Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has dismissed as ‘completely inadequate’ the Local Government Minister’s reply to his complaint about her officials holding secret discussions with developers and Luton Council about building up to 7,000 houses in North Herts behind the back of North Herts District Council.
“I wrote to the Minister saying it was outrageous that private developers should be invited to meet officials while North Herts District Council was kept completely in the dark. It is land in Hertfordshire which is being considered for development, but apparently the Council most directly involved will not be consulted until some indefinite future meeting.
“It is pretty rich of the local government minister, Caroline Flint, to say that her department thought ‘it would be helpful for developers’ if Bloor Homes to hear about the government’s policy on growth in the Luton area – when she has not deigned to tell the local elected Council or MP about those policies .
Peter Lilley said: “I am shocked that the minister seems to be focussing on possible development east of Luton towards Hitchin. The whole presumption on which the consultation on Milton Keynes/South Midlands Growth Area (which covers Luton) was completed was that development would be primarily to the west of Luton.
“If the government or Luton believe Luton’s housing needs can be met by building on Green Belt land in Hertfordshire, they will face immense opposition. I have worked to protect Green Belt land all my political life, and we will fight tooth and nail against any moves to expand Luton to the east.