Major Bypass Threatens Countryside

A MAJOR bypass that threatens an area of outstanding countryside could move closer to reality this month. The consultation period for plans to build a trunk road to relieve congestion in Luton closes on February 20 and a decision is expected a month late

A MAJOR bypass that threatens an area of outstanding countryside could move closer to reality this month.

The consultation period for plans to build a trunk road to relieve congestion in Luton closes on February 20 and a decision is expected a month later.

The options on the table include four possible routes to the north of Luton to link the M1 motorway with the A6 and the A505. One of these routes would run through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Bedfordshire and cross the border through woods and fields to the south of Lilley in Hertfordshire.

But a road is not the only option - there is also a proposal to improve public transport in Luton including a major new bus route on a disused railway line.

The plans have been put forward by Luton Borough Council, South Beds District Council and Beds County Council to ease congestion in Luton and in anticipation of extensive housing development over the next 20 years in the area.

But North Herts District Council (NHDC) has said it will oppose any incursion into the county. Richard Thake, transport and planning portfolio holder for the district, said: "NHDC fails to see the need for any incursion into Hertfordshire green belt and will be formally objecting to such proposals. Should such a link road be built it will inevitably lead to an urban expansion of the conurbation, swallowing up settlements within North Herts and despoiling landscape of outstanding quality.

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"The council also fears that the increased traffic generated would impact so heavily on Hitchin that a southern bypass of the market town would be next on the agenda. Such proposals would certainly lead to huge housing growth which would alter the character of the town and the adjacent villages beyond recognition - surely too heavy a price to pay for Luton's convenience."

Two more public meetings are scheduled before the closing date - at Cassell Hall, Lilley from 4pm to 8pm tomorrow night (Thursday) and on Monday at the Baptist Church in Stopsley from noon until 8pm.

To make your views known log on to www.luton.gov.uk, www.bedfordshire.gov.uk or www.southbeds.gov.uk or write to North Dunstable and Luton Transport Proposals Consultation, Communities Team, Bedfordshire County Council, Freepost ANG 5499, Bedford MK42 9NG.

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