Peter Lilley is encouraging residents of Hitchin and the surrounding villages to have their say on the North Herts District Local Plan. The plan, which will determine what can be built in the area and where, is open for consultation until Friday 6th February. His three key priorities will be to defend the green belt and its core purposes, resist attempts by neighbouring towns (Luton and Stevenage) to offload their problems into this area if they could be met within their own boundaries and ensure that matching infrastructure is provided for any developments that do go ahead.
“The planning system means that if we do NOT have a Local Plan it will be far harder to resist developers wherever they propose to build,” said Peter. “We will lose control, not just of the amount of development, but where it takes place if we cannot say “the Plan does not allow development there”. And to get a Plan in place we need to have the approval of the planning inspectors. They will not give that approval unless the Plan includes a reasonable number of new dwellings.
“As the MP representing all the settlements in this constituency it would be wrong for me to side with one village or neighbourhood at the expense of the others. So I am focusing on elements where we all have a common interest – defending the green belt and its core purposes, resisting attempts by neighbouring towns (Luton and Stevenage) to offload their problems into this area if they could be met within their own boundaries and ensuring that matching infrastructure is provided for any developments that do go ahead.
“Consistent with that, I have also supported suggestions that we try to meet our designated housing needs in the first half of this 20 year plan with minimal incursions onto greenfield sites while using that period to identify and plan for a new Garden City which could meet some (though not all) our housing needs in the second decade.
“It is extremely important that the final plan is sensitive to the views of local residents and that everybody has the opportunity to have their say on a document which will shape our local area over the next 20 years. As well as raising concerns, this is also an opportunity to specify what you would like to see built – primary schools, smaller and more affordable homes, redevelopment of public building etc. I encourage everyone to have their say on the content of the Local Plan and submit their views.”