Consultation dates announced

COMET country gears up for battle as the public consultation period for the East of Luton development is announced. The Bedfordshire planning committee behind the controversial plan to build thousands of homes and a Luton ring road on Hertfordshire Green

COMET country gears up for battle as the public consultation period for the East of Luton development is announced.

The Bedfordshire planning committee behind the controversial plan to build thousands of homes and a Luton ring road on Hertfordshire Green Belt has announced the consultation will run from April 17 until June 12.

This is two weeks longer than originally planned to relieve concerns about Herts county councillors' participation. Councillors up for re-election on June 4 are barred from speaking on political matters in the preceding six weeks. Already Comet readers are making their voices heard, as comments pour into our website at www.thecomet24.co.uk

After the launch of our Stop The Luton Invasion campaign last week we have been inundated with people telling us exactly what they think about the plan.


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Philip Mahan from Stevenage summed up many people's response when he said: "What gives Luton the right to expand into a different county? Perhaps Hertfordshire councillors should have a say in the running of Bedfordshire!" While Mary Wood from Letchworth GC said: "Bad for the countryside, bad for wildlife, bad for people - stop the Luton invasion into our beautiful county!" Alan Lea, from Hitchin, was concerned about jobs and transport.

He said: "Please do not cover yet more of our wonderful countryside with housing developments. Where will the new residents work? How will they travel?" All those concerned will be able to make a point on Sunday May 3 when a protest march will be held by action group Keep East of Luton Green. The march will leave from Cockernhoe village green at noon and cover the proposed area of development towards Lilley. David Wynn, secretary of the group, said: "The intention is to gather horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists and walkers together and walk the area under threat. We want to gather as many people as possible to send our key message that the scale of the development is out of proportion for what is sensible." North Herts District Council's planning officer will be at the following parish council meetings to discuss the issues: Lilley on April 21, St Ippolyts on April 27, St Pauls Walden on April 29 and Kimpton on May 12. Other meetings, including one for Hitchin are being considered.

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To have your say and sign up to The Comet petition against the development log on to www.thecomet24.net and click on the Stop The Luton Invasion button.

Readers' anger:

"This is west of Stevenage over again - another plunder of Hertfordshire's Green Belt. It seems that if regional planners or politicians elected elsewhere have Hertfordshire in their sights, then the views of locals and their elected representatives count for nothing." Gregor Laing, Knebworth

"Let the Beds councillors build on Bedfordshire land." Jane Bosher, Hitchin

"As Luton is a local government region, the proposal involves annexing part of Hertfordshire, not only building on it, as if that was not bad enough. The proposal is an example of massive effrontery." Graham Fraser-Andrews, Stevenage

"In no way should one county be allowed to build houses on land belonging to another county. Surely this why we have county borders." Ida Simpson, Hitchin

"I wonder if Beds councillors would like it if the west of Stevenage development was moved to the lovely area around Old Warden and Northill?" Keith Atkins, Letchworth GC

"This has to be one of the most inexcusable moves yet! They clearly don't want to blot their own landscape but have the audacity to try and inflict their issues on ours! We already have our own housing burden to deal with, why on earth should we take on theirs! Bedfordshire has many 'Brownfield' sites as well as plenty of land within their own boundaries to spoil. Stay in your own county and let us deal with ours!" Gale Catlin, Hitchin

"This nonsense will clearly be the thick end of the wedge in Big Brother's insatiable and wholly undemocratic aim to conjoin Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Luton into one giant, awful, soulless, conurbation, that will blight the landscape for evermore." Colin Bosher, Hitchin

"This is a beautiful piece of country side that would be lost forever whilst increasing the population of an already over populated area. Green belt land must stay as green belt land." Sam Churchill, Hitchin

"It's outrageous to even consider Bedfordshire, trespassing into Hertfordshire to build homes." Richard Pople, Stevenage

"We have enough problems accommodating new homes in Hertfordshire without another county imposing their plans on us. Keep of our green belt land." Susan Pople, Stevenage

"Keep our country side green - use the brown field sites in Luton - there are plenty of disused buildings/sites that could be redeployed." Anne Cosgrave, Cockernhoe

"This development and ring road will destroy forever one of the most scenic landscapes in North Herts along with countless wildlife, enjoyed by local residents and Luton people alike." Neil Jay, Cockernhoe

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