Lilley blast for homes bid

AS one invasion threat to North Herts Green Belt appears to be on the brink of collapse, another wave is bringing up the rear. With the news that Luton Borough Council (LBC) had made a U-turn on plans to build across its borders on a vast area of North H

AS one invasion threat to North Herts Green Belt appears to be on the brink of collapse, another wave is bringing up the rear.

With the news that Luton Borough Council (LBC) had made a U-turn on plans to build across its borders on a vast area of North Herts countryside to the east of the town last week, campaigners had begun to hope that the area was safe from development.

But it has come to light that Bloor Homes, the building company which drew up plans for 5,500 homes in the Lilley valley for Luton and South Beds councillors hoping to meet their government housing targets outside their authority, has come up with a scaled down version for 1,000 in the area.

The proposals, which are at an informal stage, were made on the eve of LBC's announcement that it "strongly opposed" the original plan on traffic and environmental grounds.


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The move came to light after Bloor Homes wrote to Hitchin MP Peter Lilley in an attempt to gain his support for the scheme. But he has vowed to carry on the fight alongside residents, campaigners and North Herts District Council (NHDC) against any incursion into the district.

"This was suspiciously timed to coincide with Luton's carefully worded motion which rejected 'the currently proposed housing development east of Luton' - but not all development at this location," Mr Lilley said.

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"I fear Bloor's proposal would simply be the thin end of the wedge, or a Trojan horse to open the gates for the full 5,500 houses in due course.

"So although I will happily meet Bloor to find out what they are proposing, the chances of them winning my support are zilch, unless they are planning to build entirely within Luton's boundaries and can prove that at some future time this would not spill over towards Lilley Bottom."

A spokesman for LBC said: "We are not aware of the details of any such application and will take a view in due course once we have the details of what is being proposed. As any application would be made to NHDC, we expect to be consulted as part of the application process."

When questioned, planning officer for NHDC John Ironside said the council is aware of the proposals but did not want to comment at this stage.

A spokesman for Bloor Homes was tight-lipped about the move. "No formal application has been submitted at this stage and until we have more clarity on the situation we cannot comment further," he said.

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