Councillor says houses need to be built to meet ‘needs of growing population’

Thousands of houses could be built on the green land beyond Bygrave Road

Thousands of houses could be built on the green land beyond Bygrave Road - Credit: Archant

A district councillor is adamant that houses need to be built in North Hertfordshire to ‘meet the needs of our growing population’.

Draft housing allocations for North Hertfordshire’s District Council’s Local Plan were unveiled on Thursday, covering the district’s need for 12,100 homes over the period up until 2031.

Councillor David Levett, responsible for planning and enterprise at North Herts District Council, said: “We need new homes to meet the needs of our growing population, to ensure the district’s economic prosperity and that our families have somewhere to live.

“However, those homes must be sustainable, viable, and deliverable and also ensure that the unique nature of North Hertfordshire, which makes it one of the best places to live in the country, is protected.

“We have given careful consideration to the proposed sites and want to reassure people that all sites will be suitably planned with the accompanying infrastructure and local amenities necessary to create thriving communities, particularly in the case of the major sites which will each require a masterplan to ensure these are delivered.

“Following the meeting of full council on November 27, we will be seeking the views of the public on the draft Local Plan preferred options, and we would encourage everyone to have their say.”

Nine sites have been allocated in and around Baldock, including one of 2,800 dwellings at the Blackhorse Farm site to the north of the town.

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A masterplan for the Blackhorse Farm site will be prepared to include the provision for a new road and pedestrian bridge across the railway and a primary and secondary school.

A spokesman for campaign group Save Rural Baldock said: “We have Herts County Council to thank for the provision of land for development around Baldock.

“Virtually all the land earmarked for development has been offered for sale by County Hall to the highest bidder.

“The county has demonstrated a cavalier attitude to the needs of existing communities in North Herts and in selling off this land is preferring profit.

“At least there is some comfort in these new figures, in that the total dwellings required from 2014-2031 has been reduced from 4,500 to 3,414, but that still means that the small market town of Baldock will provide 34 per cent of the total required for North Herts.

“This is so unfair and will destroy the character of this lovely town.

“Hitchin, a town of 35,000 people will only have to find 770 dwellings between now and 2031 – a significant change from the 3,000 plus dwellings around Hitchin that were planned in 2013.

“Where have they all gone – to Baldock?”

A spokesman for Herts County Council, which own most of the land that houses could be built on in Baldock, said: “At this very early stage, the county council has said it would consider making this land available for development if these plans are appropriate and meet the total development needs of the area.”

A consultation on the draft Local Plan opens on December 5 and ends on January 30.