Allotements row

PUBLISHED: 11:17 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

SIR - I am writing in response to your article about the Westfield site in Harpenden. Harpenden Town Council is acutely aware that this is a time of financial difficulty for many and we want to use this opportunity to create a form of affordable housing w

SIR - I am writing in response to your article about the Westfield site in Harpenden.

Harpenden Town Council is acutely aware that this is a time of financial difficulty for many and we want to use this opportunity to create a form of affordable housing which is desperately needed by local people with limited income.

We are proposing to use this site for 100 per cent affordable housing (this includes Social Housing), rather than the lesser 35 per cent which SADC suggest. We intend to create a variety of well designed types of affordable housing, which will then be run by an approved Housing Association.

To clarify, the derelict land in question is not part of the play area and Defra has confirmed that the land is not required for allotment use. Harpenden has almost 600 plot allotments, the most in Hertfordshire, with about 20 vacancies.

Harpenden Town Council wishes to create the access to the Westfield site via Beeching Close, which we contend would be the safer and more sensible route. SADC in contrast has suggested two alternatives - one would be via a steeper, narrow route which would involve a blind bend and is across the Lea Valley walk which is also part of the new National Cycleway Network, route 6. This is where thousands of pounds have been spent to avoid road crossings! Their other suggestion is to lose part of the play area to create access via Willoughby Road.

Are your readers aware SADC is recommending that 300 new houses be built in Harpenden North on Green Belt land, with only 35 per cent affordable and more elsewhere in the district? They also appear to be encouraging building houses on our employment sites causing more commuters.

I am passionate about providing the best we possibly can as a town council. I have been actively involved in championing the Harpenden Beer Festival, prior to that the Farmers' Market and Common Ponds. I am proud to chair the Harpenden Town Council Westfield Project and believe Westfield should prove to be a very positive development. Any monies made from the sale of the land will be ploughed back into local community initiatives for the residents which aim to include much needed facilities for young people.

MIKE WAKELY

Town and District Councillor

Oakfield Road

Harpenden

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