GALLERY: Campaigners rally at Letchworth march to save world’s first garden city
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds took to the streets in Letchworth on Saturday to rally against plans to build more than 1,500 homes around the world’s first garden city.
Young and old stood side by side to show their opposition to North Herts District Council’s draft housing proposals, which they say will destroy Green Belt land north of the Grange Estate.
Charlotte Simmons, mum to two-year-old son Nathan, said: “We need to put a stop to the expansion of Letchworth. It’s spiralling out of control.
“When Nathan gets older I want him to be able to walk around the woods and fields around the Grange. He’s not going to be able to do that if there’s just row after row of houses. It’s ridiculous really.”
The homes earmarked for the town are part of the council’s draft Local Plan, which sets out plans to build 14,000 houses across the district by 2031.
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Campaigners say Letchworth, which has a population of 33,000, doesn’t have enough Green Belt land left as it is, and further development would damage the town.
Steve Paffett from campaign group Save the World’s First Garden City said: “I’m just somebody who cares. Green Belt is Green Belt for a reason, we have to protect it. We don’t need those commercial cowboys. We need our green spaces.”
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Steve’s wife Lisa said: “We can’t move in Letchworth, I don’t want them building on my door step. Services will be strained if more people come to the town. Schools and doctors surgeries will be put under serious pressure. The traffic would be a nightmare.”
Energy consultant Chris Jones, 55, said: “The Green Belt land is important to the health of a lot of people. The Grange is a valuable gap, don’t ruin it. Expanding Letchworth completely goes against Ebenezer Howard’s vision of a garden city.”
The consultation period on the allocation of houses across the district runs until February 6. To have your say email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter addressed to Planning Policy, NHDC, PO Box 480, Sale, M33 0DE.