Last chance to have say on plan to build 800 homes in Stevenage's Forster Country

PUBLISHED: 08:25 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 14 November 2019

Objectors are concerned Green Belt land will be lost forever. Picture: Margaret Ashby

Objectors are concerned Green Belt land will be lost forever. Picture: Margaret Ashby

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Time is running out to have your say on plans to build 800 homes on swathes of Green Belt land which has both cultural and historical significance.

Grade I-listed St Nicholas Church can be seen in the distance. Picture: Margaret AshbyGrade I-listed St Nicholas Church can be seen in the distance. Picture: Margaret Ashby

Historic England says "the harm caused will be severe" if the green light is given to build 800 homes and a primary school on land known as Forster Country - situated north of Martins Way in Stevenage, between North Road and Weston Road.

The conservation area incorporates the oldest and most historic sections of the early medieval village of Stevenage and includes Grade I-listed 12th century St Nicholas Church, Grade II*-listed The Bury and Grade I-listed Rooks Nest House - where author EM Forster lived.

Lodging its objection with the planning authority Stevenage Borough Council, Historic England said: "The proposed development will have a considerable harmful impact on the character, appearance and significance of the conservation area and its setting, and on the setting of the listed buildings within the conservation area.

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"It will considerably erode or destroy the open character of the landscape. It will disrupt the long distance views and diminish the sense of open space, and therefore either weaken or eradicate the ability to appreciate the listed buildings and conservation area within their setting."

More than 150 people have lodged objections so far, with concerns including the loss of Green Belt, loss of landscape and risk of urban coalescence.

Wymondley Parish Council's clerk, Cathy Kerby, said: "This application flies in the face of government policy for protection of the Green Belt and prevention of urban coalescence.

"The openness of the Green Belt will be anihilated and the resulting urban sprawl will cause significant harm, not only to the Green Belt, but to the character and environment of Wymondley parish's neighbouring villages."

The public consultation ends on November 25. To have your say, visit publicaccess.stevenage.gov.uk/online-applications and enter reference number 17/00862/OPM.

Developers Bellway Homes and Miller Homes were contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of going to press.

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