Stevenage MP addresses Box Wood land auction amid development fears

Plots of Box Wood land, on the eastern edge of Stevenage, will go to auction on July 14. Picture: Su

Plots of Box Wood land, on the eastern edge of Stevenage, will go to auction on July 14. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Stephen McPartland MP has written to Stevenage residents over the contentious auctioning of Box Wood land, which came to light last week.

Stephen McPartland has addressed the sale in a letter to constituents. Picture: Stephen McPartland M

Stephen McPartland has addressed the sale in a letter to constituents. Picture: Stephen McPartland MP - Credit: Archant

Mr McPartland has said that residents are “rightly concerned” about the auction, which is set to go ahead on July 14, and has condemned any future development on the ancient land.

The Stevenage MP said: “I have been contacted by many constituents regarding the plots of land being sold in Box Wood and they are rightly concerned about the potential development, which I would of course oppose.

“I want more affordable homes, but they must be on brownfield sites, near the facilities those residents will want, and need to use, not on protected woodland and greenbelt.

“Any proposals for development which affect designated heritage assets, including Box Wood, are subject to rigorous standards and must be seen to enhance the setting. However, I understand this is ancient woodland and cannot be developed during the period of the current East Herts District Council Local Plan – which runs until 2033.”

MORE: Fears for ancient Stevenage woodland as land plots go up for auction Mr McPartland added: “Local people are well aware that I have consistently opposed such developments, such as Gresley Park, which is near this area.

“The loss of Forster County and Gresley Park developments are vicious attacks by our local councils on our environment. We have to continue to oppose both developments as they come forward to planning committees in the local councils.”

While Box Wood does fall outside Mr McPartland’s consistuency, the MP has made contact with Sir Oliver Heald MP, who he says has made “urgent contact” with the East Hertfordshire District Council for clarity on Box Wood’s future.

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