Developers find a new way to get homes built
PUBLISHED: 11:39 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010
OH, DEAR, here we go again. The consortium of developers are still chortling and the campaigners licking their wounds after mighty John Prescott said he was minded to - that really means give the go-ahead to - approve the building of 3,600 homes on the
OH, DEAR, here we go again.
The consortium of developers are still chortling and the campaigners licking their wounds after mighty John Prescott said he was "minded to" - that really means give the go-ahead to - approve the building of 3,600 homes on the green countryside west of Stevenage.
Many a Hitchin person was dead set against that proposal.
But the good citizens will be even more anti the latest shock horror, this-could-ruin-our lives scheme to be flung out for the planners and residents to argue about.
Here's how it happened. The Government makes it known that it wants nearly half a million new homes to swamp the South East in the next few years.
There was much gnashing of teeth, banging of fists on tables and against fevered brows, acres of space devoted to the hot issue in the press, significant airtime given to it on the TV.
Doomsters predicted that this was the beginning of the end of life as we know it. At the very least. And the South East would be covered in concrete.
Understandably, the Government's attitude has given developers encouragement but they don't just ask to build somewhere.
No, they come along and, innocent as you like, point out that there will be a lot more traffic coming the way of North Herts because of a vastly expanded Luton Airport, so kindly offer to lay out a bypass to skirt the southern part of Hitchin.
This, of course, would be at considerable cost to themselves but their largesse is almost limitless. However, then comes the tit-for-tat bit.
They will lash out the millions of pounds on the roadway if the powers-that-be simply allow them to build no less than 8,000 homes on the mostly Green Belt to the west and south of Hitchin.
Yes, that's right, it's more than twice the size of the West of Stevenage proposal which provoked such outrage locally - but got approved.
If this latest scheme bordering on the lunatic does somehow get the nod, Hitchin will be changed unimaginably, pretty villages surrounding it will be swallowed up and the prospect of the market town, Stevenage and Luton becoming a conurbation will take a giant leap forward. Heaven forbid.
To my mind, one of the best things in nature is a glorious sunset.
The aerial display we experienced late on Tuesday afternoon was particularly spectacular.
People in my office at Stevenage were so impressed that they broke off from work to gaze at the pink sky turning to a blazing orange.
I took a turn at the window to look in wonder. As I did I noticed a tiny object heading west into the sunset.
The bright colours danced on its wings, for this was an aircraft which had passed over the town centre on its descent to Luton Airport.
I hope to see many more - that's sunsets, not aeroplanes, criss-crossing our sky.