Local MPs Oliver Heald and Peter Lilley MP and Council Leader Lynda Needham and Portfolio Holder Cllr Tom Brindley met Secretary of State Eric Pickles today at Westminster. After the meeting Oliver Heald and Peter Lilley said:
“We pressed strongly to protect the identity of our towns and villages and to oppose our Council having to build tens of thousands of extra houses on top of our own needs so that Luton and Stevenage can grow as suggested by Ed Miliband. North Herts Council is committed to building new homes and doing its bit to help with housing, but that should not mean ignoring protections and ending up with a concrete jungle.
Eric Pickles gave us a fair hearing, whilst keeping an open mind and said he was impressed by our arguments, particularly about the importance of planning protections in stopping towns joining up with one another. He emphasised that protection of the Green Belt has not weakened – indeed last year saw fewer houses built on Green Belt land than for 25 years.
North Herts must do its part to help with housing, but we must not end up in “Lutonage” thanks to Ed Miliband.”
The Minister also promised to send a senior official to discuss these issues further with Councillors and Council officials.