Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, is highlighting new threats to Hertfordshire’s Green Belt as councils are forced to identify potential sites for new housing in order to meet government targets. At public meetings last week in Wymondley and this week in Offley he is calling on people to make their views known to planners.

    He said: “We must defend the Green Belt to prevent expansion west of Stevenage and east of Luton merging those towns with Hitchin and Harpenden and destroying the character of the villages in between.’

    Speaking at a meeting called by Wymondley parish council last Thursday (Jan 10), Mr Lilley said plans to build thousands of homes west of Stevenage meant villages such as Little and Great Wymondley were at risk of becoming suburbs in an urban sprawl.

    An important point raised by residents at the meeting was the danger of flooding if more building resulted in additional surface water running off into Ashbrook.

    Mr Lilley urged everyone to complete the questionnaire issued by SNAP, the Stevenage and North Herts Area Action Plan, and to have their say in determining the future.

    “It is essential to provide green lungs between our built up areas. Maintaining the Green Belt is crucial if we are to preserve a decent environment.’

    Responses to the SNAP consultation should be returned before Friday of this week (Jan 18).

    The Offley meeting is on Friday afternoon at Offley village hall. It is one of four consultation events organised by the developer Bloor Homes. Others are being held at Crawley Green, Putteridge and the Arndale Centre in Luton.

    The government wants more than 26,000 new homes built in the Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis area by 2021.

    Peter Lilley said: “I accept that we need to build more houses but we should do everything in our power to build them on brown field sites and within already built up areas.

    “It is monstrous that Luton and Bedfordshire should seek to meet their housing targets by encroaching into Hertfordshire and threatening to absorb villages like Lilley.”