Great Offley villagers ramp up opposition to Gladman Homes plan

Villagers at Offley Parish Hall to discuss the proposed Gladman Homes development. Picture: Offley P

Villagers at Offley Parish Hall to discuss the proposed Gladman Homes development. Picture: Offley Parish Council - Credit: Archant

More than 100 villagers came together near Hitchin to make their feelings known about a proposed development of up to 70 houses.

Gladman Homes has put in a planning application to build on land that is home to about 80 allotments on the north side of Luton Road on the edge of Great Offley, just south of the A505 between Hitchin and Luton.

The site, outside the Offley settlement boundary and owned by the Pilkington Farm Partnership, is not within the current Green Belt boundaries – but is within the revised Green Belt area defined in North Herts District Council’s proposed submission Local Plan.

The proposed plan for 2011 to 2031, which is now awaiting a planning inspector’s decision, does not include any housing developments for Great Offley.

A meeting at Offley Village Hall ended with eight villagers forming a campaign group called No to Gladman, which intends to meet later this month to discuss how to oppose the plans.

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The group hopes to avoid a situation similar to that in Pirton – where developers CALA Homes have planning permission for 78 homes.

Laurence Cowley, of Westbury Farm Close, told the Comet: “The mood of the meeting was to form an action group to fight this proposed development, to ensure that the steamroller action we see regarding Pirton does not hit the village of Great Offley.”

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Gladman also hopes to build a 99-home development in Pirton, but the district council’s planning control committee rejected this on Thursday night.

A map included in the Gladman planning application for Great Offley shows about three hectares of land off Luton White Hill and Salusbury Lane that it says could potentially become replacement allotments – but Laurence thinks developers might ultimately try to build there as well, particularly if this scheme goes ahead.

Discussions at the meeting last Wednesday evening – hosted by six members of Offley Parish Council and conducted by clerk David Sample – focused on the perception that Gladman was attempting to integrate its proposed Offley project into the Local Plan.

Councillor Claire Strong, one of the three district council members for Hitchwood, Offa & Hoo, helped to clarify processes and added her name to the No to Gladman campaign at the meeting’s conclusion.

The Gladman application has so far received 34 formal responses, of which 32 have been objections.

You can see plans for yourself at by searching for planning application 17/01781/1.

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