More homes for north and east of Stevenage as council backs Local Plan

The Spirella Building as it looks today

The Spirella Building as it looks today - Credit: Archant

More than 1,800 homes have been earmarked for the north east of Stevenage after North Herts District Council voted forward its Local Plan document on Tuesday.

Councillor David Levett.

Councillor David Levett. - Credit: Archant

At a full council meeting at the Spirella Ballroom in Letchworth’s Icknield Way, the Conservative-majority council backed the plan, which calls for 14,000 new homes in the district over the next 14 years.

Although it still has to be approved by a government planning inspector, the document earmarks 930 homes for Great Ashby, a part of Stevenage under the district council’s remit, and 916 for neighbouring Graveley.

At Stevenage Borough Council’s request, the plan also includes provision for employment sites for which Stevenage cannot find land. These are earmarked for Baldock.

Jack Rigg of Graveley Parish Council – one of five people who made representations at the meeting – called for a united front across North Hertfordshire to make opposition clear to the inspector, saying cabinet members and planners had been ‘ruthless’ in their determination to push through the plan.

Councillor Frank Radcliffe.

Councillor Frank Radcliffe. - Credit: Archant

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Nikki Hamilton – who lives in Great Ashby and is part of a Green Belt protection group – wrote to councillors before the meeting saying: “It is with dismay and horror to many thousands of us in North Hertfordshire that the district council is looking to build on Green Belt land.”

She said the extension to Great Ashby would mean an increase in traffic problems and extra strain placed on doctors’ surgeries and the Lister Hospital.

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She added: “It would put pressure on an already lacking infrastructure and it would take this beautiful area away from the people who have grown up here or moved to here for this.”

Councillor David Levett, responsible for planning at North Herts District Council, argued passionately for the plan – saying that if it were rejected, the council would have to either start again or let North Herts’ future be decided by someone who didn’t know with the district.

Labour group leader Frank Radcliffe also voted for the plan, arguing that the great need for social housing outweighed the value of certain Green Belt land, much of which he said was ‘poor-quality scrub land’. He said: “We need housing for our residents or we’re going to be left behind.”

The council’s plans were backed by 29 councillors’ votes to eight, with three abstentions.

Read the full version of this report at – and see the Local Plan at

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