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Consultation on Isopad House in Borehamwood 'exceeded statutory responsibility' says Hertsmere Borough Council
Hertsmere Borough Council says its consultation on a 12-storey block of flats that will tower over Borehamwood went “above and beyond” what was required.
The block of 150 flats was given planning permission last week, but Borehamwood residents claimed they had no knowledge of the plans for Isopad House in Shenley Road until they had been approved, which meant many did not object when they had the chance.
Members of the public have expressed concerns on social media sites the building will be out of keeping with the rest of the town, will set a precedent for high rise development and will put further strain on the infrastructure of the town.
However, only three representations were received by Hertsmere Borough Council, and only one objection.
Paul Welsh, who has lived in Borehamwood for more than 60 years, agreed the consultation had not been widely publicised.
He said: "It seems strange only three people objected out of a town of 33,000 people.
"There was a public consultation but I only found out about it because someone left a note for me in the museum.
“The problem with the council's consultation process is it does not effectively reach out to the community.
“They only write to the residents in the neighbouring streets, but everyone in the town will be affected by a development of this size.”
He added the council should use methods such as social media and stands in public places to engage people, rather than directing them to the council’s website.
Mr Welsh, who is chairman of Elstree Screen Heritage added: “Surely the days of sitting back and waiting for comments are outdated.”
However a council spokesman argued “sitting back” and waiting for comments was exactly what it had not done.
She added the council had written to 117 nearby properties, put press notices in the Borehamwood Times, held a consultation for the general public at Fairview Hall, made the plans widely available and posted notices on lamp posts.
Councillor Martin Worster, vice chairman of the planning committee, said: “The council’s consultation for this application went above and beyond our statutory responsibility.
“Any comments and representations that came forward were taken into consideration by the committee, which is duty-bound to determine applications in accordance with national planning laws and our own adopted policies, which are themselves subject to rigorous public examination with our main core strategy being approved by the secretary of state.”
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