Beds, Herts & Bucks

North Hertfordshire residents fears for 10,700 houses

People in some Hertfordshire villages fear their communities could be swallowed up if plans for over 10,000 new homes go ahead.

North Hertfordshire District Council is asking residents to consider seven sites around Stevenage, which could each get over 1,000 new homes.

Residents said the proposals could "fill in the gaps" in the region to make one large town.

The council said its decisions will be "based on public consultation".

North Hertfordshire District Council said "possibly" 10,700 houses needed to be built by 2031 to take into account expected growth, the need for affordable housing and net migration.

A consultation which began in February is asking residents to consider a number of options including seven larger strategic sites, all of which have been proposed by landowners and the development industry.

They include land south-west of Hitchin, north of Letchworth, east of Luton, and north of Stevenage.

'Unsustainable development'

John O'Donnell-Watts, from Graveley, north of Stevenage, said: "My concern is that once one site is developed they will move on and do another one until eventually they have filled in the gap between Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock into one large town."

Parish councillor Tim Moody from Weston, north east of Stevenage, said a huge development north-east of Stevenage was "unsustainable and out of place".

He said the houses should be spread around and Weston would welcome "a modest development" of about 20 houses because it would help to maintain village amenities.

"That's not a huge number but if the same sort of development was split across all the communities in north Hertfordshire it would be a significant number," he said.

Councillor Tom Brindley said the 10,700 figure was not "set in stone" and any decisions made would be based on the public consultation.

"We have three times as many sites in this consultation as are required, so it is as much about which two-thirds not to develop as it is about which to develop," he said.

"No decisions have been made, we welcome the input and are engaging with the community."

The consultation ends on 28 March.

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