3,500 homes ‘threat’ in North Herts Green Belt

Cllr David Barnard near Lilley Bottom

Cllr David Barnard near Lilley Bottom - Credit: Daniel Wilson

GREEN belt land in North Herts could be swallowed up by 3,500 houses, if developers get their way.

After Bloor Homes said it wanted to build 1,000 homes to the east of Luton, as previously reported by the Comet, another company – Carter Jonas – put forward a proposal for 2,500 homes.

The company is acting on behalf of client The Crown Estate.

The land, which falls into North Herts, would impact on villages in the area including Offley and Lilley, say councillors and residents.

Cllr David Barnard, who represents Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo at district level and Hitchin Rural on Herts County Council, said he feared giving the go-ahead for the works would “open up floodgates” for more development.

“This proposal would see our local villages being swallowed up by Luton,” he added.

“We need to make sure we are vigilant and united, to protect our villages and countryside.”

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Neither North Herts District Council or Luton Borough Council are behind the proposals and no formal planning application has been submitted.

But there are still calls for residents to make their views known.

Offley Parish Council clerk David Sample said: “I have not heard of anybody who is for it, other than the developers.

“What rubs salt into the wound in this particular development is that that site is not in the Local Plan. Anybody can put in a proposal for a development, whether they own the land or not and whether it’s in the Local Plan or not. That’s how we are fighting it.”

A public meeting, held last week, saw more than 300 people through the doors to voice their opposition.

A spokesman for Bloor said: “While we are aware of emerging alternative schemes in the area, it is important to make clear that they have no association whatsoever with the proposals for Wandon Park.

“It is also important to note that great care has been taken with the proposals for Wandon Park to design an area that not only provides high quality local housing, for which there is a recognised need, but respects the setting of existing communities.”

She added: “The Wandon Park proposals would deliver a range of new facilities that would benefit local communities.”

At the time of going to press, Carter Jonas had not responded to the Comet’s calls.