When I was elected in May 2019 at the age of 25, I said I would aim to protect greenbelt land, and I am against the general overdevelopment of the Bushey area. Being one of the youngest voices within Local Government, those are words I intend to keep, to safeguard Bushey for future generations.
In light of proposed developments of Bushey Country Club and Bushey Hall Golf Club reaching the points they have, I have prudently taken time to find out the facts behind the plans, the two main points being another large secondary school and football stadium. I must stress, the land highlighted for the school will be earmarked for a ten-year period and a school may never be built, however this is a risk I am not willing to take.
With both developments I ask myself the question - why? Unfortunately, the harrowing fact in both cases lay with the continued failings of the Lib Dem run Watford Borough Council. First, we have their football team looking at one of our golf courses as a potential site for their stadium and now the County Council are looking at another for a school. Due to the poor town planning over two decades Watford Borough Council have been unable to find land for schools, to accommodate the increased need for school places, which they were able to predict, instead they choose to ignore this and continue to develop housing. As well as forcing their own football club out of their Borough.
Hertfordshire County Council has put the pressure on us here in Hertsmere to include a school for Watford in our Local Plan, we have already refused to take on Watford’s housing numbers which they can’t meet.
In no uncertain terms, we are being asked to give up our greenbelt land, not for our local children but for those who will have to travel across South Hertfordshire. This raises countless number of issues. I helped lead Hertsmere’s Climate Emergency in 2019 and this massive influx of unnecessary commuting will bring Bushey to a standstill twice a day, we can’t allow this to happen, and I can’t support the neighbouring Lib Dem Council which has now put this problem on us. We cannot allow them to influence the future of Bushey.
I will only support local schools for local children. I have always been transparent about the fact that we need to sacrifice small amounts of greenbelt land for developments, which I support if done correctly, reflecting and resembling the tone of the surrounding area.
I was elected to represent my Ward Bushey St James, if the Local Plan does not help enhance my Ward or Bushey as a whole, only hinder it… Then I will not support it.
Councillor Harry Mortimer