Rt Hon Lord Lilley



    Tuesday November 10th 2009



    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has welcomed the surprise vote by Luton Borough Council against plans to build 5,500 homes in North Hertfordshire but warned that this may not be the end of the battle to defend the Green Belt.

    He said: “This is a tremendous victory for all those people who campaigned so hard to defend the Green Belt to the east of Luton.

    “The proposal involved the destruction of a huge swathe of beautiful countryside in my constituency. Not only that, it had never been properly thought through and lacked any provision of essential infrastructure such as roads, schools and shops.

    “But if we have won this battle, the war is far from over. The developers behind this plan have now come up with a new proposal to build 1000 homes.

    “The timing of this strikes me as suspicious – coinciding as it does with Luton’s carefully worded motion which rejected ‘the currently proposed housing development east of Luton’ but not all development at this location.

    “I fear this new proposal may well be a Trojan horse, designed to open the gates for the full 5,500 houses in due course.

    “The developers, Bloor Homes, have asked for a meeting to discuss their plans and I will happily talk to them, but if what they have in mind even hints at a possible future overspill towards Lilley Bottom, the chances of them winning my support are zilch.

    “Luton has many brown field sites that should be developed before building on Green Belt land is even considered.

    “I argued in the House of Commons that Luton was trying to take advantage of a loophole in the planning laws which meant it could propose to build in a district for which it was not responsible and to whose residents it was not democratically accountable.

    “I am meeting the Housing Minister, Rosie Winterton, next week to discuss my concerns. Just because this unwelcome and unwarranted attack on the Green Belt has been withdrawn, there is no cause for complacency.

     “It is important that we resist any further attempts to destroy the unspoilt rural character of North Hertfordshire.”