Harpenden united against plans for new homes

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

A STRONGLY-worded response has been drawn up by two Harpenden societies to the prospect of hundreds of new homes being built in the Green Belt. The Harpenden Society and Harpenden Green Belt Association have combined to respond to the proposal which is co

A STRONGLY-worded response has been drawn up by two Harpenden societies to the prospect of hundreds of new homes being built in the Green Belt.

The Harpenden Society and Harpenden Green Belt Association have combined to respond to the proposal which is contained in the draft core strategy of the district council's new planning blueprint, the St Albans Local Development Framework (LDF).

They are objecting to the prospect of 300 new homes being built on farmland bordered by Luton Road and Ambrose Lane to the north of Harpenden which could have to be utilised if the district council is forced to take potential housing sites out of the Green Belt.

Last week Harpenden Town Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Farmer, led a delegation to St Albans council offices to hand over 2,000 signed responses opposing the proposal to council leader, Cllr Robert Donald.

She said: "We have clearly stated the views of the community in this matter. Local people do not want housing on Green Belt. They are worried about the impact on an already-fragile infrastructure and worried about the merging of Harpenden with Luton."

The Harpenden Society and Green Belt Association have compiled a detailed response to the proposal, looking at all aspects of infrastructure and location.

They argue that the core strategy document has other reasonable alternative housing sites where there are clear planning benefits to be gained and criticises the council for seeking views on Green Belt sites without providing thorough evidence such as infrastructure needs and the potential impact of development on the local environment.

They maintain there are "very strong reasons" why the land would be unsuitable for large-scale housing development between now and 2031 which the LDF has to look as far as.

The two groups single out accessibility and sustainability of the location, the traffic, road congestion and parking implications, the shortage of places in local secondary schools and shortfalls in social and community facility provision, its Green Belt location and the impact on the landscape and environment.

They are also concerned that development proposals in neighbouring Beds could encroach on Harpenden more than has been suggested in the document and undue weight has been attached to the likelihood of securing plenty of affordable housing as part of any development proposals.

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