Town leaders row about meeting with homes developer

editorial image

TOWN councillors came under fire for holding a private meeting with a developer that wants to build 1,000 new homes.

The agenda for a meeting of Berkhamsted Town Council’s planning committee revealed that four councillors had met with representatives from Grand Union Investments (GUI) and opposed their plans.

But for many of the council’s members that was the first they knew about it.

At a meeting of the planning committee on Monday, April 21, Councillor John Lythgoe said: “How the council can agree on that when there’s no record of the proceedings, I fail to understand.”

The Liberal Democrat member said there was no record of how the party of four Conservative councillors was formed, or when they decided to meet developers.

GUI want to build houses on land south of Shootersway and at the southern end of Swing Gate Lane.

Proposals include plans for a new school and community centre.

Concerned householder Ted Dyer described it as “a bit strange” that Lib Dem town councillor Garrick Stevens was not invited to the meeting with the developer.

He said Mr Stevens knew a lot about Dacorum Borough Council’s draft core strategy for around 10,000 homes in Berkhamsted.

But councillors Stephen Bateman, Ian Reay, Laurence Handy and mayor Julie Laws said they had been acting as Dacorum Borough councillors.