North Herts District Council has announced that 14,000 homes need are to be built across the district by 2031. Of these 3,414 new homes will be built in and around Baldock, which has already caused widespread opposition, and 1,000 houses to be built north of the Grange in Letchworth on Green Belt Land. This announcement has not been taken well by the people who live in the towns and also the local councillors. North Herts is lucky to be situated in beautiful countryside which has not been spoiled by urbanisation.
Local councillors Stephen McPartland, Sir Oliver Herald and Peter Lilley have asked the local authority to focus their efforts on finding a suitable site for a new Garden City rather than building homes and expanding existing parishes. However it will be working out the final details and finding a non Green Belt location which will prove to be difficult.
The Preferred Options Plan details the building of 1,000 new homes in the Graveley parish, to the North of Stevenage. Mr McPartland for Stevenage argues that the council have not thoroughly thought through the plan and should consider a new Garden City as an alternative. When new homes are built there are other factors which need to be considered such as roads, new schools, health practices, and social and affordable housing. New homes built in already populated parishes will cause a strain on the existing resources and facilities.
The majority of local MPs agree that the best way to fulfil the need for new homes will be to create a new Garden City. They do recognise that this will not solve all of issues but could be a better move forward. Many historic towns in North Herts are under threat from new homes which will drastically change the landscape and their rural feel. These small towns are already growing and spreading out into the surrounding countryside. If the council is not careful towns such as Hitchin, Baldock and Letchworth will spread out so much they will end up amalgamating into large, over populated metropolises.
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