MM017 - Page 38 Policy SP4

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Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 6988

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: 6999

Received: 02/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Verity Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7021

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: 7154

Received: 18/03/2019

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Society

Representation:

See attached representations

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7157

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: 7182

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: 7212

Received: 02/03/2019

Respondent: Ms Clementine Alicia Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7226

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Mr James Williams

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7288

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: 7335

Received: 04/03/2019

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Lichfields

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7343

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: 7409

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: 7473

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: 7484

Received: 05/03/2019

Respondent: Mr David Wheatley

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7495

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Ms Ann Adlem

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7534

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: 7545

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: 7556

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: 7616

Received: 05/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Corinna Biermann Wheatley

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7630

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: 7641

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: 7699

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: 7769

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Croudace Strategic Limited

Representation:

See attached representation

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7828

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Graveley Parish Council

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7850

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Dr Andrew Wheen

Representation:

See attached representations

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 7912

Received: 04/04/2019

Respondent: Transition Town Letchworth

Representation:

See representations below

Full text:

Please find below Transition Town Letchworth's (TTL) Comments on the Main Modifications to the North Herts District Council Local Plan.

MM010 (page 32 Policy SP2) - The footnote states that housing allocations are not a maximum, so are they a minimum? Much of the proposed new housing is to be built on previously designated green belt land. TTL would suggest that the allocations for these 'green belt ' development housing numbers should be a maximum, and if either the demand for housing in North Herts is not as high as predicted, or future windfalls on brown field sites are greater than predicted, the opportunity should be taken to reduce the volume of housing built on green belt sites. This would help keep towns compact, sustainable and separated and leave the maximum area of land available for farming.

MM017 (page 38 SP4) / MM018 (page 39 new paragraphs) / MM037 (page 48, Para 4.89) / MM093 (Page 78, Para 5.16) - TTL recognise that existing national planning guidance requires retail space to increase with population, despite the growing evidence of a decline in people accessing traditional shops. We are also aware that retail trends have been for shops to situate themselves on out of town estates near leisure activities rather than in vacant Town Centre properties. TTL would like to see North Herts Local Plan address the issue of 'out-dated' national guidance on retail development with some innovative thinking for Letchworth. In particular, vacant units and land on the periphery of the existing town centre should be utilised for sustainable homes, which would then be located near the shops, schools and public transport. This would reduce the amount of housing required on the green belt land North of the Grange Estate. The local plan could then set aside green belt land for industrial/retail uses to meet national guidance requirements, with a high probability that this land would never need to be built upon. Overall this approach would have the potential to reduce the erosion of green belt land and place housing in a more sustainable location.

The local plan acknowledges that Letchworth residents shop in Hitchin and implies this will change if more retail units are provided in Letchworth, but in recent years Letchworth has not lacked vacant retail units. If the social factors which influence where people shop are not addressed, building more retail units in Letchworth Town Centre, which is part of the local plan, appears to have no clear rationale.

In summary, TTL perceive that the local plan has not properly considered the Town Centre options for housing and until this is done the housing allocation for the North of Grange Strategic Site should not be finalised.

MM034 (page 46 Para 4.83) - It is really important that all elements of the planning process have an appropriate public consultation. Land owners, like Letchworth Heritage Foundation, are not required to follow the high quality consultation processes required by public bodies and we would like to see NHDC take responsibility for important areas like the town Cycling and Walking Strategy.

MM035 - Why has the self-build housing allocation been reduced? TTL support self-build as it is a method for achieving affordable housing and can deliver innovative low carbon housing. NHDC should be encouraging demand for self-build sites, not just satisfying those on their existing interested parties list.

MMO61 (page 63, Policy SP15) - This plan treats Letchworth North of the Grange strategic site (900 homes) as a distinct entity, suggesting it should have its own primary school, GP surgery and local shops. The site curves round the edge of the Grange Estate and the local plan does not adequately address how to integrate the new site into the existing town, which may be more cost effective for public service provision and improve the quality of services for existing residents of the Grange Estate.
* The new site is very close to two existing primary schools (Stonehill (1 class intake) and Northfields / Grange (2 class intake)). Is provision of a new school specifically for the site the most cost effective way to provide additional school places? Will a separate school for the new development help improve social integration in Letchworth?
* Letchworth has an existing issue that its GP services are located in the 'old' town, some distance from each of its newer estates. The Grange estate, which must have over 3000 homes, has no GP surgery. Provision of a GP surgery on the existing Grange estate, which has a pharmacy, could provide a much better solution than locating a GP surgery on the Strategic Site.
* The Grange local shops could become more viable if they serve the new site, rather than building new retail space on the Strategic Site.
* The local plan should have identified that to maximise the benefit from good cycling and walking infrastructure on the North of Grange Strategic Site will require investment in a better cycling and walking infrastructure from the existing Grange Estate to key destinations in Letchworth.
MM50 - TTL are pleased to see recognition of wildlife corridors in the local plan, but what is required is more than an acknowledgement. Has a study been undertaken to check if strategic housing sites will leave gaps in wildlife corridors? If any gaps are identified will planning permission be denied unless a solution is found to preserving the wildlife corridor?
MM062 (page 63, paragraph 4.188) - Before agreeing to North of the Grange Strategic Site's inclusion in the Local Plan the road linkages should have been considered and a satisfactory solution found. The council should have modelled the road infrastructure and advised the land owner of where they wanted the road networks to link and should be confident that the road infrastructure will cope with the additional traffic. Recognising that there may be issues is not a satisfactory 'plan'.

MM125 (page 92, Policy HS2) - By failing to recognise the existing imbalance of affordable housing across North Hertfordshire towns, and then failing to address this with different affordable housing targets for each town, this local plan fails residents of all towns. The local plan will re-enforce existing inequality issues, along with behaviours that are not sustainable (e.g. shopping or sending children to school in another town).

MM145 (page 102, Para 9.6) - Councils can put carbon emissions targets into their planning policies which require performance beyond that contained in the national standards (see https://www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/The-Policy-Playbook-Feb-2019.pdf). NHDC should recognise this and be clearer about the levels of performance they will be expecting, which should aspire to passive house standards.
MM146 (page 102, para 9.12) -TTL are pleased to see the plan tackling issues around water supply. The importance of new homes being designed to minimise water use could be re-enforced by making a clear statement in the plan that a '3 year drought will jeopardise the chalk streams which take 12 years to recover their biodiversity once they dry up'. TTL recognise that Affinity Water have a long term target of 110 litres of water use per person per day. TTL would like to see a more ambitious target - Southern Water have a target of 100 litres of water per person per day. New housing should be built to support low water use, with low water use toilets, showers and taps, water butts and grey water recycling systems. A well designed and constructed house will make it easy for residents to achieve low water use. NHDC need to refine the target to 100 litres in the local plan and make clear that house builders must install equipment that supports this.

We hope these comments can be addressed in an updated Local Plan.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 8259

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Mrs Cheryl Peers

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See attached

Attachments:

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

Representation ID: 8325

Received: 11/04/2019

Respondent: Mr Tom Coates

Representation:

See attached

Full text:

See Attached

Attachments: