Stevenage MP launches attack on plans to build 600 homes at Gresley Park development east of Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 16:29 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 02 October 2017
Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has written an open letter throwing his weight behind mounting opposition to the proposed Gresley Park housing development to the east of Stevenage.
The proposal for 600 homes on Green Belt land are part of East Herts District Council’s Local Plan which is about to be examined by a government planning inspector.
It shapes outline planning for housing and employment across the district up to 2033.
A vocal campaign group against the plans, called Protecting Local Communities Around Aston and which uses the slogan ‘Say no to further development east of Stevenage’, has won support from villages including Aston, Datchworth, Walkern, Benington and neighbouring parish councils, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and politicians.
Mr McPartland posted the letter on his website, saying: “I am disappointed by the draft Local Plan that has been produced by East Herts District Council and do not believe it is positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy, especially with regard to the site to the east of Stevenage called Gresley Park.”
He says the development would cause unacceptable levels of traffic on Gresley Way and village lanes around Aston, and would simply “fill in the gap” between Stevenage and its surrounding villages.
In 2014 the council refused to include the site in its allocations for houses. It said it would not be appropriate to build a large development to the east of Stevenage because it would be detrimental to the environment and there was not enough infrastructure to support it.
But after a consultation and review of the Green Belt around Stevenage, it was considered a smaller development may be appropriate.
Mr McPartland says the Local Plan overall will not meet the government’s projected housing target for East Herts of 19,500 new homes and will miss it by 3,110 houses. He calls this a “staggering shortfall” and favours the idea of creating a new garden city of 20,000 homes to help meet the housing targets for the councils in North Herts, East Herts and Stevenage.
He suggests the plan does not provide enough allocated provision for new schools and does not take account of how increased traffic flow will impact on many roads in the area if more homes are built.
He added: “It is shocking East Herts District Council want to breach the Beane Valley by building here. It would be the first step in the destruction of the valley and a merger of Aston into Stevenage.”
The hearing sessions for the plan begin on tomorrow in the council chamber at Wallfields in Hertford. The morning sessions start at 10am, with the afternoon sessions starting at 2pm – all of the sessions will be webcast live on the council’s website or can be attended on the day.
The development to the east of Stevenage is expected to be considered on Thursday, November 9.
For more information see www.eastherts.gov.uk/districtplanexamination.