steps of the Civic Centre in Borehamwood at 5.30pm and in the Council chamber at 6pm.
Chroma - together with input from pur ransport and environmental consultants - have submitted a 26 page letter of objection to Hertsmere. You can download it here.
The government has set out new measures in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which they claim will place local communities at the heart of the planning system.
Housing targets remain, but are a 'starting point' with new flexibilities to reflect local circumstances. To reinforce this, Michael Gove, Minister for Levelling Up, has asked the competition watchdog for a study on the housebuilding market.
Local authorities are to be given power to promote brownfield development with a wider review to promote brownfield development.
New penalties are also proposed for slow developers failing to build already-approved homes
The measures are designed to strengthen the government’s commitment to building enough of the right homes in the right places with the right infrastructure, ensuring the environment is protected and giving local people a greater say on where and where not to place new development.
Housing targets remain an important part of the planning system say the government and they will consult on how these can better take account of local density.
Residents awoke this morning to find a digger at Harts Farm digging trenches and have sent us photos and videos showing the work.
Little Bushey Community committee member, Andy Williams said: "They’re attempting to dig 88 x 30 metre trenches across all the fields to perform archaeological analysis of the soil and clay. The aim is to be finished by Friday, however they’ve already determined that much of the area is quagmire and this won’t happen."
The company digging the trenches were unaware that the top layer of soil across the fields is spoil from the M1 construction so shallow trenches will reveal little.
Planning consultants, Chroma, have already revealed to us that Hertsmere planners require further reports and that the application will probably go to the January planning committee rather than the December one.
Said Chair, Daren Nathan: "This is alarming as it shows just how serious Redrow are about demonstrating the suitability of the site for development."