A petition has been launched to save green belt land in Great Ashby ahead of the North Herts District Council Local Plan hearings, which start next month.

The Comet: Campaigners are trying to save the land known in the Local Plan as GA2, which is earmarked for 600 houses. Picture: Nikki HamiltonCampaigners are trying to save the land known in the Local Plan as GA2, which is earmarked for 600 houses. Picture: Nikki Hamilton (Image: Archant)

The 500 signature strong petition, addressed to the planning inspector Simon Berkeley, has been set up by campaigner group ‘Saving North Herts Green Belt’ – under the banner ‘Say No to GA2’ – and calls for the site to be removed from the Local Plan.

GA2 refers to a site earmarked in North Herts District Council’s Local Plan, which is set to deliver nearly 15,000 new homes to the district between 2011 and 2031.

The land off Mendip Way has been allocated in the plans for 600 new homes – something campaigners have been fighting against for five years.

Member of Saving North Herts Green Belt, Nikki Hamilton, said: “The proposed site has been used by so many people during the pandemic. The area around Great Ashby is used by thousands over the years for social and health reasons – a ramble, jogging, dog walking and horse riding, by singular people, couples as well as families.

“The site makes a significant contribution to the green belt purposes, which is the highest level and is home to a huge amount of wildlife.

“We are asking everyone that feels that this area needs to be protected from development, to sign the petition and share with family and friends.

“We are seeing a huge amount of other development sites in and around Stevenage even though we have a lack of infrastructure, and this is already under pressure in regards to doctors, jobs and the A1(M).”

In the summer last year, on looking at the detailed plans for the entire Local Plan, planning inspector Simon Berkeley penned a letter to the council highlighting his “concerns and reservations”.

He called for further hearing sessions to be held – which were initially scheduled for March this year, however have been moved to September and October due to the coronavirus.

Nikki added: “We will be attending a hearing regarding GA2 in October and we wanted the inspector to be aware how important this piece of countryside is to the people of Stevenage, Great Ashby and the little villages surrounding it.”

To view the petition, go to change.org/p/simon-berkeley-ba-ma-mrtpi-say-no-to-ga2-protect-our-green-belt.