Hundreds turn out for guided walk on Hitchin Green Belt proposed for development
- Credit: Archant
Hitchin community groups are celebrating the public’s response to a guided walk through an area of Green Belt proposed for development.
Hitchin Town Action Group (HTAG), established by four groups in Hitchin, The Hitchin Society, Hitchin Forum, Hitchin Historical Society and Hitchin Initiative, organised the walk on Sunday through the area known as Priory Fields to highlight the threat its development for housing holds for the town.
Three hundred people turned out to walk the area which spans 120 acres of fields and meadows between the villages of Charlton and Gosmore and lies south of Park Way, the town’s bypass.
It is currently designated to take more than 1000 dwellings.
Walkers, whilst walking the area, heard about its historical significance, its recreational importance and its landscape beauty from those guiding the walk.
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Walkers were aged eight months to nearly 80 years, with many young people and young families joining in.
A spokesman for HTAG said: “These proposals have been formulated by North Herts District Council during their Strategic Housing Land Allocation Assessment in preparation for the forthcoming Local Plan which will guide where development can take place in the district.
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“We fully accept there has to be further housing built in and around Hitchin, and some will be on Green Belt because of the scale of Green Belt land in the district, but it is crucial that people let their councillors know how they feel about these particular proposals.
“Many people value and actively use this area as a ‘green lung’ for Hitchin with its many footpaths and wide open views to the delightful Chiltern Hills and its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, most people don’t realise how integral this area is to Hitchin’s historic character, with ancient connections to the Radcliffe family and Hitchin.
“Now we just need North Herts District councillors to agree that this area is vital to the quality of life of Hitchin people as well as maintaining the separate identities of the villages of Gosmore and Charlton.”