Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Local MPs Oliver Heald and Peter Lilley joined Councillors Lynda Needham, David Levett, Tom Brindley, John Harris, Jane Gray, Gerald Morris and David Barnard for a meeting with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning Nick Boles in Westminster last week to discuss the need to build more homes in Hertfordshire whilst protecting the role of the Green Belt.

    After the meeting Oliver Heald and Peter Lilley said: “We recognise the need to build more homes and the importance of agreeing a Local Plan, without which we have limited power to prevent unplanned development, which would be the worst possible outcome.

    “The Minister emphasised that the status of the Green Belt has not been weakened; but it will be difficult to achieve a sustainable plan without building on Green Belt land, strongly though we, as local MPs, have always defended it. It will therefore be vital in any Green Belt review to ensure that the fundamental purposes of the Green Belt – to prevent settlements coalescing, to stop ribbon development and to maintain access to unspoilt countryside close to towns – remain sacrosanct.

    “We also argued the importance of protecting the identity of our towns and villages which does not preclude North Herts from doing its part to help relieve the housing shortage. But if meeting our own housing needs involves incursions into the Green Belt then this should be a powerful reason why this district cannot also be required to meet the ambitions of Luton and Stevenage to expand.”