MM008 - Page 31 Policy SP1 (c) (iv)

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Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 6801

Received: 28/01/2019

Respondent: Rumball Sedgwick

Representation:

Provisions not always carried through into the subsequent chapters and policies of the plan.

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 6947

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Lesley Vicat

Representation:

See attached.

Full text:

I already sent a letter previously objecting to local plans to build on Green Belt in the Local Plan.
Since then the World has become aware the most frightening problem facing not only us in our corner of Hertfordshire but the entire Earth is climate change.
I see in the amended consultation plans North Herts Council notes shopping habits are changing, which may affect the planned extension of retail buildings in major town centres in their area. This change in shopping habits is nothing compared to the changes people who care are noting in our climate.
Our central government has not grasped the changes necessary to halt the warming effect of carbon emissions by the population. Therefore there is no pressure on local politicians to follow legal requirements and make the first principle of planning, will it harm or help Planet Earth?
Agricultural land is vital for growing our foods, the most precious possession for a population. Who knows if drought will affect these eastern regions, or worsen in parts of Southern Europe making it even more vital we can provide for other people.
Water is difficult to store in parts of England, we are dependant on aquifers, will that water be able to provide for even more people moving in the area, taking into account the wider population i.e. Cambridge with the huge explosion in building there. Where does their water come from? Our part of England has low rainfall at times.
Expanding local villages just puts more traffic on the roads, increases carbon & pollutants as people drive for jobs, schools and shopping. Bus services are a disgrace outside London. Train Companies have only recently provided more capacity, how long before that becomes obsolete if huge estates are built over the fields of Baldock and Stevenage for example.
Land unsuitable for growing food should be replanted with trees. Our Ash trees locally are already suffering from Ash Die Back, who will replant the thousands in Hertfordshire to replace the dead ones?
All our towns have empty shops, old hard to heat housing, shoddy blocks of flats etc all needing replacing with modern, insulated homes. People need to live in large and small towns, with good public transport, schools, amenities etc, not miles outside causing traffic congestion and pollution. Much new housing can be built by better use of the already built environment.
Our English countryside is the most precious possession of all the people. We deserve decent planning the keeps our air clean, gives us towns we all want to live in and saves our planet for all of us.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 6965

Received: 02/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Verity Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 6969

Received: 27/02/2019

Respondent: Mr Steven Porter

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/ Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/ source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred
THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton
HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising
from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.

* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.

* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.

* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7019

Received: 27/02/2019

Respondent: Mr John Alexander

Representation:

See full text below

Full text:

Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).


THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.

Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.

It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.

It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7035

Received: 28/02/2019

Respondent: The Breachwood Green Society

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

Policy SP1 - Stated policy is to ensure the vitality of the district's villages and protect the biodiversity of the landscape. This is directly contradicted by the East of Luton Development. This would destroy the character of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove and Tea Green, disrupt community life and cause coalescence. It proposes replacing the existing ancient landscape with an artificially created 'amenity area'.
Policy SP19 directly contradicts the established principle of coalescence that is in place to protect small communities, by advocating 'the integration of existing settlements.'
This attempt to disguise a volte-face on what village communities need is being promoted to provide just 150 homes for Herts - the remaining thousands to accommodate Luton's needs which appear to be escalating (Policy SP8) and requiring even more Herts land.
The location is inappropriate for development since it encroaches on Green Belt land and is very badly located in relation to transport links to all the main routes to the West and the effect of the extra traffic burden on local country lanes in Hertfordshire.

Support

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7053

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Pirton Parish Council

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7155

Received: 24/02/2019

Respondent: Mr Andrew R Thomas

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

4) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

6) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).


THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will: ' provide additional land within the Luton
HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising
from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

8) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

9) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

10) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

11) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7180

Received: 23/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Debbie Young

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1. Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!
2. Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:
* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.
Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."
* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3. Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.
* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4. Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3
* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.
* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5. Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.
* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6. Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

* Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
* Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
* Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.
* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.
* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'
* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.
* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.
* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.
* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.
* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.
* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.
* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.
7. Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?
* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8. Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.
Modification: MM083 - Page 43
Page: LP71
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112
Page: LP150
Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66
Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'
* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11. Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA
Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12. Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7210

Received: 02/03/2019

Respondent: Ms Clementine Alicia Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7224

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Mr James Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7286

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Mr and Mr Matt and Alexander Tooley

Number of people: 2

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

*If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7341

Received: 27/02/2019

Respondent: Miss Ashleigh Lawrence

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/ source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred
THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.
* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3
* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.
* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.
* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.
* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'
* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.
* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.
* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.
* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.
* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.
* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.
* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?
* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).


THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising
from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:


2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes

Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7407

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Jane Dorman

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

Please find below my comments/representations for the Consultation on NHDC's Local Plan modifications.

1. Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001

Between 99 and 195 people made their objections/representations at Regulation 19. However, the Council has failed to publish those Objection Statements. As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter. In addition, the Inspector failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22. The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this paragraph should not be removed as Consultation has not yet occurred for a large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19. There must now be a detailed investigation conducted to establish who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, and why this exclusion occurred. These people have by default been denied the opportunity to register any of their further comments for the current Modification Consultation.

2. Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.

This statement does not accord with the facts. Specifically, the stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.

* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern.
Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern.
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place.
This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes.
The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.
In addition:
* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious that there is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted
villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.
Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."
* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1, EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3. Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns". It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.

* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality - which is that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* I object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified. This small area of some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a phenomenal 1,050% increase in home building - and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.
* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4. Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3
Modification: MM17

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* I submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3
* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents) for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.
* I contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5. Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM020

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately."

* I submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.
* Furthermore, I believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6. Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM023

Part of this policy states that NHDC has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:
- enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is my contention that in re-drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area, as explained below.
* It is my contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case - because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However, the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'
* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT
score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.
* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment, simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.
* So the situation now is: that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However, this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but I also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.
* I wish to challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.
* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can be awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.
* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. I require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.
* Furthermore, I believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the Green Belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the Green Belt. I would also strongly argue that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. I would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally, the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7. Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.
Modification: MM028

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton I would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This does not tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address the impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast, the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be effects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on the roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4,000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is that cars will be used on the already-busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'The site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents."
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire'?
* Fundamentally I contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8. Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).
Modification: MM035

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will 'provide additional land within the Luton
HMA for a further 1,950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising
from Luton'.

* It is my contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations for the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these, 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and total over 4,000 hectares (by comparison, the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares). Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* I would strongly suggest that NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built.

9. Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.
Modification: MM083

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:
* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above).

10. Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton
Modification: MM221

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'
* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11. Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA
Modification: MM410

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council - have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.

* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. The latter has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with the potential for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that, on many criteria, this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is my contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9,300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. That is totally out of all proportion.
* It is also my contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems.
* It is also my contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate, a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12. Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017

This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes = 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery: 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:
2021 80 homes = 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery: 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!
* I contend that there is, at the very least, a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which is to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe, the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (two schools, roads, A-class retails, possibly a police base etc.).

* I would strongly contend that an enquiry needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what appears to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

I look forward to receiving acknowledgement that you have received my above representations.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7471

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Mr David Dorman

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.
* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'
* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.
* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.
* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.
* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.
* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.
* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.
* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to acilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?
* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA
Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems.
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:
2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years
* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7482

Received: 05/03/2019

Respondent: Mr David Wheatley

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7493

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Ms Ann Adlem

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7532

Received: 27/02/2019

Respondent: Mrs Jennifer Willis

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the
Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/ Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/ source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/representations at Regulation 19, of which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself. As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.

This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their
motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong.
And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North
Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's
environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost forever, as will be the network of open spaces.
In addition:
* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.
Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."
* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.
Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial
Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of
Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial
strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in
North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district -a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else inpercentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.
* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North
Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and
community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A
retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels
EL1/EL2 and EL3
Modification: MM17 - page 10
Page: LP38
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4
Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14
hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED
MODIFICATION
This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.
* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels
EL1/EL2 and EL3
* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.
* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community
shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for
the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of
Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13
Page: LP39
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44
Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately". * We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.
* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to
the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels
EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14
Page: LP41
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5
Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and
legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing
statement ED55; ED152)
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of
Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.
* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case - because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities
to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over- planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does
not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the
villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the
ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable
transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels
EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.
Modification: MM028 page 15
Page: LP43
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6
Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16
Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:
* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing
roads into North Hertfordshire?
* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is
not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that
needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton
(land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).
Modification: MM035 - Page 19
Page: LP pages 47-48
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared,
justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter
2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54,
ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.
* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west.
Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing.
The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.

* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton -
objections as already expressed.
Modification: MM083 - Page 43
Page: LP71
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared,
justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83,
ED144)
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable
to this Policy LP71, namely:
* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution
from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see
Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112
Page: LP150
Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66
Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION
The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'
* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the
Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed
development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21%
of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy:
Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-
ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes
on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the
following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes

Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent
Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between
NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:
2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7543

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Nikki Hamlett

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4)Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.

* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.

* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.

* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes

Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7554

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/ Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!
2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.
* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3
* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.
* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.
* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.
* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.
* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.
* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'
* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.
* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.
* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.
* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.
* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.
* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.
* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.
* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.
* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."
* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.
* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.
* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?
* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.
* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.
* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.
* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.
* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.
* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".
* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?
* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton
HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising
from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of
Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes


Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7583

Received: 08/04/2019

Respondent: Mr Reg F Norgan

Representation:

See Attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7614

Received: 05/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Corinna Biermann Wheatley

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7628

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Mr Neil Jay

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/ source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!
2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.

* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.

* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.

* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7639

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Mr George Webb

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1)Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/ source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target . Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7697

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Miss Alison Beasey

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

1) Subject: Modification Objection - Hundreds of Representors Lost from the Examination Process.
Modification: MM001 - p.0
Page LP 1: 0
Policy/Paragraph: About this consultation
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Delete
Inspector's Reason/source: For INSERTED: effectiveness; Consultation has occurred

THIS REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION:
Our community has identified between 99 - 195 people who made their objection/ representations at Regulation 19, but which those same Objection Statements, the Council failed to publish.
If you find this respondent's name not on the list of Representors for the Examination, then it is possible this writer is amongst those respondents wrongly excluded from participation after Regulation 19. This is something you will need to investigate thoroughly for yourself.
As a result these participants (residents of East Luton and North Hertfordshire) have been left out of all communications from the Council thereafter.
Furthermore the Inspector also failed to inform these representors of their right to participate at Regulation 22.
The basis for modification MM001 therefore cannot apply so this Paragraph should not be removed.
The reason it should not be removed is because Consultation has not yet occurred for a very large number of representors who did make their Objections known to the Council at Regulation 19.
This Consultation must now be halted and there must be a detailed investigation conducted to establish exactly who was left out of the Examination Procedures at Regulation 22, why and who was responsible for excluding them.
Having been entirely left out of the Examination Consultation and participation process at Regulation 22, they were also denied all opportunity to put in any of their further "Matter Statements" at the start of this Examination. Consequentially they have also been left out of this current Modification Consultation.
This shocking event has occurred and leaves a heavy pressing question mark hanging over the already shadowy legitimacy of North Herts District Council's Local Plan and the hidden plans of its architects.
The Consultation cannot continue without all representors who made their views known in writing at Regulation 19. These representors must be afforded their due rights for fair Consultation at all stages beyond Regulation 19, under the Town and Country Planning Act and other Laws.
For this reason it is our urgent demand to the Inspector, and Secretary of State, and our MPs - that this Consultation be immediately suspended; until the exact numbers left out of this Consultation can be clearly identified and established. Also that the person/s responsible for this unacceptable breach be clearly identified. And their motives for removing such a huge number of representors be brought to the forefront for examination.
We are trying to establish the exact number of representors who were left out of the Consultation process, but the current number is running at, at least 74; with numerous additional people surfacing. But this is your job not ours' to investigate what has gone wrong. And you will need time to do that. So this Consultation must be suspended.
All members of the Public and stakeholders must be allowed by Law to participate in every stage of a Public Consultation without discrimination. Any Inspector judging the soundness of a Plan's preparation would know that it is simply not sound preparation by anyone's standards - to leave any, let alone such a huge number of Objectors out!

2) Modification objection - Policy SP1 - Sustainable development in North Hertfordshire - failure to protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1, EL2 and EL3)
Modification: MM008 - page 5 Parts (ii) and (iv)
Page LP 31
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP1 (c) (ii) and (iv)
Inspector's Proposed Modification: Revised
Inspector's reason/source: For effectiveness as proposed in LP3

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part (iv) states that this Plan 'will protect key elements of North Hertfordshire's environment including biodiversity, important landscapes, heritage assets and green infrastructure'.
This statement does not accord with the facts specifically below:
This stated policy does not meet the following three key objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in so far as it relates to the land parcel EL1/EL2 and EL3.
* ENV 1: Direct development towards the most sustainable locations which seek to maintain the existing settlement pattern. Arguably this objective cannot be said to be met by a development which totally destroys the existing settlement pattern).
* ENV 2: Protect and enhance the historic character of North Hertfordshire's towns, villages, hamlets and landscape by promoting good design that creates a distinctive sense of place. This objective cannot possibly be said to be met through a development that destroys and degrades the historic character of the three villages, and destroys the Green Belt landscape. The distinctive sense of place currently enjoyed by the three villages will be utterly destroyed by the swathe of new housing and other buildings that will surround and engulf the villages, no matter how good the design of the new development might be.
* ENV 3: Protect, maintain and enhance the District's historic and natural environment, its cultural assets and network of open spaces, urban and rural landscapes. The rural landscape to the west of the three villages will be lost for ever, as will be the network of open spaces.

In addition:

* The wildlife in this area will be displaced. We have healthy populations of deer, bats, owls, red kites and woodpeckers, to name but a few. So-called wildlife corridors are no substitute.
* The Chiltern Way national path runs from the south right through Cockernhoe and Mangrove Green thence to the north east - what impact will these new developments have on this prestige footpath route which is well used by walkers?
* This proposed development will not help to achieve policy ECON6 in the National Planning Policy Framework economic objectives which is to "Sustain the vitality of our villages and the rural economy in supporting rural diversification, whilst ensuring development is of an appropriate scale and character". It is obvious there
is no way this objective can be said to be met. Grade 3 agricultural land will be lost to make way for the new homes, the vitality and loss of identity of the three blighted villages will never be regained and the development on such a huge scale can never be described as being of an appropriate scale and character.

Part (ii) states that (inter alia): "provide opportunities for health lifestyle choices."

* If this development is allowed to go ahead in EL1. EL2 and EL3 it will have a detrimental effect on greenspace for people already living in the new area. Luton already has a very poor record in this regard. The Green Infrastructure Plan for Luton mentions the strategic role and importance of green space across the borough and its interrelationship with green space in neighbouring authorities to make publicly accessible open space assets available to all Luton residents as the population grows. Already in Luton, the town fails in 7 out of 10 categories to meet the current greenspace requirements - to the tune of 352 hectares. The loss of 116 hectares from the Cockernhoe Green Belt to housing will simply magnify that problem - not improve the situation - and Luton people already living In Wigmore will suffer from the loss of the greenspace.

Combined together these elements of Policy SP1 cannot therefore be said to be 'sound'.

3) Modification objection - Policy SP2 - Settlement Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution - fundamental objection to the plans for 2,100 homes to the East of Luton in the area around Cockernhoe (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.
Modification: MM010 - page 6
Page LP 32
Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP2
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness to better explain the spatial strategy of the Plan following Matter 2 Hearing Session (ED53; ED138)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states that "approximately 80% of the District's housing settlement and the substantial majority of new employment, retail and other development will be located within the adjusted settlement boundaries of the following towns".
It then goes on to include Luton with the proposed 2,100 homes.
* The clear impression given by this statement is that these new homes are to be located within Luton's boundary area as opposed to the reality that these homes are scheduled for build on land in North Hertfordshire. This also gives the impression that this new development effectively will become part of Luton, rather than remaining in North Hertfordshire.
* We object to the sheer scale of this proposed development which is out of all proportion to the area. We do not believe the building of so many homes in the Cockernhoe area, and at such a scale, can be justified when compared to the likely impact of proposed developments on other areas of North Herts. This small area of just some 200 homes and a population of 400 in what is protected Green Belt land will suffer the largest increase in percentage terms across the whole NHDC district - a 1050% increase in home building -and much higher than anywhere else in percentage terms. In real housing terms this proposed development will be much bigger than developments planned for much larger centres such as Stevenage, Royston and Hitchin.

* This new development accounts for 13.16 % of all the new housing totals for North Hertfordshire under this Local Plan.

4) Modification objection - Policy SP4 - Town centres, local centres and community shops - fundamental objection to the proposed building of Class A retail in among the housing development planned for east of Luton in parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

Modification: MM17 - page 10

Page: LP38

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 14 hearing sessions (ED56, ED77, ED117 and ED151)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This policy states, inter alia, that amongst the new retail developments 'identified in this plan will be one East of Luton in the strategic site'.

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here, because whereas there is further information given as to the types of retail provision planned for the major centres located in North Herts, there is absolutely no information given as to the scale of type of retail provision planned for the site east of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3

* In fact in the full Local Plan draft it does state that the provision in the East of Luton plans call for a new local centre. This will include 250 square metres of Class A1 convenience retail provision and 850 sq.m of other A-class floor-space and other necessary social infrastructure (implies small shops, fast food delivery, newsagents for the 250 sq. m; what will be involved in the 850 sq.m is unsure.

* We contend that this scale of development, alongside the 2,100 homes planned is totally out of scale and proportion to the area.

5) Modification Objection - Policy SP4 - Town Centres, local centres and community shops - objection to the inherent threat posed by the stated future proposal for the new retail centre in among the housing development planned for the East of Luton in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM020 - pages 12-13

Page: LP39

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP4; paragraph 4.44

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The statement at paragraph 4.44 states: "The growth of the District will require additional centres to be provided to serve the urban extensions at Baldock and on the edge of Luton. Once built these will become local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals within them will be assessed appropriately".

* We submit that effectiveness has not been demonstrated here because the so-called growth of the District to the east of Luton is almost totally geared to meeting a proportion of Luton's unmet housing needs, not because of the needs of the current residents of the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green.

* Furthermore, we believe this local centre be the thin edge of the wedge. The plan states that once built the new centres will be "local centres in our retail hierarchy and future proposals for them will be assessed appropriately." This is vague and threatening in terms of even more development likely to occur in the future.

6) Modification Objection - Policy SP5 - Countryside and Green Belt - objection to the removal of Green Belt protection from the East of Luton area in land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3.

Modification: MM023 - pages 13-14

Page: LP41

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP5

Inspector's proposed modifications: For consistency with national policy and legal compliance following Matter 15 hearing session (NHDC Matter 15 hearing statement ED55; ED152)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Part of this policy states that NHDC' has conducted a comprehensive review of the Green Belt. Land has been removed from the Green belt to:

- Enable strategic development at the SP8 location - which is land East of Luton
- Have provided new Green Belt to cover, in general terms, the area bounded by the Metropolitan Green belt to the east, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 Offley by-pass to the north;
- Will only permit development proposals in the Green Belt where they would not result in inappropriate development or where very special circumstances have been demonstrated'.

* It is our contention that in re -drafting this section to make it consistent with national policy, it has in fact exposed the weakness of the NHDC position in relation to the Green Belt in this area as explained below.

* It is our contention that NHDC is being economic with the truth here. What it fails to mention is that the comprehensive review of the Green Belt in the land to the East of Luton (parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) first carried out several years ago identified that against the fundamental purposes 1 and 3 the Green Belt surrounding Cockernhoe made a SIGNIFICANT contribution to Green Belt purposes whereas the areas of Green Belt to the north and south (which are not proposed for development) registered only as MODERATE.

* The review also measured against purpose 2 - which is only peripheral in this case -because, although this area is located in the gap between Luton and Hitchin, the Green Belt plays a limited role due to the distance between the towns. Similarly against purpose 4 - the Green Belt is also peripheral because there are no historic towns in the area. In both cases it was deemed that the Green Belt score should be lower.

* There surely is an argument that although the three villages are not a town, the Green Belt most certainly preserves the character and setting of these three villages - some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years. However the NHDC review states that as the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green are not towns they are 'not significant from a Green Belt perspective.'

* This is perverse because there would have been no way that these villages would have been able to expand into being small towns because of the Green Belt protection.

* The end result - and it was equally perverse - was that despite measures 1 and 3 being the most important and relevant criteria for this area of the Green Belt achieving a SIGNIFICANT score, the overall score across the four measures was downgraded to what is termed a MODEST contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to our circumstances, were not rated as highly.

* More recently, NHDC revised its Green Belt assessment in a Review published in September 2018. This was done - among other reasons they say - due to criticism of the methodologies previously used and new better practice, but it clearly was also due to representations made by respondents (including a barrister representing Save our Green Belt who cited case law). There was very little publicity about this revised assessment; simply a document placed online in amongst hundreds of others and hardly noticeable.

* So where we are now is that the area around Cockernhoe has been re-assessed as making an overall SIGNIFICANT contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt, but it has taken over 2.5 years for NHDC to come belatedly to this conclusion.

* However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because it is deemed a strategic site and these sites are fundamental to the Plan's strategy. Also, it is the only one available to NHDC in this area that allows them under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities to contribute to the unmet needs of the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA), but we also contend that the Duty to Co-operate has been grossly over-stipulated and over-planned by NHDC to the detriment of the existing settlements and residents around the Cockernhoe area.

* We would challenge NHDC strongly on the conclusions it has reached concerning changes to the existing Green Belt designations.

* When arriving at these conclusions NHDC has very conveniently glossed over the extremely pertinent and important fact that our area is now recognised as making a Significant Overall contribution to the Green Belt - probably one of the highest Green Belt ratings that can we awarded - yet it has concluded that despite this accolade the development to the 'East of Luton' should proceed simply because, it believes, its requirement to meet its housing targets overrides all other considerations.

* To the cynic it might appear that this was merely a masterly piece of duplicitous, sleight of hand employed solely to suit NHDC's preferred outcome. We require NHDC to explain/justify the criteria it employed when considering and arriving at its, possibly pre-determined, conclusion.

* Furthermore, we believe that this plan to remove the Green Belt from the Cockernhoe area will not sit well with the statement by Brandon Lewis, the then Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning in a letter to MPs June 7, 2016, which said: "The Government has put in place the strongest protections for the Green Belt. The framework makes it clear that inappropriate development may be allowed only in exceptional circumstances through the Local Plan process and with the support of local people. We have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change the Green Belt boundaries."

* It is our contention that that the loss of the green belt around Cockernhoe together with the engulfing of three villages does not represent 'exceptional circumstances' to justify removing the green belt. We would also contend that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to this rural area and it certainly does not have the support of local people.

* This is especially so since both Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council have stated that in all probability they could build more houses in their respective areas to meet Luton's unmet housing needs and at better, more convenient locations, closer to the urban areas of Luton and to the better transport links. At the very least this holds out a realistic prospect that NHDC will not have to build 2,100 homes east of Luton and should result in the immediate halting of the development plans for this area East of Luton.

* NHDC also states that it plans to replace the Green Belt to the East of Luton area with another new Green Belt to the immediate east of the proposed development to protect the countryside from the urban sprawl it proposes to create and to prevent coalescence with Hitchin and Stevenage. We would argue that if the proposed development is allowed to go ahead, creating - in effect - a greater Luton eastwards it will only be a matter of time before this new proposed Green Belt area becomes under threat from further Luton expansion. What trust would the residents in the villages in this area put in NHDC given their actions towards the residents of the villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green?

* Fundamentally the removal of the Green Belt in the Cockernhoe area to facilitate this proposed huge housing/infrastructure development is not 'sound' and should be rejected.

7) Modification objection - Policy SP6 - Sustainable Transport - objection on the ground that the aspirations of the NHDC planners to create sustainable transport provision in the proposed development East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) is unlikely to be achieved in practice.

Modification: MM028 page 15

Page: LP43

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP6

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 16 Hearing Session (ED55, ED105, ED153).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The wording in SP6 is aspirational, talking of sustainable transport, cycle ways, walking etc. However, in relation to the proposed development east of Luton we would contend that, in large part, these aspirations are unlikely to be delivered for a variety of the following reasons:

* Road access will be from Luton Road (presumably much wider!!) and integrated into Luton's road network through Crawley Green Road, plus transport mitigation efforts to address impacts upon Luton. The NHDC Local Plan states that it believes the development can be accommodated 'without a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

* This doesn't tie in with the inadequacy of the roads to the east, plus the needs for mitigation methods to address impacts on Luton. The possible expansion of the secondary school to meet needs from the rural east will mean extra traffic (school runs) on the already inadequate single track roads.

* By contrast the Luton Local Plan indicates that the large East of Luton development will affect the local road network and there are likely to be affects in terms of increased traffic congestion and associated pollution. It also states in relation to the expansion of Luton Airport that this will create significant extra traffic to the airport, including an east-west direction through North Hertfordshire. This will add to the pressure on transport and infrastructure in the Luton Local Plan. Luton has also indicated that it foresees the need for a new road linking the proposed development to the A505. Where that might be built is not apparent at the moment.

* Therefore it does not appear that NHDC and Luton Borough Council are in agreement on this roads and traffic planning transport issue.

* With 2,100 new homes and probably an average of 2 cars per household we are looking at an extra 4000 cars in this area. If even a relatively small proportion of those cars make regular trips to the east (some people probably will work in Hitchin or Stevenage) the chances are they will use the single track roads down to Lilley Bottom and thence to Hitchin - roads already unsuitable and surprisingly busy at rush hours. Traffic westwards into Luton especially at rush hours will add further pressure to already busy access roads.

* The NHDC belief that the new development will enable sustainable transport journeys to be made to key services and locations is unlikely to be realised to a large extent in practice. If people in the new development work in the centre of Luton or commute into London, then the likelihood is cars will be used on the already busy roads, especially in rush hours. CAG Consultants said: 'the site is a long distance from the Luton town centre and the topography is undulating which would be a discouragement to walking or cycling into the town. The site is over 3km from Luton station so residents are likely to use private vehicles to commute and access services in Luton. The local road network into North Hertfordshire is sub-standard and development could reduce accessibility for existing residents".

* There seems to be no provision in the Local Plan to cater for the existing residents of the Cockernhoe area who wish to travel eastwards towards Hitchin /Stevenage, given that the same CAG consultants also stated that this development 'could reduce accessibility for existing residents due to the sub-standard of the existing roads into North Hertfordshire?

* Fundamentally we contend that the sustainable transport aspirations in the NHDC Local Plan in relation to the proposed development east of Luton is unlikely to be deliverable in reality and therefore should be regarded as not 'sound'.

8) Modification objection - Policy SP8 Housing - objection on the grounds that it is not at all certain that Luton has an unmet housing need of 1,950 homes that needs to be provided for by the proposed development to the East of Luton (land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3).

Modification: MM035 - Page 19

Page: LP pages 47-48

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP8
Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy following Matter 2,3,4,8,10 and 12 hearing sessions and consequential to MM010 (ED53, ED54, ED60, ED83, ED139, ED140, ED144, ED149).

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Section (b) of this policy states that HNDC will : ' provide additional land within the Luton HMA for a further 1950 net new homes as a contribution towards the unmet needs arising from Luton'.

* It is our contention that the unmet housing need from Luton can better be achieved through additional house building within the Luton town boundaries, or from within the Central Bedfordshire District Council land adjoining Luton to the north and west. Both of these two authorities have indicated that they can probably provide more housing to meet Luton's unmet needs and in better locations to the urban area and transport links, thus cancelling out the requirement for homes needed from NHDC land.
* Luton Borough Council has over-delivered on housing supply in the past 10 years and its plans to build 8,500 homes within its town boundaries to meet part of its own unmet housing needs are almost exclusively on brownfield sites. Nonetheless Luton BC has indicated that it is possible that additional houses could be built on some of these sites and there are other brownfield sites that could also be used for housing. The projected re-siting of Luton Town Football Club from Kenilworth Road to the Power Court site in the next few years will further free up another big space for more housing - none of which in included in Luton BC's housing projections at the moment, other than an aspirational indication of housing possibilities on the Kenilworth Road site towards the end of the 2031 period.
* Central Bedfordshire has identified 669 sites for which planning permission for new housing has not yet been given. Of these 25 sites are within easy distance of the Luton conurbation and totals over 4,000 hectares (by comparison the East of Luton site totals 116.7 hectares) Quite a few of these sites are not in the Green Belt.
* NHDC's generous offer of 1,950 homes in an area of unspoilt Green Belt countryside is perverse when it is obvious that there is much more land available in Central Bedfordshire, as well as the prospect that Luton BC could build more homes than its target. Furthermore, the firm offer from NHDC is ridiculous when it is quite clear that Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council are not in agreement as to how many homes they can each build and where they should be built.
* NHDC has been far too eager to offer this land for Luton's unmet housing needs to the detriment of the Green Belt and the existing villages and residents around Cockernhoe. It would have been far better for NHDC to have made a conditional offer of the possibility of building homes in the Cockernhoe area, although Green Belt considerations would have to weigh heavily, to meet some of Luton's unmet housing needs, once the two authorities of LBC and CBC resolved their disagreements about how many homes they can build and where they should be built?

9) Modification objection - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2 and EL3 - East of Luton - objections as already expressed.

Modification: MM083 - Page 43

Page: LP71

Policy/Paragraph: Policy SP19

Inspector's proposed modifications: To ensure Plan is positively prepared, justified and effective (LP3, MOU5, NHDC Matter 10 statement (ED54, ED83, ED144)

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

There are two arguments which have been used above but which are still applicable to this Policy LP71, namely:

* point (d) in the policy regarding transport (see Modification objection (7) above);
* point (f) in the policy related to Luton's unmet housing needs and the contribution from within North Herts District Council of 1,950 homes from this proposed site (see Modification objection (8) above.

10) Modification objection - Cockernhoe and East of Luton

Modification: MM221 - Page 112

Page: LP150

Policy/Paragraph: Paragraph 13.66

Inspector's proposed modifications: For effectiveness following Matter 5 Hearing
Session.

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

The final two sentences of the paragraph read: 'The boundary has been drawn so as to include both the village of Cockernhoe & Mangrove Green and the adjoining expansion of Luton. Outside this boundary the rest of the Cockernhoe ward is classed as Green Belt.'

* For the avoidance of doubt it should be accurately noted that the proposed expansion is not adjoining from Luton; but rather is adjoining towards Luton.

11) Modification objection - Reference to the Luton HMA

Modification: MM410 - Page 164
Page: LP224
Policy/Paragraph: 14.39
Inspector's proposed modification: For effectiveness
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS PROPOSED MODIFICATION

This section dealing with the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) explains how the authorities in this HMA - namely Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have worked together and jointly commissioned and subsequently agreed a Growth Options Study which demonstrates sufficient potential capacity within the Luton HMA to accommodate Luton's unmet housing needs.
* What this section does not say was that this Growth Options Study identified two small parcels of land that are not geographically in the Luton or Central Bedfordshire authorities areas - namely the land to the East of Luton (i.e. Cockernhoe land parcels EL1/EL2 and EL3) and a bigger piece of land within Aylesbury Vale DC (AVDC) at Edlesborough. It has 3,100 people representing barely 1% of the total population of the Luton HMA (over 322,000). Despite this small number it is still approximately twice the size/contribution of the NHDC land that forms part of the Luton HMA and ten times the size of the even smaller parcel of land around Cockernhoe that is slated for development.
* In reality both the NHDC and AVDC contributions to the Luton HMA are statistically insignificant.
* Despite the fact that this Edlesborough land is not within the Green Belt and could accommodate 1,200 homes with potentiality for almost 4,500, the four authorities between them saw fit to reject development on this land, despite the fact that on many criteria this parcel of land scored as well, if not better, than the proposed development East of Luton.
* It is our contention that the inclusion of the land east of Luton in with the Luton HMA has resulted is this small parcel and the three villages with its population of circa 500 (around 0.1% of the Luton HMA population) being earmarked to provide 1,950 homes out of the total of 9300 that is the unmet housing need of Luton - that is 21% of the total build. Totally out of all proportion.
* It is also our contention that NHDC's firm offer of housing from around Cockernhoe has simply allowed both LBC and CBC to assume that they don't have to build as many homes in their own geographic areas, thus making life easier for them, rather than forcing them to make bigger efforts to solve their own housing problems?
* It is also our contention that AVDC - which doesn't even include the fact that a parcel of its land is part of the Luton HMA in its Local Plan or in the Statement of Common Ground signed with NHDC - has benefited from NHDC's capitulation in not defending its own land parcel strongly enough. NHDC has been too keen to be seen to be complying with the Duty to Co-operate; a stance that is not emulated by other authorities.

12) Examination of Evidence Document ED140 - Matter 4 The Housing Strategy: Supply of land for housing - dated 1 April 2017
Appendix 3 - Revised North Herts Housing Trajectory

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
This document has been included in those among the Evidence Documents (ED137-ED158) on which the Inspector has requested any representations.
Appendix 3 of this document provides a table showing the planned building of homes on the three sites to the east of Luton (EL1/EL2 and EL3). This chart shows the following delivery profile for the building of the 2,100 homes proposed:

2021 140 homes 140 homes
2022-2027 190 homes per year = 1140 homes
2028-2031 205 homes per year = 820 homes
Total delivery 2100 homes over 11 years

* However, these figures and delivery profile do not agree with the more recent Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) - ED28 - signed in November 2017 between NHDC, Bloor Homes and The Crown Estate.
* This SOCG paints a rather different picture, showing the following:

2021 80 homes 80 homes
2022-2027 130 homes per year = 780 homes
2028-2031 135 homes per year = 540 homes
Total delivery 1400 homes

* There is a shortfall of 700 homes during the Plan period.
* Ominously, the SOCG states that after 2031 the build of homes will continue at the rate of 135 homes per year until the site is completed. This is a further 5 years, meaning that according to this SOCG, construction of the 2,100 homes on this proposed development will last a total of 16 years until 2035!!
* We contend that there is at the very least a significant discrepancy between these two papers - one of which the Inspector has required to be submitted for Evidence and consultation and the other (the SOCG), which is of a more recent date, and which to be found buried amongst the evidence documents.
* This is a serious discrepancy which goes to the very heart of the proposal by NHDC to build these homes to the east of Luton. We now find that instead of construction earmarked to be over the life of the Local Plan - 11 years - which is bad enough for the residents of the villages around Cockernhoe - the actual truth of the matter, hidden away in the SOCG, is that a further five years of misery are to endured by the local population to make 16 years of construction in the area - let alone the construction of the infrastructure that is also planned (2 schools, roads, A class retails, possibly a police base etc.).
* An enquiry surely needs to be held to determine whether officials/elected representatives of NHDC are complicit in this - what seems to be - deception. In the meantime, this is further evidence that the plans for proposed housing East of Luton should be scrapped.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7719

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Mr Julian Tribe

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7730

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Mrs Kim Tulley-Martin

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7755

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Mr and Mrs Robert and Lesley Bacon

Number of people: 2

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

We agree with the objections set out below. The air pollution in this area has been stated on many different occasions as over the EU standard reading. The traffic through the village at peak times is already reaching towards the maximum as there are more and more heavy vehicles that use the Stevenage Road instead of the by-pass. Any additional houses will only add to these problems.

Response from Residents of Wymondley Parish

NHDC Emerging Local Plan Consultation on Main Modifications 2019 - Objections/Comments

Green Belt and "exceptional circumstances": Main Modification 023 (Policy SP5)

The Green Belt review update 2018 provides further confirmation that the area surrounding Little Wymondley, including the proposed development site WY1, makes a significant contribution to the Green Belt, yet the Main Modifications and Emerging Local Plan fails to explain the "exceptional circumstances" or "very special circumstances" that justify it's removal from the Green Belt. The only justification NHDC have given is that the site is available and that there is a need to build houses in their jurisdiction. The NPPF 2012 against which this NHDC Plan is being tested clearly states that housing need alone does not justify removing land from Green Belt. It is unrealistic that a Green Belt Review can in effect be in entirely re-written yet still arrive at exactly the same conclusion without modification of the Green Belt boundaries proposed for change.

Indeed in their supporting document for the Green Belt Review, HOU1 (Housing and Green Belt Background Paper, including the Housing and Settlement Hierarchy Background Paper, November 2014), NHDC state:

"The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advises as follows:
If it is necessary to prevent development in a village primarily because of the important contribution which the open character of the village makes to the openness of the Green Belt, the village should be included in the Green Belt. "

This is partly why the village of Little Wymondley was excluded from development in the NHDC Local Plan 1996 and in the saved policies (2007) from this plan.

The modifications to the plan also extend the physical site size of WY1, as a result of a developer's request to build up to a geographical brow. This contour is not a natural physical element of the site, but manmade from the distribution of soil excavated from the bypass construction, which, I believe, may contain contaminated materials unrecorded from the early 20th century.

Additionally, the ONS household formation figures released recently indicate that NHDC have overestimated the number of houses needing to be built in their jurisdiction.

Brownfield sites in the district also seem to have not yet been exhausted, and it is my belief that these should be used in priority over Green Belt land.

Openness (Green Belt/Green Spaces): MM023

The NHDC main modifications to the plan reduces the openness of the area as a result of further extension, and does not take account of the sight-lines from the listed buildings identified in a land assessment survey conducted by NHDC, which is why the original site was considerably reduced in size initially. There has been no practical suggestion as to why the extension has now been permitted.

The NPPF 2012 states in Paragraph 97 (b) that "the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location;" - NHDC's plan and Main Modifications have no compensatory equivalent open space in the locality of Wymondley Parish, or the surrounding areas.

When looked at as a whole for this locality, NHDC's proposals for site WY1 (Little Wymondley), NS1 (1,700 dwellings near Graveley) and Stevenage Borough Council's proposals in their Local Plan for sites HO3 (abutting Graveley), EC1/4 & EC1/7 (industrial estates on the land adjacent to the A1(M) Junction 8 and on Little Wymondley village boundary at Chantry Lane), plus the additional live planning application (Application No 19/00123/FPM) for 133 dwellings on the land to west of A1(M) and south of Stevenage Road (Todds Green) (formerly part of the Wymondley Parish, until NHDC removed this when the parish applied for it's neighbourhood plan area), the rural character of the entire area around Wymondley Parish will be completely eroded, destroying the villages and creating an urbanised area - this is exactly the situation that the Green Belt protection was originally designed to prevent (urban sprawl).

Infrastructure/Traffic & Air Quality Issues:

The cumulative effects of all the above listed sites will also add unsustainable and unacceptable additional traffic movements in and around the parish of Wymondley. This added to the existing congestion issues, particularly around Junction 8 of the A1(M), and throughout the road network in the parish, will exacerbate existing air quality/pollution issues. Plus, the proposed expansion of London Luton Airport (work is proposed to start on a second terminal in mid-2020) from 18 million to 32 million passengers, will also lead to increased traffic from the A1(M) Junction 8 onto the A602 as a main route to the airport and increased air pollution.

Despite the Main Modification 119, Policy T1 of NHDC's Emerging Local Plan stating:
"planning permission will be granted provided that:
a. development would not lead to highway safety problems or cause unacceptable impacts upon the highway network and safety;
b. mechanisms to secure any necessary sustainable transport measures and / or improvements to the existing highway network are secured in accordance with Policy SP7 (SP7: The Council will require development proposals to make provision for infrastructure that is necessary in order to accommodate additional demands resulting from the development.)"
- no such consideration appears to have been applied in NHDC's allocation of sites for housing development in the Wymondley Parish area and its immediate neighbours.
Further, Main Modification 369 states: "Some minor roads leading to and from the villages within Wymondley parish may require other traffic management measures which will also need to be investigated and will be reflected in future iterations of the Infrastructure Development Plan. Mitigation could include environmental improvements to the village centre. The mitigation of these issues will be part of the wider package of measures identified through the wider consideration of network issues concerning A1(M) J8 and alternate routeings to this."

It is unacceptable to plan for these major developments now (WY1, NS1, HO3 etc.) without a robust infrastructure plan in place to accompany these and mitigate adverse impacts on air quality and climate change. It is also potentially dangerous to health, particularly to children. In SP7, MM033, it is suggested that people should "change their behaviour" and walk or cycle instead of using their cars - this is an unrealistic expectation, altruistic at best and is unreasonable, especially re: site WY1 where the resident's homes are some 4 miles from any town centre. It is certainly unreasonable to expect people to walk 4 miles to train stations to start their commutes to London (for whom the majority of these houses are seemingly being built), particularly in inclement weather.

NHDC's lack of infrastructure plan would appear out of touch with the core planning guidance on "sustainable development" as defined by the NPPF 2012 and Government Planning Guidance. Indeed, NHDC's Emerging Local Plan Strategic Policy SP1, paragraph 4.1 reflects the legal definitions sustainable development as "improving our lives today while not comprising our ability to do so in the future". SP1 also states that they grant planning permission for proposals that, individually or cumulatively: "provide the necessary infrastructure required to support an increasing population" and "secure any necessary mitigation measures necessary that reduce the impact of development, including on climate change".

The current Emerging Local Plan, Main Modifications and other neighbouring authorities' plans affecting the immediate locality of Wymondley Parish, are completely at odds with Policy SP1 for the reasons stated earlier. Put quite simply, humans need to breath clean air, and increasing vehicular movements, in an area where there is existing heavy traffic congestion and air pollution issues, cannot possibly be seen as "improving our lives today" or in the future. Breathing dangerously toxic air in the place that you live or work over a period of time shortens life expectancy as evidenced by Public Health England.

In the Main Modifications of NHDC's Emerging Local Plan Strategic Policy 7 includes a requirement

"for developers to include infrastructure plans for developments to address cumulative impacts that might arise across multiple developments and to avoid placing unreasonable additional burdens on the existing community or existing infrastructure"

- however, no such infrastructure plans have accompanied any plans for site WY1, or any other plans in the locality, suggesting that no developer has a plan, and it would appear NHDC also do not have a plan.

Total additional traffic from the combined sites could total more than 5,000 additional vehicles (or 10,000+ vehicle movements on a daily basis) in an area where the A1(M) and A602 are already at a standstill during peak commuting times. More standing traffic, standing for longer, will obviously increase air pollution levels - levels which are already in excess of the WHO and EU safe legal limits.

On the Bovis Homes plan for site WY1, the pedestrian and cycle access point in the private lane alongside the listed "Croft" dwelling is an agreed vehicular access to Ashwater House and the Lane incorporates a blind bend making it totally inadequate for the purpose suggested. Consequently the new residents of the WY1 development will find great difficulty with accessing sustainable transport links in the village or their own homes on the occasion of flooding.

OBJECTION TO: Change of Categorisation of Village: (Main Modification 010 & MM012)

The main modification 010 (SP02) now lists the village of Little Wymondley as a 'Growth Village' to disassociate it from a category A village, yet no public consultation has taken place in relation to this concept and the public are generally unaware that there are now five villages within the Local Plan that are destined to lose their 'Village' status. Nor has NHDC provided any justification for stating that Little Wymondley is now a village that "can support growth". There was no explanation during the NHDC local Plan Examination in Public. The examiner remarked that the local plan seemed unfair that some Category A villages were being expected to have a high level of growth (for Little Wymondley, this growth is 88%), while others had none. Instead of NHDC reviewing this unfairness, and re-distributing house allocations fairly and evenly, they have simply attempted to resolve this issue but changing the classification of 5 villages to "Growth villages" with little regard as to whether these villages could realistically contribute towards "sustainable" growth (i.e. the harm caused by the development does not outweigh the benefits of the development).

The Examination in Public (EiP) of NHDC's Local Plan provided a Memorandum of Understanding from NHDC with Bovis Homes to develop site WY1, despite the landowner confirming that it is now unlikely that Bovis Homes would be the final developer. Therefore deliverability of a readily available site is entirely questionable.
Air Quality:

The EiP introduced a heavily modified report stating, "planning permission would be refused in areas of poor Air Quality". It is assumed that this refers to Air Quality pollutant levels close to or exceeding the EU maximum allowable. At the EiP the QC representing the NHDC stated that the presence of an Air Quality Monitoring Area was recognised "which is why developments are being considered away from these areas". Recent monitoring results of the WY1 site area abutting the A602 carried out by the Wymondley Neighbourhood Plan Committee in co-ordination with Friends of the Earth, has established consistent readings following the correct DEFRA process and independently tested. These readings exceed the EU maximum allowable levels of air pollutants.

We welcome Main Modification 153 - Air Quality:
"The following are types of developments for which the Council would expect the submission of an air quality impact assessment: ...
- Anywhere else in the District, applications that are considered to be 'major' in scale for example: significantly increase vehicle movements, particularly heavy duty vehicles; . . .
- Or that: introduce humans to an area where air pollution is an issue, but where humans were previously not present."

However, this policy seems to have been ignored in large parts throughout the plan, especially in light of Main Modification 010 to Policy SP2 whereby Little Wymondley has been re-categorised as a "Growth Village" - the consideration of Main Modification 153 has not been applied to site WY1.
It also worth noting that the Transport Strategy of October 2017, written by Markides Associates Ltd (MA) on behalf of North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) to support the emerging Local Plan recognises there are severe issues:

"These historic towns and links to/from them [sic. roads through the villages] suffer from traffic congestion and some air quality problems. Their 'environmental capacity' to accommodate further traffic growth without detrimentally affecting the high quality of the local environment is limited, and a starting point should be managing traffic growth and avoiding significant increases in traffic through the towns where possible."
In the same report, it also acknowledged that the NHDC Local Plan will indeed increase traffic volume through the Parish of Wymondley. Section 3.44 of the same report also recognises that the roads in Wymondley Parish are "unsuitable" for volumes of traffic:
"Use of unsuitable roads by through traffic
3.44 As with most urban areas, there is some evidence that motorists are using unsuitable roads to avoid delays on congested routes. There are many locations where traffic volumes are probably unsuitable for the nature of the road, but the more 'strategic' routes noted in the modelling include:
* Routes through Great Wymondley, by which traffic can bypass delays on the A602 between Hitchin and Stevenage;
* The B197 through Graveley between Letchworth and Stevenage;
* Willow Lane in Hitchin, which can be used by east/west traffic to bypass delays on the A505/A602 route; and
* Stevenage Road [sic. in Little Wymondley], which can be used to bypass congestion on the A602 between Hitchin and Stevenage."
Despite their own Transport Strategy document highlighting the unsustainability of Wymondley Parish in terms of air quality and transport, NHDC are still including site WY1 in their emerging Local Plan and stating they will address the infrastructure issues "later" - this is simply unacceptable when the adverse impacts on people's life expectancy is so severe.

MM028 (policy SP6 "Sustainable Transport") states:
"We will deliver accessibility improvements and promote the use of sustainable transport modes insofar as reasonable and practicable. We will:
1. Comply with the NHDC Transport Strategy and the provisions of the Local Transport Plan and other supporting documents as relevant and considered necessary;
2. Encourage development in locations which enable sustainable journeys to be made to key services and facilities;
And yet NHDC have decided to add MORE houses to site WY1, which contradicts their own policy above.

Flood Risk:

Little Wymondley Village has suffered regular flooding incidents for more than a century as recorded by the McCloys report on behalf of the Hertfordshire County Council in 2015 following the severe flood event of 2014. There are 82 homes that will likely be affected and many residents along Stevenage Road, Little Wymondley, pay considerably high insurance premiums as a result of these regular events. Site plans emerging for the development of WY1 show a number of "lagoons" to collect surface water and these are sited higher than Stevenage Road with the potential to flood the homes below. No method to distribute the collected water elsewhere, or to drain it away from the lagoons, is stated within the developer's proposal. As the development at WY1 is proposed to be on higher ground than the existing Village, it will clearly contribute to increase flooding events for the existing residents.

The proposed and ONLY road to and from the proposed development at WY1 emerges in the worst flood zone within the Village. This area is detailed in the McCloys report and referred to regularly by the Environment Agency in other similarly located planning applications as a major flood zone.

Further, in assessing flood risk in HOU1 (Nov 2014), NHDC state:

4.65 These three sites [site 121 - now known as WY1] have a combined estimated capacity of 439 new homes. Removing these sites from consideration would not, by itself, prejudice the Council's ability to meet its Objectively Assessed Needs and it is therefore considered highly unlikely that these sites would be required. All three sites are within the Stevenage HMA and in the Green Belt.

Which does beg the question, why are NHDC pursuing this site when there are so many serious issues with it and it is not a large site in view of the total housing level required?

Education:

Little Wymondley currently has a primary school that holds an "outstanding" Ofsted capability. The increased size of Little Wymondley will require an increased FE size provision and a new site is offered by the proposed WY1 development. The proposed site at the south side of the proposed new development will place pupils and teaching staff, close to contaminated land, the known effects of overhead electricity pylons and alongside an illegal Air Quality area. As a consequence of the need for this provision, we request that the Schooling provision and its eventual site is decided upon BEFORE any permission is provided for a development in WY1.

Due to all the reasons given above, I believe that the NHDC Emerging Local Plan and Main modifications are not sound, or justified.

Support

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7825

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Graveley Parish Council

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 8085

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Ms Nikki Hamilton

Representation:

See attached.

Full text:

Firstly we would just like to say that we have tried to respond to this consultation of modifications in a coherent way but unfortunately we have found the whole situation rather taxing. We started by going through the Schedule of Proposed, followed by the track version and ended up with MM's and ED's all over the place and it has become rather confusing. In fact by the time we got to what was NE policies and now seems to be NEx but with NE policies still at large, it was decided that we would just make notes and respond the best we could so apologies if this is all rather a mess but will try and put in some as-semblance of order ...

Comments re open space and green belt review:
Comments re the sustainability appraisal (CAG) & MM008 c iv ...
p6 2b states 'provide access to green spaces and improve access and provide opportunities for people to come into contact with wildlife habitat etc:
The GA2 development is currently an open space that is accessible to all, residents of Great Ashby, Weston, Stevenage, Graveley and many other people that visit from around the district. There are no other areas around Stevenage that are made up of numerous small fields, connected by vintage mixed deciduous natural and ancient woodlands and bio diversity rich hedgerows (all which should qualify as LWS and are NERC section 41 priority habitats) that are accessible unlike the GA2 area so we are in disbelief that you would even consider allowing such an important area to such a wide range of species as well as an area that delivers so many health benefits to residents and an area that contributes to the green belt purposes to be built upon.
p7 details 'protecting the environment including bio diversity' and MM008 c iv mentions centres on this - GA2 is an area of beauty, and boasts a diversity of habitat (as stated by a number of ecologists) home to numerous species including protected species; badgers, bats (inc 2 rare species - the Western Barbastrelle and Leislers as well as Noctules), barn owls (not mentioned in the ecology report) and a few species of winter birds that are currently on the amber list.
We have already highlighted advice from other ecologists/organisations which stated in their reports that 'authorities should not make the same mistake when Great Ashby and Stevenage was built of encompassing woodlands on all sides by development' this was in our previous response and bought up at the hearings. NHDC have already made that mistake and yet they do not seem to have learnt from it (we don't wish to sound derogatory but this is a serious situation). Hangbois Wood has been totally encompassed by Great Ashby Way and housing and the badgers and other wildlife living within it depleted. Martin's Wood which also had a badger sett and numerous species has also been encompassed and the badger sett is no more and this is just a couple of examples.

Brown field sites and the green belt review and housing numbers, comments regarding ED159, MM035 SP8 discrepancies with figures:
We have observed serious issues with the figures. May we just reiterate once again; it was confirmed to Parliament that.....
''the government has put in place the strongest protection for the Green Belt. The Framework (NPPF) makes it clear that inappropriate development may only be allowed where very special circumstances exist .... and we have been repeatedly clear that demand for housing alone will not change Green Belt boundaries''
The NPPF confirms in paragraph 133 that:
''The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence''.
In regards of Turner v SSCLG [2016] EWCA Civ. 466 at DL, 27, the Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector's interpretation and afforded "significant weight" to the benefits of housing delivery and economic benefits and "moderate weight" to the affordable housing etc but he made a clear finding at DL,56 that those matters did not amount to "very special circumstances" in the circumstances of that appeal.
That approach demonstrates that notwithstanding a shortfall in housing need, with a local plan at an early stage, the provision of housing, including affordable housing provision is highly unlikely to ever amount in itself to the necessary "very special circumstances" required to justify development on the Green Belt. The North Herts proposed Local Plan is now at a more advanced stage; however there have been many objections to the underpinning Green Belt Review and other processes carried out by the Council; there seems to be large discrepancies in regards to everything surrounding the review, as follows and we would be shocked if the Inspector does not raise further questions regarding this situation:
1) As raised by the Inspector was the question of NHDC over stating in their housing numbers in relation to the ONS by 4,600 homes. Whilst this may not be such an issue where an authority is placing the majority of its housing on brown field sites - where an authority is placing the majority on green belt then this is a very large issue indeed, especially considering it does NOT have the support of the communities.
2) We raised throughout the hearings the question of how many brown field sites were put forward, how many green belt sites and what has been the outcome and there seems, yet again large discrepancies with this. An email was sent to C Peers regarding this - not to myself or our group which advised 70 sites for housing development had been put forward of which 34 were on green belt and a list is attached. We have checked down this list of which all are green belt and we have contacted NHDC for a list of the brown field sites of which the other 36 sites have been allocated but up to this date, have still had no response as to this or how many brown field sites were originally put forward! From looking at the list sent out, it appears to us that all the main proposed development sites are on this list, eg on green belt - Great Ashby, Letchworth, Baldock, East of Luton etc etc.
As stated within the NPPF, it is the responsibility of the authority to locate brown field sites for housing development and it should be a focus by that authority to priorities brown field sites over green. We have seen that in November 2018 to December 2018 there was a call for brown field sites - isn't this rather late in the grand scheme of things. Did NHDC just not bother looking for any sites since 2011 - did you just decide it would be easier to ignore this responsibility and just proceed with a green belt review? If this is the case, then we do believe your plan is unjustified and unsound.
We would like to point out that SOGB feel that 82% of your proposed housing developments are actually on green belt land - if this is the case, then you should certainly amend your housing needs figures.
3) In regards to Green Belt compensation - MM023 b, surely the area that you are suggesting compensating all of our main urban areas' loss of green belt which make significant contributions and contributions does not even hit the criteria of green belt? Surely green belt is administered around an area of urbanisation such as Stevenage, Letchworth to avoid urban sprawl and protect the countryside etc - so placing green belt in an area where there are NO towns whatsoever detracts from the whole point???
4) In order to establish that 'exceptional' circumstances do exist (this was challenged at the recent Local Plan examination) to allow for what would otherwise continue to be permanent Green Belt to be reviewed to form new boundaries, North Herts District Council should be able to demonstrate that it has examined fully "all other reasonable options for meeting its identified need for development" (paragraph 137 of the latest NPPF) which we do NOT believe has happened as this includes looking at whether the strategy makes "as much use as possible" of brownfield land and underutilised land, as well as whether the density of any development coming forward within the area has been optimised in line with the requirements of section 11 of the NPPF.
Also the new guidance in the NPPF requires proposals for Green Belt releases to have been 'informed by discussions with neighbouring authorities' in terms of whether housing could be accommodated elsewhere which would place a more formal requirement on authorities to demonstrate co-operation through the preparation of statements of common ground and yet we do believe, even though NHDC have over stated with their housing need in line with the ONS, Central Beds are now looking to increase their housing figures as apparently NHDC are not able to hit their housing target, we are concerned by this.
5) In regards to removing Green Belt and 'exceptional circumstances' MM023 (SP5) - the green belt review highlighted that the area of GA2 makes an overall contribution to the green belt purposes with 2 of the purposes making a significant contribution. So we ask yet again as we have seen no explanation of this throughout the modifications - what are the 'very special circumstances' of removing this area from the Green Belt??? The only justification we have seen is that the site is available and you need to hit your housing needs target - which is not 'very special circumstances' and considering this area is home to such a huge list of species including protected species, rare species and those on the amber list, not to mention it being openly accessible which huge health benefits to thousands of people - we are hugely concerned with the actions of NHDC. The NPPF still states that a housing need alone does NOT justify removing land from Green Belt. Add this to the fact that brown field sites within North Hertfordshire have not been exhausted and NHDC have over estimated the number of housing in line with the ONS we would suggest this plan is unsound and GA2 should be removed from the Local Plan. We would also like to point out that in regards to this area, the NPPF states that 'the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location' - has this even been discussed because as we pointed out during the hearings, there are no other areas around Stevenage with such accessibility that has such a diverse range of habitat and wildlife with footpaths which is free and available to so many people?
In regards to ED159, the NPPF 158 stipulates that projections used should be up to date and should be adhered to - considering NHDC are over stating by 4,600 in green belt, we would have thought this was of paramount importance. NPPF 158 and 159 should be taken into account and the local plan should adhere to current projections particularly as so many of the communities are against a number of the developments such as GA2, East of Luton, North of Letchworth etc and are on green belt. Also, in regards to the over stating - NHDC stated that the Housing Minister has advised 'not to take their foot off the accelerator' or words to that effect - may we point out that statements made by Ministers do NOT over ride what is written within the NPPF which basically means 'using up to date projections' means what it says and NOT, 'never mind, we're 4,600 over and are putting most of it on the green belt and we'll pick up green belt from all around the towns where it is serving some of the 5 purposes and we'll stick it in the middle of the countryside as maybe in the future it will actually serve a purpose!!!!
Other authorities have realised the importance of protecting its green belt, we don't understand why NHDC won't do the same?

We will now just comment on the MM's:
MM050 SP12 - states protect, identify and enhance bio diversity including woodlands/hedgerows and yet we advised previous recommendations regarding woodlands and that there would not be a net gain in regards to the species currently inhabiting the area as they would be severely impacted upon if GA2 continued to be part of the local plan particularly the size it currently is. We advised that in its original capacity (half the size and only abutting up to Longdell and Nine Acre woodlands) we would not see such a large impact resulting in a negative outcome. The badger group, bat group and local wildlife rescue all responded about the importance of this area and yet the developers seem to feel that none of the wildlife will be impacted upon even though we have shown examples of this being totally incorrect.
We would also like to point out that your Local Plan modifications state that you will seek opportunities for net gains regarding bio diversity - are you aware that in the government's Spring statement - it was declared that 'net gains would be mandatory in 'all' planning authority areas? With this in mind, we re-iterate that there is no way the outcome of the GA2 area will be a net gain as the impact will eradicate and severely affect a number of the species currently living there.
We also have serious concerns in regards to the chalk streams within North Herts which we have also raised previously in regards to them being at risk due to extraction and for the first time ever last year, run dry in places. This is very serious when considering so many new developments within the area.

MM082 - discusses the green infrastructure corridor and MM166 (113 p80) - we will also be addressing the situation of the protected species in this section SP18 d i/ii (access road) and j iii (retention of green connectivity to wilder countryside):
You state that there is a green infrastructure corridor running through Great Ashby under the pylon tract which indeed there is. This currently runs from a wooded area and open countryside one end to open countryside between woodlands at the other end. You have also mentioned that the green infrastructure corridor will continue to run through to open countryside under the pylon tract. Green infrastructure as specified is open space, woodland, park area etc - how will the access route be a green infrastructure corridor if from Mendip Way it consists of an access road and cycle paths? (Where would the cycle paths join up with considering there aren't any within Ashby and not even enough room for safe travel via cars with the amount of parking that currently happens).
In regards to your green infrastructure corridor - the ecologist has shown a couple of outlier setts within their report. Even though we were quite impressed by the ecology report submitted by ELMLAW, we had numerous concerns in regards to the findings surrounding the protected species. We have been in touch with the Badger Trust and have also been in touch with a solicitor regarding this development, the site has also been visited by a mammal recorder and expert from another badger group and we have spoken at length with a county ecologist and would like to also submit the following ...
The Badger Group objects to the modifications concerning the GA2 development.
The Badger Group is concerned that the planning decision is based on insufficient information regarding the badger populations within the area. The modifications (access road) poses an unacceptable risk to the badger clan (badger social group) within the edge of Brooches Wood. The construction of the access road in the location chosen would destroy a main sett and outlier sett and sever existing badger routeways.
The surveys undertaken by the badger group have found much higher badger activity than presented within the Ecological Evaluation Site GA2 December 2017 report. There are badger setts in the field and hedge line proposed for the development (not identified in the 2017 report) and a main sett at the edge of *** *** that is along the routeway of the development's access road.
The sett is not an outlier as stated in the Ecological Evaluation Report but a main sett with 6 holes etc (this sett was recorded many years ago and has been monitored over the years, there is photographic evidence). The territorial latrines identified by the Badger Group also strongly suggest that the badgers in ** ** are a separate clan to the clan occupying ** **/** **. The Ecological Evaluation Report does acknowledge that at least one clan of badgers is present but it is important to establish this since badger clans will defend their own territories. Further survey using methods such as bait marking should be carried out to fully establish the movements of the badgers within the area.
Any exclusion of badgers from the main sett at ** ** would require a licence from Natural England to comply with the legislation protecting Badgers (Protection of Badgers Act 1992) but licences should only be granted if there is no alternative that would retain the badger sett in situ. To retain the badger sett it would be preferable to relocate the access road to an alternative location. If badgers are excluded from a main sett, they will require an alternative sett to move to that is not part of the territory of another clan. Usually when a new artificial set is constructed this would need to be located in suitable habitat and also located along existing routeways used by the Brooches Wood clan. Further survey work is required to ensure mitigation to compensate for the adverse impacts on badgers can be adequately addressed. Use of artificial setts can be unpredictable and for a licence to be granted to destroy a main sett it would need to be shown that badgers to be excluded are aware of the artificial sett and preferably showing signs of use. We would like to point out that to develop in GA2 would already command seeking licences to close 2 other subsidiary setts and 1 outlier. Due to the amount of closeness of the clans in this area and the fact that we can see no possible alternative for an artificial sett with sufficient foraging ground without them being at risk from impact of the development, we cannot see that licences to close all these setts would be permitted. We have also sent communications to Natural England in regards to the situation surrounding GA2.
There should also be more consideration given to the impact of the road systems across the site in general. Badgers may weigh up to 15kilograms, a motorist taking avoiding action could result in accidents and human injury. Badger proof fencing and appropriately designed badger underpasses would be required. The Badger Group consider that these details are required at an early stage.
Ref MM 053. After paragraph 4.147 (New paragraphs) - We are adding this at the advice of a county ecologist ...
Paragraph states "strict protection .... in accordance with the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010" this needs to be changed to Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017".
It is important that ancient woodlands are not lost and also that they are not subject to excessive recreational use that could lead to the deterioration of the woodland's biodiversity. Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable habitat and protected in the NPPF. The wording regarding ancient woodlands within this section should have a stronger emphasis on their value to biodiversity. The prime aim should be to manage ancient woodland for their important biodiversity and not with the prime aim to manage them as recreational and amenity areas for local people which frequently results in loss of wildlife in the woodlands.
Therefore I would suggest wording such as "The Districts woodlands are of high value to wildlife and will be managed over the plan period for the benefit of biodiversity as well as providing recreational and amenity areas for local residents where appropriate".
MM166 discusses 'net gain'. All developments should seek to deliver net gains for bio diversity - we do not believe this to be possible in regards to GA2. We would also like to point out that 11.xx sites that contain important habitat or species that are not designated wildlife sites can be identified by HERC - this isn't the case so unsure why you have included this as a modification?

MM157 a - protects, conserves and enhances and b - avoids loss/fragmentation. Again, where does this sit in regards to the green infrastructure corridor of Great Ashby? In regards to SP18 j iii - how would this result in retention of green connectivity to the wilder countryside, it wouldn't if you are going to put a road through it? As stated in your local plan modifications ... This Plan sets out a clear strategic approach for the protection, enhancement, creation and management of networks of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure refers to all assets within and between towns and villages, both urban and rural. It is a network of multi-functional open spaces, including urban parks, gardens, woodlands, hedgerows, watercourses and associated buffer zones, and green corridors in addition to protected sites, nature reserves and open countryside. No where have I seen the mention of a road in this description - it seems as though you have detailed all of the policies and yet you don't seem to be adhering to them within your local plan. For example, we highlighted the report by ecologists advising not to make the same mistake in regards to woodlands being totally encompassed and yet, in regards to Brooches Wood etc - you seem to be doing just that.

MM167 Policy NE4
ai Planning permission will only be granted for any proposed loss of open space only where provided that: (a) it can be demonstrated that the open space is surplus to requirements, or otherwise and justified on the basis of: i. the quality and accessibility of the open space; ii. the extent to which the open space is serving its purpose; iii. the quality and accessibility of alternative public open space; - again you seem not to be adhering to your own policies in regards to GA2 and other proposals such as East of Luton. GA2 open space s not surplus to requirements, it is used by thousands of people each year as highlighted during the hearings when I provided an example of a freezing cold day in January when a survey was completed. It is accessible through a number of points, unpolluted, high in bio diversity and species rich, with a diverse range of habitat and provides many benefits to all. We cannot think of a suitable alternative around Stevenage/Ashby!

MM171 11.xx
Over the plan period it is anticipated that some open spaces could come under pressure for development. It is therefore vital that any proposed loss of open space is carefully considered to ensure that the both the existing and future population of North Hertfordshire has sufficient access to open space. In parts of the District where there are identified deficiencies in open space, any proposed loss would be subject to increased scrutiny. Are we missing something NHDC - we ask once again, what very special circumstances warrant the loss of such an important place to the residents of Ashby, Stevenage, Weston, Graveley??? Again you seem to be going against your own policies!

MM158 GA2 will spoil the view - to those living in the Cleveland Way area of Ashby and to all those thousands of residents from around the area that walk, job, ride, picnic there!

MM160 - we object to ... whilst recognising ... needs to be met. This clause states there is no limit to how much landscape can be sacrificed for development. It seems to conclude that housing need will have priority no matter what damage is caused. This is quite frankly wrong and despicable and totally shows no understanding of the meaning of sustainability.

MM166 - bio diversity impact calculators. We do have concerns with the sole us of an impact calculator in regards to endangered and rare species. They also encourage the idea that loss of bio diversity on a site can be easily mitigated by planting elsewhere to offset a loss or convert it to a net gain in regards to bio diversity. This is NOT the case! Complex habitats that have taken hundreds of years to evolve cannot be destroyed and impacted upon and then compensated for new habitat or imported habitat which could then conflict with species that already inhabit the area. Further to this and the ecological report submitted by ELMLAW - we have concerns in regards to the results of dormice in that our monitors came across numerous black square tubes discarded around a couple of areas within GA2 - at this time we had no idea that a dormouse survey was being carried out. We have come across tubes in another woodland but if a number of the tubes were tampered with during the survey period then they would have not been checked efficiently and a full survey could not have been completed. We have spoken with 2 mammal recorders who have advised that locating dormice can be a very difficult task!

Extra points in regards to transport, employment etc:
4.xxx - In regards to the Stevenage Mobility Strategy, how do you propose this in GA2 when there are no cycle paths already in Ashby itself and there are already significant problems with traffic? Also you have stated that the issues with Back Lane will be addressed in the transport assessment and it has been mentioned elsewhere that the larger issues with traffic and transport will also be addressed in transport assessments - would it not be better to have these in place from the offset before trying to push through more housing (on top of Stevenage BC's housing, EHDC's housing) when the A1M and other areas are already seeing numerous accidents because of the issues?
There is also no mention of any new employment/economy initiatives for GA2, NS1 despite an increase in population due to all the extra developments mentioned above. We have also already highlighted an infrastructure that cannot cope in the present day without thousands more homes added to the situation. How will this provide stability and benefits to North Hertfordshire residents - this is also a concern with a number of other developments that you are proposing?

We ask yet again, for the thousands of people that use the GA2 area and the huge amount of wildlife that inhabit it - please remove GA2 from the local plan. We still believe that in regards to the objections and comments we have made considering the green belt review, the over stating of housing needs, discrepancies with figures, that the plan is unsound and unjustified as it currently stands and again we would press that NHDC look at a third garden city which would not result in a devastating impact on current green belt, weakened infrastructures, thousands and thousands of residents already struggling and the huge number of species currently inhabiting some of the proposed development sites.