In a press release on November 11th, 2021, Hertsmere Borough Council announced that over 1267 responses had been submitted to the local plan up to that date. 1267 is a reasonable number of people. But twice that number on average used Bushey Station daily last year. It’s less that 6% of the electorate in Bushey, not residents but electorate, and that is 1267 across Hertsmere!

Where are all the supporters and opponents of this plan?

Why, when the most significant change to the aesthetic of Bushey, Hertsmere in general and its environment is proposed, is there not a clamour of voices straining to ensure that their opinion is heard?

Every household in Bushey should have received from Hertsmere Borough Council a leaflet about the plan and how you can comment although at the time of writing we know of several households that have not, and if this includes you, please contact the council and let them know, but also review the proposals on the Hertsmere Borough Council Local Plan Website, Hertsmere Local Plan. The closing date for comment has been extended to December 6th, 2021.

The current version of the plan proposes an increase of 26% in the number of homes around Bushey. That would be a population increase of between 7,020 and 16,740, or more, (depending on the size of household).  All will need access to health services, some to schools, retail, and of course other areas via the road network either by private vehicle or public transport.

I agree that nationally we need more homes as the population increases, however there has been, I believe, a seismic shift in how people live and work and where they want to live.  More of the population will continue to take advantage of work from home and flexible working options. While this may affect city centre small businesses and retail it may be beneficial for local options. And while I believe this shift will change how we work and live, I also believe it will change where we live. The requirement for proximity to fast connections to the city centre will wane in favour of access to local amenities, gardens, and space within the home for work, rest, and time together.

Irrespective of your opinion of this version of the plan you should comment. If you agree with what Hertsmere Borough Council have suggested, then let them know.

However, if you do not agree, then comment, and ensure your opinion is included.  Cllr. Morris Bright, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, made it clear in a recent Council meeting, that comments from the public are to be encouraged and welcomed, and that they could help with any request the Council makes to the UK government to have the number of homes to be built in Hertsmere reduced.

The Bushey Forum, as we have stated before, is not a campaigning organisation.  We believe our role is to communicate. The message we would like everyone to hear is, no matter your view, the more information that Hertsmere Borough Council have regarding the opinion of residents the better they can respond.  We can see that public opinion overall is against the current plan, and while the Council can read Facebook posts too, it is comments to them that will count! You can comment in three ways, here on the website Hertsmere Local Plan or by email to local.plan@hertsmere.gov.uk or in writing to  Local Plan Consultation, Hertsmere Borough Council, Elstree Way, Borehamwood WD6 9SR.

In addition, residents can write to our MP, Oliver Dowden CBE, but be sure that you comment on the plan on the website or by email or letter.

Philip Nowlan

Chairman, The Bushey Forum