We are living in unprecedented times. The economic response needed for the recovery will also be without parallel, but that does not mean we should put principles to one side when "building back" and considering future sites for development within Hertsmere.

As a borough councillor for North Bushey, I joined the virtual public meeting on March 18 to hear about the council’s preferred option and more importantly to see feedback from residents. What I could read on the online chat was a distinct lack of support for building the county’s largest secondary school on a hill on the former golf course.

There is confusion over whether the public have been consulted already (they have via focus groups – and if that is the case, their voices have so far not been listened to) or if the public will be consulted in the future, before or after the publication of Hertsmere’s next local plan.

There is also a lack of accountability being shown in the origin and reasons as to why a secondary school is the most prominent and most detailed part of the plan, whilst at the same time no information is given on even a high-level range of housing numbers or the amount of green space that will be open, green, and publicly accessible.

What are required are not additional secondary school sites in Bushey, but better use of the existing sites across the west part of Hertsmere and in Watford. New schools in Radlett and Borehamwood rather than in Bushey, with places available based first and foremost on distance from the school rather than on the SW Herts schools consortium test result, would lead to fewer car journeys, less crammed buses and improve provision across the borough and enable a second attempt at a preferred option for the site, preferably with real options for a community hub and minimal housing.

We can but hope that council leaders at Hertsmere will still listen, but we are running out of time for that to be the case. I hope as many Hertsmere residents as possible will provide their views https://formerbusheycountryclub.commonplace.is/

Cllr Paul Richards,

County campaigner for Bushey South

Liberal Democrats