Beds, Herts & Bucks

Letchworth march over Hertfordshire new homes plan

Protestors in Letchworth
Image caption More than 400 people took part in the protest

Hundreds of people have marched through the centre of Letchworth in protest of proposals to build up to 14,200 new homes in Luton and north Hertfordshire.

Campaigners from a number of protest groups said the Local Plan by North Hertfordshire District Council would "destroy" the garden city model.

The plan caters for a 26% increase in the number of dwellings from 2011-2031,

Steve Parfitt from Save Letchworth said he appreciated "everybody needs a home" but "the issue is the number".

More than 400 people took part in the protest at plans to create 12,100 "new dwellings" in north Hertfordshire.

'Flaws in plan'

David Levett, from North Hertfordshire District Council, said decisions needed to be made in the plan "are not easy" as there had to be a balance between "the significant need for new development and protection of the environment".

Speaking on BBC Three Counties Radio he admitted there are "flaws in the plan" but "we have to start somewhere and that is why we've gone out to consultation".

Image caption The proposed development would "be devastating", said protestor Christine Watson

The areas identified for housing development under the plan are Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Baldock and Royston.

Land has also been indentified to the north and north-east of Stevenage and around villages in north Hertfordshire.

Christine Watson from Save Rural Baldock said the proposed development "would be devastating.

"New houses would gridlock Baldock, our road system is just not going to cope with it.

"We do want some more houses, but not this number."

Mr Levett said having an "up to date" Local Plan was "the best way of ensuring that the council is able to exercise democratically-accountable local control of development".

"Without a Local Plan there is a greater risk of uncontrolled development and lack of new supporting infrastructure, therefore the difficult decisions of the Local Plan need to be made," he said.

The number of homes and other proposals included in the plan are out to consultation until 6 February.

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