Proposed Main Modifications

Search Representations

Results for Ms Karen Jay search

New search New search

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

MM001 - Delete paragraph - about this consultation

Representation ID: 7011

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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

MM023 - Page 41 Policy SP5

Representation ID: 7377

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

See attached

Full text:

Examination of Modification MM023 - Policy SP5 Countryside and the Green Belt;
Examination of Modification MM083 - Policy SP19 - Sites EL1, EL2, EL3 - to the east of Luton;
Examination of ED87A - Submission on Green Belt by Andrew Parkinson of Landmark Chambers on behalf of Save Our Green Belt 25 January 2018;
Examination of ED143 - Countryside and the Green Belt - the Green Belt Review and approach to safeguarded land;
Examination of ED161 - Green Belt Review by North Herts District Council in September 2018

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENTS

1) Introductory Comments

The fundamental objections raised concerning the above documents are:
* The vital question of the concept of 'Openness' in relation to the Green Belt.
* The flawed review by NHDC of the Green Belt in September 2018 (ED161) where 'Openness' is scarcely mentioned and which also fails to study the 'harm' arising from potentially releasing Green Belt land for development
* The relevance of these points to the proposed building on Green Belt land around Cockernhoe to meet the so-called unmet housing need arising from within Luton.

The NHDC Local Plan scarcely mentions 'Openness' in any of its commentaries about the Green Belt and also not in ED143 of 2016 which was the original NHDC detailed document which studied the Green Belt in depth. Furthermore, there is also very little mention of 'Openness' in the Modification documents listed above.
Evidence Document ED87A introduced the vitally important concept of 'Openness' in a paper submitted by Andrew Parkinson of Landmark Chambers in January 2018. This cited case law as will be explained below.
This led to a review by NHDC of the Green Belt in ED161 in September 2018 (fieldwork undertaken between June and August) which further escalated the importance of the Green Belt in the area east of Luton around Cockernhoe. Even then in this revised Green Belt Review, the only mentions of 'Openness' are to acknowledge the paper submitted in ED87A through a cursory comment in the introduction; it seems that NHDC really doesn't understand the significance of 'Openness' in relation to the Green Belt.
Furthermore, we contend that the NHDC Green Belt review of September 2018 was flawed. Despite awarding even more protection status to the Green Belt around Cockernhoe, the review fails to study 'harm' resulting from building on Green Belt land.
It may also be significant that this review was carried out by NHDC themselves with no input at all from external consultants; this contrasts significantly with the approach taken by neighbouring Welwyn/Hatfield District Council as will be explained below.
Despite the re-grading of the Green belt around Cockernhoe to an even higher status of 'significant'. NHDC persists in its quest to build on this Green Belt land to meet so-called 'unmet housing needs' arising from Luton.

2) The Background to 'Openness'

According to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) documentation: "The fundamental aim of the Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; and the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence".

'Openness' is thus a fundamental cornerstone of Green Belt policy, though it has never been particularly well defined by governments in the NPPF documentation/guidance. Up until recently planners have viewed 'openness' as primarily a spatial designation, rather than a landscape designation, but there has been no clear indication about a visual component. Indeed 'harm' to 'openness' can be a vitally important element to the 'other harm' that local authorities have to assess when submitting proposals to build on the Green Belt.

It is clear in the NPPF guidelines that local authorities should regard construction of new buildings on Green Belt land as inappropriate except in specific circumstances in connection with the existing use of the land for e.g. outdoor sport, recreation, allotments etc.... as long as those facilities preserve the 'openness' of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it. Also allowed is limited infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land (e.g. farm buildings), but such a development must not have a greater impact on the 'openness' of the Green Belt than the existing development or not cause substantial harm to the 'openness' of the Green Belt.

Over recent years there have been a number of legal cases brought by people seeking to protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development. The significance of two recent cases in the Court of Appeal is that they provide some form of template on 'openness' that local authority planners must follow.

The two recent relevant cases are Turner v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government of May 2016; and Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) Ltd v North Yorkshire County Council of March 2018.

Without going into huge detail, the Turner case was an appeal by the plaintiffs to overturn local authority refusals to grant planning permission on Green Belt land. The Court of Appeal upheld the refusals.

In the Samuel Smith case, the appeal was against the local planning authority which had granted planning permission for a development on Green Belt land and the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal and thus refused the development. The Judges' ruling established that an assessment of a proposed development on the 'openness' of the Green Belt includes consideration of the impact of the proposed development upon the visual dimension of 'openness' as well as the spatial dimension of 'openness'.

The Simonicity legal blog of March 2018 succinctly captured the essence of this ruling. He wrote:

Essentially it means that: "the effect of a particular development on the 'openness' of the Green Belt cannot properly be gauged merely by its two-dimensional or three-dimensional presence on the site in question - the very fact of its being there - without taking into account the effects it will have on the openness of the Green Belt in the eyes of the viewer.

To exclude visual impact, as a matter of principle, from a consideration of the likely effects of development on the 'openness' of the Green Belt would be artificial and unrealistic. A realistic assessment will often have to include the likely perceived effects on 'openness', if any, as well as the spatial effects. Whether, in the individual circumstances of a particular case, there are likely to be visual as well as spatial effects on the 'openness' of the Green Belt, and, if so, whether those effects are likely to be harmful or benign, will be for the decision-maker to judge. But the need for those judgments to be exercised is, in my view, inherent in the policy."

"In my view, therefore, when the development under consideration is within one of the five NPPF purposes and is likely to have visual effects within the Green Belt, the policy implicitly requires the decision-maker to consider how those visual effects bear on the question of whether the development would "preserve the 'openness' of the Green Belt". Where that planning judgment is not exercised by the decision-maker, effect will not be given to the policy. This will amount to a misunderstanding of the policy, and thus its misapplication, which is a failure to have regard to a material consideration, and an error of law."

(https://simonicity.com/2018/03/30/green-belt-developments).

To put it even more succinctly Zack Simons, Planning Barrister from the Landmark Chambers explains that:

* Visual impact of a development may be an aspect of Green Belt 'openness'
* Applying the NPPF purposes will mean an assessment will have to be made on the likely 'perceived' effects of 'openness', if any, as well as the spatial effects
* Whether there will be visual as well as spatial effects on 'openness' depends on the facts and will be for the decision-maker to judge
* But the NPPF policy 'requires' the decision-maker to reach a judgement on that question one way or another. Focusing only on the spatial aspects of built development may be a legal error.
* 'Preserve' in the NPPF policy does not mean leave entirely unchanged. It means avoid 'harm' to 'openness'

Finally, the Government has indicated since 2013 that unmet housing need alone is not sufficient to amount to very special circumstances - a view that seems unlikely to change.

3) The Green Belt in the area around Cockernhoe

Therefore, it seems that the visual impact of 'openness' in the land to the east of Luton around Cockernhoe is now vitally important as Court of Appeal case law has decreed.

Nowhere in the original assessment of the potential developments on Green Belt land has NHDC considered 'openness' and from that 'harm to openness'.

For NHDC to ignore 'openness' is perhaps surprising especially given that their own consultants Peter Brett & Associates flagged this up most comprehensively and critically in their June 2016 Luton HMA and Site Selection Assessment Report - Critical Assessment of Site Selection.

In describing the land area around Cockernhoe to the east of Luton the report said:

"The eastern boundary of the built up area is generally well defined by a strong wide tree belt, in places supplemented by linear open space. This is an enduring boundary along a well-established landscape feature, which also makes a very important visual contribution to the containment of the built up area (hence reducing the sense of encroachment of the built- up area into the countryside); it also safeguards the countryside from the encroachment of Luton beyond the existing well-defined edge. Overall the northern part of the parcel (which is the part considered for this study) has a well-defined principally rural character and is free of encroachment from inappropriate development."

It goes on to say in relation to NHDC's assessment of the area around Cockernhoe for Green Belt purposes in terms of 'openness', that:

"Part of the assessment criteria for 'openness' uses the basis of relationship to built-up areas as the basis for the assessment; for example, if a site is bounded on two sides by development it would be deemed to contribute less to 'openness'. However, this is too simplistic; much depends upon the nature of the site and the boundaries of the adjoining development. The opposite could be said to be the case; if that site were to be largely free of development it may provide a very important perception of 'openness' which is enhanced as a result of its juxtaposition with development; or it may be that those adjoining built up edges are well contained by woodland for example such that the influence of the urban areas is contained. The south eastern part of parcel 212a (proposed allocation site EL3) is a case in point; even though there is a clear visual relationship between the edge of Luton and southern edge of Cockernhoe, there is a very clear sense of 'openness' between the two due to the undeveloped open nature of the arable land that separates them;

It adds later: "The distinction between the urban area and countryside is very pronounced with productive agricultural uses extending right up to the urban boundary with some areas having a surprising sense of rurality and remoteness despite the close proximity of Luton."

It continues: "It is our view that this area has very significant landscape and visual constraints and that the adverse effects of medium to large scale development (which is what is being proposed) will have a fundamental effect on the character of the area. This is reflected in a previous (The Landscape Partnership) study which identifies it as having a Low capacity for medium /large scale development (note - there is no 'No capacity' category).

"In this context it raises the question of whether there may be areas around other parts of Luton's periphery (i.e. outside North Herts) that are less sensitive and which have a greater capacity to accommodate significant growth".
In its conclusions to NHDC, the report states, inter alia:

"Whether if Luton is to be expanded, development on the part of its fringe within North Herts is an appropriate way of addressing the need in comparison with the potential role of other parts of Luton's fringe.

"That said, it is a striking feature of where the Council (NHDC) has got to that the scale of housing development in North Herts District to contribute to Luton's needs is presented as an 'offer', and is based on the capacity of sites put forward by promoters driven by ownerships primarily.
"This is a fundamentally different approach from one of determining the level of provision as part of a strategic and cooperative (though inevitably iterative) approach with all parties involved, and then seeking the best ways to make that provision having regard to all relevant considerations. The next step based on this position, and on an understanding of how the fringe of Luton performs, together with proper aspirations for what is wanted in place making terms, might then have been to establish the framework of an urban extension of Luton with an integrated structure for development, green infrastructure and connectivity set out, and into which the respective landowners and developers could work up their proposals.
"The approach the Council has followed is set out for instance in the 'Housing and Settlement Hierarchy Background Paper', and it is an approach that leaves the Local Plan process open to the investigation and promotion of other sites by developers who may or may not have come forward yet, and, in particular, to future claims by Luton Borough Council and others no doubt, that North Herts should do more.
"This report addresses this context and these potential consequences in two ways:
It seeks to demonstrate through an overview of setting, environmental constraints, landscape character and Green Belt considerations, given that there are natural limits to the amount of development that can be accommodated in an acceptable form as the expansion of Luton; and
It notes that within the acceptable limits of the expansion of Luton in this direction there may be other land that according to the criteria used could be developed that may not have been adequately investigated and for which clear reasons have not been stated as to why the land is not included in the Local Plan.

Inherent in this criticism by the consultants is that NHDC has not realistically sought with other neighbouring local authorities - in this case Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council - to work with them to assess properly whether they could accommodate some or all of the proposed housing that NHDC proposes to build on Green Belt land around Cockernhoe to meet what is now seen as a scarcely justifiable unmet housing need arising from within Luton.

Whilst NHDC has for sure signed Statements of Common Ground with all its neighbouring local authorities these have all the hallmarks of box-ticking exercises in relation to the Duty to Co-operate under the Localism Act. None of the signed documents carry any substantive comment about how NHDC worked with these other authorities to assess whether other areas in their own jurisdictions could provide the space for the extra homes required by Luton. All the documents convey is - as Peter Brett & Associates put it - is that NHDC has made an offer to build these homes; an offer which the other authorities have, not surprisingly, accepted at face value and which subsequently has become inherent in the planning documentation across all the neighbouring local authorities.

It does seem increasingly likely that NHDC is particularly desperate to build these homes around Cockernhoe on protected Green Belt land. One has to ask why this is the case, given that 'openness' and 'harm to openness' have not featured at all in their assessments, and that the area in question is graded by NHDC itself as making a substantial contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt.

4) The flawed Green Belt review published by NHDC in September 2018

The original 2016 Green Belt designation for the area to around Cockernhoe carried out by NHDC had classified the area as making a 'significant contribution' to the purposes of the Green Belt in the two most important of the five key national NPPF guidelines. The NHDC study found that this area's significant contribution was measured against the two fundamental purposes, namely 1 and 3 below of the five NPPF purposes:
1.To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
2.To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
3.To assist in saving the countryside from encroachment;
4.To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns, and;
5.To assist in urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

Unfortunately, the end result of this study, 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 purposes, (purpose number 5 was clearly not relevant here), was downgraded to what is termed a MODERATE overall contribution by virtue of the fact that the two other scores, which are hardly related to this area and to its circumstances, were not rated as highly.

At the time this downgrading was criticised by Peter Brett & Associates in June 2016 who stated:

"The overall assessment that the parcel in the area adjoining Luton makes a 'moderate overall contribution' appears to be based on the premise that if land is found to make a significant contribution to only some of the purposes, then it performs less well in overall terms (this is a downside of numerical scoring systems). Green Belt purposes are of the same importance (there is no 'weighting') and if only one purpose is of high importance then the parcel is therefore making an important contribution to the Green Belt. On the basis of our observations, this parcel makes a 'significant' contribution to Green Belt purposes."

As a direct result of the paper on 'openness' presented to the Inspector on behalf of Save our Green Belt (ED87A), NHDC carried out the September 2018 review of its Green Belt assessments. Their review reversed and upgraded the Cockernhoe area from making a modest overall contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt to the higher rating of making a significant overall contribution.

It should be noted that in coming to this decision it took NHDC 2.5 years to follow the recommendations of their consultants Peter Brett & Associates in their June 2016 report to NHDC.

However this has not altered NHDC's view that the proposed development East of Luton should go forward. This is because, they say, 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 so-called 'unmet needs' arising from within Luton.

It may be significant - given the criticism levelled at NHDC in their first Green Belt study of 2016 - that NHDC carried out their September 2018 Green Belt review themselves and it has not been critiqued or commented on by any outside consultants such as Peter Brett & Associates.
Fundamentally, this September 2018 Green Belt review has failed to consider the potential 'harm' that would arise to the Green Belt from the planned development around Cockernhoe.
It is instructive here to compare the approach of NHDC to that of neighbouring local authority Welwyn & Hatfield (W&H). In the W&H Local Plan examination, the Inspector asked the authority to identify which parts of the Borough's Green Belt are 'most essential' to its function and thus critical to remain as Green Belt.
W&H appointed consultants (Landuse.co.uk) to carry out the same type of task as was done by NHDC to ascertain which areas of Green Belt were deemed as making Significant or Moderate contributions in terms of Green Belt purposes. But then W&H went a stage further. This report "Welwyn Hatfield Green Belt Study Stage 3" was completed in March 2019.
It is notable, when reading the W&H Green Belt Study, how much credence is given in the report to 'openness', to a discussion of recent case law and definitions of 'openness'. This level of detail including land and aerial photographs of Green Belt land parcels contrasts most strongly with the scant and incomplete approach taken by NHDC.
The report from Landuse.co.uk stated that for land to be assessed as 'most essential' for Green Belt purposes there must be a very high level of 'harm' associated with its release from the Green Belt.
Areas of very high 'harm' were identified where there is:

* A particularly significant contribution to a single one of the first four national NPPF Green Belt purposes.

* A significant contribution to more than one of the first four national Green Belt purposes is judged to cause 'very high harm' and be 'most essential' to Green Belt purposes.

* A particularly strong impact on the defined Green Belt boundary, or on the integrity of the wider Green Belt.

The W&H report studied 95 parcels of land within the Green Belt. Comparing the application of Purposes 1 and 3 to these Green Belt parcels, (the same as for Cockernhoe which achieved a significant contribution to both purposes), we see that none of them achieved anything more than a 'limited' or 'no contribution to Purpose 1 (checking the sprawl of large built up areas).
Against Purpose 3 (to assist the safeguarding the countryside from encroachment) 71 of the parcels received a 'significant contribution' grading; the remaining 24 getting only a 'limited' or 'no contribution' rating.
(NB for purposes of clarity it should be noted that several of these parcels of W&H Green Belt land scored highly on other NPPF purposes - by virtue of different landscapes and circumstances.)
The report then considered the assessment of 'harm' to the Green Belt if these parcels were released for development. In this instance the 95 parcels of land were subdivided down into 184 smaller parcels for examination. Sixty-one of these parcels had a 'very high' or' high' harm rating (20 'very high' and 41 as 'high').
The final element of the report then classified 16 of those sites as having a 'most essential' Green Belt rating. One of these is the area around Woolmer Green which is close to Knebworth in North Hertfordshire.
The Woolmer Green/Knebworth Green Belt parcel is in many ways similar to the land around Cockernhoe and thus it is useful for comparison.
The Woolmer Green area has a Green Belt gap between it and Knebworth of only 400 metres across undeveloped, visually open farmland. The gaps in the north-south settlement chain in W&H are narrow, so land which preserves the local landscape identity by forming an undeveloped countryside gap is considered very important in Green Belt terms and therefore designated as 'most essential'.
This is very similar to the narrow strip of land between the Cockernhoe area in North Hertfordshire and the Luton town boundary.
But tellingly, the Green Belt around Cockernhoe has a significant contribution against both Purposes 1 and 3 so making this area even stronger than the land in W&H around Woolmer Green/Knebworth (which rated as significant against only Purpose 3) and which is described as 'most essential' to the purposes of the Green Belt.
Paragraph 136 of the NPPF states quite clearly that 'once established Green Belt boundaries should only be altered where exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified."
Para 144 states: When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. 'Very special circumstances' will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm resulting from the proposal, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.

'Harm' in the Green Belt context is therefore vitally important. NHDC should have considered 'harm' in its slapdash review of September 2018. If there is to be any consistency in local planning and if NHDC had used the detailed analysis employed by the W&H consultancy there is little doubt that the area to the east of Luton would be designated as suffering considerable 'harm' to the Green belt and therefore it should be re-graded as ' most essential' to Green Belt purposes.

Furthermore, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council commissioned a joint study into the Green Belt (Central Bedfordshire Green Belt Study Stage 3) of January 2018. This covered 80 sites in Central Bedfordshire and 8 sites in the Luton Borough area and was carried out by the same consultancy (landuse.co.uk) and to the same level of detail. So it also assessed which parcels of land were regarded as potentially suffering from ' harm' to the Green Belt if released for development and from that gave a grading as to how many of those parcels would be deemed as 'most essential' to Green Belt purposes.

Conclusions

We contend that:

* NHDC should have followed the comprehensive approach of three of its neighbouring local authorities - and commissioned detailed and independent studies into the 'openness' of its Green Belt areas earmarked for development and from that identified which parcels of land would suffer from 'harm' and hence assessing needs as to how essential the land is to Green Belt purposes.
* We are confident that if this approach had been followed, the Green Belt area around Cockernhoe would have been designated as likely to suffer 'very high harm' from potential development and would have been designated as 'most essential' for Green Belt purposes.
* We believe that the September 2018 Green Belt Review carried out by NHDC was thin, selective and nowhere near detailed enough - even though it regraded the Cockernhoe Green Belt area as making a 'significant overall contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt'.
* We argue that the Inspector should have identified these shortcomings as the Inspector examining the Welwyn & Hatfield Local Plan has done and required a complete re-assessment of the Green Belt plans in North Hertfordshire to be carried out properly.
* There needs to be consistency in local planning and its methodology and Inspectors have to be cognisant of what is going on in their neighbouring authorities' areas of examination.
* Fundamentally, we contend that the draft NHDC Local Plan, its modifications and Evidence Documents examined in this representation reveals that this aspect of the Plan is unsound and should be dismissed.

* Finally - is it too fanciful to suggest that there appears to be strong grounds for an independent inquiry into how NHDC has conducted itself in relation to its almost obsessive desire to build large numbers of homes on Green Belt land around Cockernhoe. Also, why it continues to promote this policy, despite many areas of investigation on a variety of different topics which have been documented by representations and which all point to deep flaws in the Council's approach. Everything points to NHDC desperately seeking to massage its work, its statistics and its whole approach to justify a pre-planned and pre-determined outcome with no consideration for the well-being of the communities of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green, as well as the sanctity and transparency of the robust planning process that is required and the protection of the Green Belt which its residents/constituents in this part of North Hertfordshire so earnestly desire.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

MM149 - Page 104 after paragraph 9.23 (new paragraph)

Representation ID: 7378

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

See attached

Full text:

Examination of Modifications MM149 and MM375 in relation to London Luton Airport
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT

The draft North Herts District Council (NHDC) Local Plan makes only one or two tiny references to London Luton Airport. Furthermore, in the modifications proposed by the Inspector and incorporated by NHDC, there are two specific modifications that are relevant to Luton Airport. These are:
MM 149 - which states
"London Luton Airport immediately adjoins the District to the west. Development
potentially affected by noise from the airport will need to ensure that appropriate
mitigation measures are incorporated. Site-specific criteria for relevant allocated sites
are set out in the Communities section of this plan".

And MM 375 - which states
"We will also work with these and other relevant authorities to understand, and
holistically plan for, any long-term strategic infrastructure requirements arising from
future growth. This will include consideration of any infrastructure that may be required within North Hertfordshire to facilitate the delivery of growth proposed in other authorities' plans or other long-term aspirations that may come to fruition over the plan period. Any proposals to expand London Luton Airport beyond the limits of its current planning permission would fall within the scope of this commitment".

In both the draft Local Plan and these modifications there is no specific mention of the major expansion planned for Luton Airport and which will have a significant impact on the planned building of 2,100 homes on Green Belt land to the east of Luton. If ever there was an elephant in the room - this would be it!
The Green Belt area to the east of Luton is very close to the boundary of London-Luton Airport - indeed building homes on Green Belt land further to the south of the area has been ruled out due to its proximity to the airport and air traffic.

Nationally there is an assessed need for more airport capacity and it is well-known that Luton Airport has an important role to play in this. Both nationally and locally therefore it is common knowledge that there are strategic expansion plans for the airport.

In early 2018 master plans were unveiled for a dramatic expansion of Luton Airport on an area closely adjoining the Green Belt land allocated for 2,100 homes by NHDC to meet so-called unmet housing needs from Luton.

These plans include, a second Terminal, which will be capable of increasing capacity at the airport from its current 18 million passengers per year (mppa) up to a projected 32 mppa, new car parks, new dual-carriageway roads and an extra link road, the DART rapid transit system, plus a significant business park - New Century Park.

The plans also include a new engine run-up bay, a sewage works, effluent treatment plant, a fuel farm as well as airport parking that will butt up very close to the Green Belt land in North Hertfordshire and the proposed housing building sites. These developments will be lit by tower lighting.

It goes without saying that such an increase in passenger capacity (some 78%) will mean a significant increase in the number of flights.

Such is the scale of this proposed development that Luton Airport will have to put in an application to the government for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to authorise the expansion. It is expected that the DCO application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in mid-2020. The final decision will rest with the Secretary of State.

Amazingly, there is no mention of this significant development anywhere in the NHDC Local Plan or in the proposed modifications to the Plan. The various public consultations for the new Terminal Two and other developments have been continuously running for several years and yet the NHDC planners and Local Plan authors have failed to acknowledge even so much as an outline presence of this in their Policies, Examination Documents and Modifications. NHDC supposedly participated during the Luton Local Plan examination, and yet, still there is no mention of it in the NHDC Local Plan.

At the very least, the supposed delivery of 2,100 homes in this area simultaneously with the delivery of the major infrastructure at Luton Airport, just a field or so away, is going to be extremely challenging, let alone the impact on local residents in the villages around Cockernhoe and in the Wigmore area of Luton from such a massive and long-term concentration of noisy construction work. To not have any mention or examination of a development of this magnitude in the Local Plan or its modifications so close to the proposed housing development is alarming.

It can also be argued that building so many new homes close to the expanding airport, with its planned 78% capacity increase in the same timescale as the Local Plan period, will bring associated long-term aircraft noise problems. Apart from these proposed homes in North Hertfordshire being much closer to the runway movements than anything else currently in the Cockernhoe area, they also will be much closer to the proposed new Terminal 2 and with it the associated start-up, taxying and shut-down noise from aircraft. If ever there was an issue that could cause long-term problems to NHDC from noise complaints and possible litigation, this would be it.

Interestingly, the airport expansion plans also entail eating into the Wigmore Valley Park area, but to compensate for this the airport authorities state that a bigger area of open space will be created to the east. The draft plans for this open space seem to indicate that the land allocated is actually in the NHDC Green Belt and so the question arises have the owners of this parcel of land sold it to Luton Airport?

In the adopted Luton Local Plan 2011-2031 it is stated that the New Century Park development will accommodate 7,000 people per day to enter and leave this industrial site. Some of these people inevitably will travel by car and exit via the small local Luton road network (already busy), and some, undoubtedly, will further travel on via the roads through the proposed new housing development.

This is in addition to the increase in passengers using the airport. Whilst it is acknowledged that efforts are being made for passengers to use public transport wherever possible (e.g. the DART system), there is no doubt that a higher than current number of people will continue to use their cars to drop off passengers (evidenced by the inclusion in the expansion plans of a new drop-off zone for the new Terminal) and so there will be added pressure on the local road networks both in Luton itself and the adjoining areas.

NHDC has already stated that it does not foresee the traffic from its proposed housing development east of Luton having 'a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

This view is not shared by Luton Borough Council, which states in its adopted Local Plan that the large East of Luton housing 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'.

Given that NHDC does not seem to recognise that a nationally important strategic air transport development is about to take place on its own doorstep - namely the expansion of Luton Airport - at much the same time as the planned building of homes in the nearby Green Belt, and is in denial about the volume of traffic that probably will arise, it is hardly surprising that it still believes that its projected housing development on Green Belt land is going to take place in some form of splendid isolation.

CONCLUSIONS

* We contend that these modifications and indeed the draft NHDC Local Plan represent a failure of the Duty to Co-operate. The Duty to Co-operate relates to the preparation of the Plan which means that cross-border issues should be examined before the submission of the Local Plan.
* As the NHDC Local Plan makes no mention at all of the massive expansion of Luton Airport, which has direct implications for the proposed housing development east of Luton, as well as the residents already living in this North Herts area, it is difficult to see how the NHDC Local Plan has examined this major Luton Airport development issue. There is no evidence to prove that such examination has taken place before the submission of the Local Plan; there has been no scrutiny of it during the Examinations, and finally, there is no mention of it in these modifications.
* The disconnect between the statements from NHDC and Luton Borough Council as to the impact of traffic flows arising from the proposed new housing, the New Century Business Park and the expanded airport is worrying.
* It is simply inadequate to rely on the bland statement contained in MM375 - which says "We will also work with these and other relevant authorities to understand, and holistically plan for, any long-term strategic infrastructure requirements arising from future growth". This utterly ignores the fact that an infrastructure project of national significance is currently planned to take place right next door to the proposed east of Luton housing development and in much the same timescale.

* We further contend, therefore, that this aspect of the NHDC Local Plan should be deemed as Unsound and dismissed.

* Finally, it is difficult to conclude anything other than that NHDC is deliberately evading and ignoring the future wellbeing of its constituents and their environs when no proposals, questions or actions whatsoever are raised with regard to the Luton Airport development. At best this lack of comment/reaction - let alone practical objections - strikes one as surprising and alarming; at worst, one wonders whether the 'silence' is deliberate. Either way, NHDC is absolutely not representing or working towards ameliorating, in any way, the interests of its electors and residents in relation to the major Luton Airport development plan.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

ED159 NHDC note to Inspector: Implications of new household projections for the NHDC Local Plan

Representation ID: 7379

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

See attached.

Full text:

1) Examination of Evidence Document ED159 - Note to the Inspector: Implications of new housing projections for NHDC Local Plan

THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT
Introduction:
In the light of the new housing projection statistics issued by the Office for National Statistics in late 2018 and which seem to indicate a lower projection for housing requirements across the UK, the Inspector asked North Hertfordshire District Council to comment on whether there are any implications arising from these new numbers generally and, specifically, in relation to the Local Plan's proposal to meet unmet housing need from Luton and on land currently designated as Green Belt around Cockernhoe. NHDC's response is contained in Evidence Document ED159.
Looking at the NHDC paper ED159 and the statistics contained within and cross-referencing that to other documentation from, specifically, Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire District Council it is very apparent that, from almost all methods of analysis, there is in fact NO UNMET HOUSING NEED FROM LUTON.
ED159, and with it the requirement from North Hertfordshire District Council to build 2,100 homes in the area around Cockernhoe, should therefore be rejected as unsound.

The simple analysis
According to the adopted Luton Local Plan the number of homes required in the town itself has been identified as 17,800 during the period 2011-2031. Luton Borough Council has committed to building at least 8,500 homes within the Borough over the 2011-2031 period and this number is committed to in the Luton Local Plan. The difference between the required housing in Luton of 17,800 and the planned building of 8,500, results in a shortfall - the so-called unmet housing need from Luton - of (17,800-8,500) = 9,300 homes.
Of this total of 9,300 homes, Central Bedfordshire DC has committed to build 7,350 homes in its area adjacent to Luton while NHDC has offered to build the balance of 1,950 homes in the Green Belt area around Cockenhoe.
However, the new ONS 2016 housing statistics, which predicts fewer houses being required across the UK than previously estimated, shows a reduction of 519 homes per year to be required in Luton. Measured over the 20-year period of the Local Plan that results in 10,380 fewer homes being required in Luton.
Therefore, an initial simple analysis shows that the figure of 10,380 fewer homes wipes out Luton's unmet housing need of 9,300 homes, by a margin of 1,080 homes. Looking at the statistics another way, if the new ONS statistics suggest that Luton's housing needs are not now 17,800 but 17,800 -10,380 = 7,420, then the planned building of Luton's 8,500 homes comfortably exceeds the number of homes required and, thus, no unmet housing need exists.

Looking at this is more depth

NHDC's ED159 document makes considerable mention of the uncertainties surrounding these new ONS statistical projections. Their response includes papers quoting a senior UK government figure citing reasons as to why there may be anomalies in these statistics. However, the reasons given for why the new statistics (which were compiled based on trends evident between 2001-2011) might be subject to some doubt, mention several key pointers including low levels of housebuilding in that decade, a decline in housing affordability, and, increasing numbers of adults living at home for longer. We would argue that those pointers are still in evidence today and that, therefore with these underlying pointers still valid today, it is quite conceivable that the new ONS statistics might well be accurate.
However, we have to recognise that Government guidance to local authorities states that the earlier ONS statistics should still be used for the examination of Local Plans that have already been submitted.
Under the Duty to Co-operate one would have thought that NHDC would have taken the trouble to look closely at Luton's record in building new homes. So we have done it for them!
If we look at what Luton Borough Council has achieved in terms of building new homes over the past 27 years (that is the previous Local Plan 1991-2011) and the first seven years of the current Local (2011-2018) Luton has achieved an over-delivery of housing averaging out at 56 homes per year over the 27-year period. In fact, in the current Luton Local Plan from 2011-2018, the over-delivery of homes has been 103 homes per year over the past seven years.
Nowhere in its Local Plan submission does NHDC take into consideration this over-building achievement over an extended period by Luton Borough Council and made an effort to extrapolate it to future house building needs in the town.
At the current rate of build from 2011-2018 Luton had built 3,698 homes compared to a plan target of 2,975 in that period (425 homes a year). If this rate of over-build continues for the remaining 13 years of the Luton Local Plan it would result in a total up to 2031 of the already built 3,698 plus the targeted build of 13 years x 425 homes per year = 5,525, plus the over delivery at the current rate of 13 x 103 homes = 1,339 homes. A grand total of 3,698 + 5525+ 1,330 = 10,562 homes, exceeding the number in the Luton Local Plan by 10,562-8,500 = 2,062 homes.
More realistically we have also looked at a scenario where the over-build of homes is limited to the average achieved over the past 27 years - 56 extra homes a year. Under this scenario, the over-build for the remaining 13 years of the current Local Plan would be 3,698 + 5,525 plus 728 = 9,951 new homes, exceeding the number in the Luton Local Plan by 1,451 homes.
Now, taking a look back at the housing shortfall as suggested by the new ONS statistics of 10,380 homes, compared to the 17,800 homes identified by Luton as new homes required during the 2011-2031 period, that leaves only 7,420 homes left to be built.
Luton has already built 3,698 of these leaving 3,722 to be built during the next 13 years - an average of 286 a year. At the lower average rate of over-build of an extra 56 homes per year, that would result in a yearly total of the planned 425 plus the extra 56 = 481 homes per year delivered which, over the remaining 13 years of the Luton Local Plan, equals 6,253 homes which added to the 3,698 already built gives a total build of 9,951 new homes.
Of course, at the current rate of overbuild of 103 extra homes per year that total of 9,951 new homes would grow to 10,562 new homes delivered.
Both of these projected build rates would comfortably exceed the Luton housing figures of 7,420 suggested by the new ONS statistics by anything between 3,412 (the higher rate of build) or 2,531 (the lower rate of build). Thus, even if the new ONS statistics were too pessimistic, and more homes were likely to be needed, the chances are very good that Luton would be able to deliver those extra homes using its own resources and with no unmet housing need arising from Luton.
But, in another scenario, if local authorities are forced to rely on the previous ONS statistics and that, therefore, there is still an unmet need of 9,300 homes arising from within Luton, the fact remains that Luton's record of over-achievement in building homes over the past 27 years would indicate that it could deliver between 2,062 extra homes (higher build rate) or 1,451 extra homes (lower build rate). This would mean that the unmet need of 9,300 would reduce to between 7,238 (higher rate) and 7,850 (lower rate) homes needed.
Central Bedfordshire, in its Local Plan submission, has committed to deliver 7,350 homes to meet Luton's unmet housing needs. At the higher rate of Luton build this would mean that Central Bedfordshire's allocation would meet the Luton unmet housing need; at the lower rate of Luton build only some extra 500 homes would still be needed.
The big question, therefore, is which local authority is to meet that possible Luton unmet housing need.
We argue that Central Bedfordshire is by far the biggest component outside the Luton Borough to meet this need. Its population in the Luton Housing Market Area (HMA) contributes 35.6% of the population of the Luton HMA dwarfing the area around Cockernhoe which contributes a statistically insignificant 0.15%.
Central Bedfordshire is better placed geographically and with better access to superior transport links, key services and infrastructure and closer to the Luton jobs market, to contribute their 7,350 homes first. At the higher rate of Luton over-build this would remove any residual unmet need arising from within Luton. At the lower Luton over- build rate an extra 500 homes would be needed to meet this shortfall.
In this instance it is strongly arguable that Central Bedfordshire has more land identified for possible housing sites (some 266 sites in the Luton catchment area, quite a few of which are not in the Green Belt).
Also, Luton Borough Council has stated that it strongly desires that any housing provided from outside its area to meet any unmet need has to be closer to facilities, noting in particular that it is urging Central Bedfordshire to bring forward the potential of land to the west of Luton for development much more quickly; a subject of some dispute between the two authorities.
A closer look at the statistics contained in the NHDC ED159 response paper in relation to Luton's unmet housing needs
In its ED159 response NHDC has resorted to some strange statistical gymnastics which we have analysed.
First of all NHDC refers to the new ONS statistics as suggesting that Luton's housing needs are some 40% less than the previous ONS projection with some 9,500 fewer homes being required.
But in the statistics tabulation close by in ED159 they appear to contradict their own statement. They correctly list Luton's current plan requirement for new homes as the 17,800 discussed above, but instead of showing the large reduction down to 9,500 for the new indicative figures based on the new ONS statistics, they show the new Luton requirement as being 17,000 homes. For some reason the 40% reduction in homes suggested by the new ONS statistics has become only a 4.9% reduction to 17,000.
NHDC's justification is that they have applied 'vacancy rates and market signals uplifts applied in line with the approach taken in respective Housing Market Assessments.' But there is no particular explanation as to how applying those parameters results in such a potentially large drop in housing needs being reduced by only a fraction.
Looking at Market Signals Uplifts as used by neighbouring authorities we can see that the uplift in housing numbers averages from 5% - 20% (Examples include South West Herts comprising Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans, Watford and Three Rivers - 5.1%; Welwyn and Hatfield - 20%; West London Boroughs Alliance - 18%; Tower Hamlets - 20%).
The proposed uplift suggested by NHDC comes out as 79% (an increase from the figure of 9,500 to the suggested figure of 17,000). It is very difficult to see how such a huge market signals uplift can be justified.
But there is more.
In ED159 NHDC provides another tabulation which uses a different housing forecast method based upon Lichfields - a planning consultancy. Using this approach, the housing figures for Luton are reduced from the 17,800 in the Luton Local Plan to 13,000, a reduction of 4,800.
If those Lichfields figures are adopted it means that Luton's plans to build 8,500 homes in the 2011-2031 period will result in an unmet need of 4,500 homes (compared to 9,300 in the Luton Local Plan). It is entirely likely that Luton will continue to over-delivery on its housing build over this period, so this unmet housing need could come down to more like 4,500 - 2,062 (higher build rate) = 2,438 unmet need, or, (at the lower build rate) it could be 4,500 -1,451 = 3,049 as the unmet need.
So, in this scenario, we come again to which local authority is better placed to make up this shortfall. We continue to argue that Central Bedfordshire is far better placed to meet this requirement with its commitment to build 7,350 homes to meet unmet needs from within Luton and so removing the need for NHDC to build 1,950 homes on the Green Belt around Cockernhoe.

But NHDC also comments in ED159 on housing requirements in the part of Central Bedfordshire that falls within the Luton HMA

NHDC then goes on to suggest in ED159 that the area of Central Bedfordshire that falls within the Luton HMA will experience an increase in homes required under the new ONS statistics from 13,400 to 16,000. Again, there is no explanation as to why there is an increase, though it might be due to around a 20% market signals uplift.
But then NHDC applies the Lichfield consultancy methodology and comes up with an even higher increase in homes required for Central Bedfordshire within the Luton HMA from the 16,000 to 20,100 - again no explanation or justification for this increase.
This is despite the fact that, according to the new ONS statistics, Central Bedfordshire will require an average of 238 fewer homes per year - which over a 20-year period equates to 4,760 fewer homes. Indeed, Central Bedfordshire itself states in its response to the UK government consultation on the new ONS statistics that these new ONS statistics would lead to a 'housing reduction for many authorities, including Central Bedfordshire'. So where NHDC gets these increased housing figures from is mysterious.
This is vital because it is clear that NHDC is in the process of trying to manipulate statistics to justify a change in its approach. It is quite clear that they are moving the goalposts.
Up until this ED159 paper is has been abundantly clear that NHDC's offer/desire to build 1,950 homes around Cockernhoe is to meet Luton's unmet housing need - that is from within the Luton town borough area. They now say it is necessary to review the new ONS statistics across the wider Luton HMA.
So we now look across the wider Luton HMA. Taking NHDC's own figures in ED159 we can combine this increase in housing for Central Bedfordshire, with the reduction in the Luton Borough requirement, together with a statistically insignificant increase in Aylesbury Vale from 400 - 600, and leaving 200 homes (as the even more statistically insignificant figure) for North Hertfordshire, to leave the wider Luton HMA as requiring an increase from 31,800 homes to a new higher figure of 33,900 homes - approximately 7% higher NHDC states.
Central Bedfordshire, in its MoU with NHDC in September/October 2018, has said in relation to its own requirement to build 39,350 in Central Bedfordshire, (32,000 for its own needs and 7,350 to meet unmet needs from Luton), that it is currently planning to meet its housing needs in full within the plan period and has confirmed:' that at the current time assistance is not required from any other local authority, including NHDC, to meet its OAN.'
The increase from 32,000 identified by Central Bedfordshire as its housing requirement to the 33,900 suggested by the NHDC figures in ED159 does not seem to be hugely significant (NB no response has yet been found from Central Bedfordshire to these NHDC statistics).
So to conclude this part of the representation, if NHDC's own analysis of Luton's housing needs using the Lichfield methodology is followed, then, at the very most, the Luton unmet need will be 4,500 homes (though with the strong likelihood that Luton will build more homes). If those 4,500 homes are added to the extra 1,900 homes suggested by the NHDC study of Central Bedfordshire's own requirements within the Luton HMA, that brings a total of 6,400 homes. This can be met by Central Bedfordshire's commitment to providing 7,350 homes in addition to the 32,000 it needs for its own purposes and at the same time eliminating the need for NHDC to build 1,950 homes on Green Belt land around Cockernhoe. However, the question once again arises which local authority is best placed to meet this unmet need. We contend strongly that Central Bedfordshire is far better placed to meet this need, especially as the need is contained within its own area of the Luton HMA, as stated by NHDC.
Our overall conclusions
In almost all of the scenarios examined as a result of studying in depth the NHDC paper (ED159) to the Inspector, the ONS 2018 housing projection statistics and its accompanying detailed datasets, as well as referral back to the NHDC Local Plan, the Luton Local Plan and the draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan there is the overwhelming conclusion that there is likely in almost all scenarios to be no unmet housing need arising from within Luton.

There is a possibility that in one scenario, a small number of extra homes might need to be built to meet a residual unmet need arising from within Luton - at the most this looks to be around 500 homes. In this case the question arises where will these houses come from? Should it be from Central Bedfordshire - which is the second biggest component of the Luton HMA and with more identified building sites available, some not in the Green Belt, and with closer and easier transport links, services links and closer to the Luton jobs market - or- should it come from North Hertfordshire through building on the Green Belt around Cockernhoe and in the process engulfing the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green - an area which has now recently been re-defined as making an overall significant contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt?
Clearly, there is no 'exceptional circumstance' demonstrated here to justify building on the Cockernhoe Green Belt.

But there appear to be more serious issues at play. It is very difficult to predict future housing need and it is important that the most robust and transparent methodology is used and that consistency is applied. Sadly, the arguments presented in ED159 have demonstrated statistical gymnastics and a cynical and duplicitous approach adopted by NHDC.

Such is NHDC's apparent desperation to build these homes, that they have now changed the goalposts by suggesting that the homes are not - as everyone has consistently believed for many years - to meet unmet needs arising from within Luton itself but, they now argue, to meet needs arising from within the wider Luton HMA. This goes right against the explicit statements in the MoUs and Statements of Common Ground signed by NHDC, with Central Bedfordshire, Aylesbury Vale and Luton Borough Council which make direct reference to the housing need arising from within the Luton Borough Council authority area.

The figures to justify this simply do not add up. NHDC should produce robust and clear justification as to why they have calculated that extra homes will be needed in the Central Bedfordshire area of the Luton HMA under the new ONS statistics, when Central Bedfordshire itself states that it see these new statistics leading to an overall reduction in homes required. In any event, NHDC does not appear to have produced these figures with any sign of co-operation or verification from either Luton or Central Bedfordshire.

NHDC's conclusions to ED159 state that under the various alternative scenarios discussed, 'the unmet housing needs from Luton could decrease. Viewed in isolation, this could call into question the justification for the allocations proposed to the east of Luton in the current Plan. However, this issue needs to be considered in the context of the broader Luton HMA's ability to absorb the shortfall'.

It goes on to say: "Under the alternative scenarios, Central Bedfordshire could have to provide additional homes in order to meet its own requirements. As such, although the unmet needs from Luton are lower, Central Bedfordshire's potential ability to address them could be reduced to an equal or greater extent. Once the potential combined requirements for Luton and Central Bedfordshire are taken into account, the east of Luton sites would still be required to make a positive contribution towards housing needs from the wider housing market area under the alternate scenarios".

NHDC also must explain why it is so keen to continue in its quest to build 1,950 homes in the Cockernhoe area, despite there being scant evidence of any unmet need arising from Luton, and also having no regard to Luton's over-delivery of housing numbers over a 27-year period. Yet their own figures, using the Lichfield methodology, suggests there to be no more than a notional increase in housing from Luton and Central Bedfordshire and this representation demonstrates, in all probability, that these homes can be met from within the Luton HMA by the number of homes able to be built by both Luton and Central Bedfordshire.

In short, NHDC's argument that 'exceptional circumstances' for the use of the Green Belt land to the east of Luton remains applicable is utterly wrong and should be dismissed totally.

This area of land around Cockernhoe should be kept in the Green Belt and, furthermore, the firm offer made by NHDC to its neighbouring authorities in the Luton HMA to build 1,950 homes in this area should be scrapped, as clearly this need does not exist anymore. NHDC seemingly has bent over backwards under the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring authorities in its desire to build these homes so it can be argued that it has met its obligations under the Localism Act.

Even further, the idea that the narrow strip of land to the east of Luton with its tiny and statistically insignificant population of 1,700 people (500 of which are in the Cockernhoe area) should be part of the Luton HMA (322,000 population) in the first place is a nonsense and a convenient contrivance that has allowed, either - the unintended consequence of this small area potentially having to bear an utterly disproportionate and destructive contribution to meeting neighbouring authorities' unmet housing needs, or, - a deliberately and knowingly-created situation to enable NHDC to build homes for reasons other than to meet other authorities' unmet housing needs through the Duty to Co-operate.

Finally, why has NHDC not embraced positively the possibility that there may not be an unmet housing need arising from Luton Borough Council and in so doing protect the Green Belt that its constituents/residents so value and wish to preserve?

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

MM375 - Page 224 after paragraph 14.39 (new paragraphs) (ED139)

Representation ID: 7401

Received: 10/04/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

See attached

Full text:

Examination of Modifications MM149 and MM375 in relation to London Luton Airport
THE REPRESENTOR'S ARGUMENT

The draft North Herts District Council (NHDC) Local Plan makes only one or two tiny references to London Luton Airport. Furthermore, in the modifications proposed by the Inspector and incorporated by NHDC, there are two specific modifications that are relevant to Luton Airport. These are:
MM 149 - which states
"London Luton Airport immediately adjoins the District to the west. Development
potentially affected by noise from the airport will need to ensure that appropriate
mitigation measures are incorporated. Site-specific criteria for relevant allocated sites
are set out in the Communities section of this plan".

And MM 375 - which states
"We will also work with these and other relevant authorities to understand, and
holistically plan for, any long-term strategic infrastructure requirements arising from
future growth. This will include consideration of any infrastructure that may be required within North Hertfordshire to facilitate the delivery of growth proposed in other authorities' plans or other long-term aspirations that may come to fruition over the plan period. Any proposals to expand London Luton Airport beyond the limits of its current planning permission would fall within the scope of this commitment".

In both the draft Local Plan and these modifications there is no specific mention of the major expansion planned for Luton Airport and which will have a significant impact on the planned building of 2,100 homes on Green Belt land to the east of Luton. If ever there was an elephant in the room - this would be it!
The Green Belt area to the east of Luton is very close to the boundary of London-Luton Airport - indeed building homes on Green Belt land further to the south of the area has been ruled out due to its proximity to the airport and air traffic.

Nationally there is an assessed need for more airport capacity and it is well-known that Luton Airport has an important role to play in this. Both nationally and locally therefore it is common knowledge that there are strategic expansion plans for the airport.

In early 2018 master plans were unveiled for a dramatic expansion of Luton Airport on an area closely adjoining the Green Belt land allocated for 2,100 homes by NHDC to meet so-called unmet housing needs from Luton.

These plans include, a second Terminal, which will be capable of increasing capacity at the airport from its current 18 million passengers per year (mppa) up to a projected 32 mppa, new car parks, new dual-carriageway roads and an extra link road, the DART rapid transit system, plus a significant business park - New Century Park.

The plans also include a new engine run-up bay, a sewage works, effluent treatment plant, a fuel farm as well as airport parking that will butt up very close to the Green Belt land in North Hertfordshire and the proposed housing building sites. These developments will be lit by tower lighting.

It goes without saying that such an increase in passenger capacity (some 78%) will mean a significant increase in the number of flights.

Such is the scale of this proposed development that Luton Airport will have to put in an application to the government for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to authorise the expansion. It is expected that the DCO application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in mid-2020. The final decision will rest with the Secretary of State.

Amazingly, there is no mention of this significant development anywhere in the NHDC Local Plan or in the proposed modifications to the Plan. The various public consultations for the new Terminal Two and other developments have been continuously running for several years and yet the NHDC planners and Local Plan authors have failed to acknowledge even so much as an outline presence of this in their Policies, Examination Documents and Modifications. NHDC supposedly participated during the Luton Local Plan examination, and yet, still there is no mention of it in the NHDC Local Plan.

At the very least, the supposed delivery of 2,100 homes in this area simultaneously with the delivery of the major infrastructure at Luton Airport, just a field or so away, is going to be extremely challenging, let alone the impact on local residents in the villages around Cockernhoe and in the Wigmore area of Luton from such a massive and long-term concentration of noisy construction work. To not have any mention or examination of a development of this magnitude in the Local Plan or its modifications so close to the proposed housing development is alarming.

It can also be argued that building so many new homes close to the expanding airport, with its planned 78% capacity increase in the same timescale as the Local Plan period, will bring associated long-term aircraft noise problems. Apart from these proposed homes in North Hertfordshire being much closer to the runway movements than anything else currently in the Cockernhoe area, they also will be much closer to the proposed new Terminal 2 and with it the associated start-up, taxying and shut-down noise from aircraft. If ever there was an issue that could cause long-term problems to NHDC from noise complaints and possible litigation, this would be it.

Interestingly, the airport expansion plans also entail eating into the Wigmore Valley Park area, but to compensate for this the airport authorities state that a bigger area of open space will be created to the east. The draft plans for this open space seem to indicate that the land allocated is actually in the NHDC Green Belt and so the question arises have the owners of this parcel of land sold it to Luton Airport?

In the adopted Luton Local Plan 2011-2031 it is stated that the New Century Park development will accommodate 7,000 people per day to enter and leave this industrial site. Some of these people inevitably will travel by car and exit via the small local Luton road network (already busy), and some, undoubtedly, will further travel on via the roads through the proposed new housing development.

This is in addition to the increase in passengers using the airport. Whilst it is acknowledged that efforts are being made for passengers to use public transport wherever possible (e.g. the DART system), there is no doubt that a higher than current number of people will continue to use their cars to drop off passengers (evidenced by the inclusion in the expansion plans of a new drop-off zone for the new Terminal) and so there will be added pressure on the local road networks both in Luton itself and the adjoining areas.

NHDC has already stated that it does not foresee the traffic from its proposed housing development east of Luton having 'a significant adverse impact on the wider highway networks of Luton and Hertfordshire'.

This view is not shared by Luton Borough Council, which states in its adopted Local Plan that the large East of Luton housing 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'.

Given that NHDC does not seem to recognise that a nationally important strategic air transport development is about to take place on its own doorstep - namely the expansion of Luton Airport - at much the same time as the planned building of homes in the nearby Green Belt, and is in denial about the volume of traffic that probably will arise, it is hardly surprising that it still believes that its projected housing development on Green Belt land is going to take place in some form of splendid isolation.

CONCLUSIONS

* We contend that these modifications and indeed the draft NHDC Local Plan represent a failure of the Duty to Co-operate. The Duty to Co-operate relates to the preparation of the Plan which means that cross-border issues should be examined before the submission of the Local Plan.
* As the NHDC Local Plan makes no mention at all of the massive expansion of Luton Airport, which has direct implications for the proposed housing development east of Luton, as well as the residents already living in this North Herts area, it is difficult to see how the NHDC Local Plan has examined this major Luton Airport development issue. There is no evidence to prove that such examination has taken place before the submission of the Local Plan; there has been no scrutiny of it during the Examinations, and finally, there is no mention of it in these modifications.
* The disconnect between the statements from NHDC and Luton Borough Council as to the impact of traffic flows arising from the proposed new housing, the New Century Business Park and the expanded airport is worrying.
* It is simply inadequate to rely on the bland statement contained in MM375 - which says "We will also work with these and other relevant authorities to understand, and holistically plan for, any long-term strategic infrastructure requirements arising from future growth". This utterly ignores the fact that an infrastructure project of national significance is currently planned to take place right next door to the proposed east of Luton housing development and in much the same timescale.

* We further contend, therefore, that this aspect of the NHDC Local Plan should be deemed as Unsound and dismissed.

* Finally, it is difficult to conclude anything other than that NHDC is deliberately evading and ignoring the future wellbeing of its constituents and their environs when no proposals, questions or actions whatsoever are raised with regard to the Luton Airport development. At best this lack of comment/reaction - let alone practical objections - strikes one as surprising and alarming; at worst, one wonders whether the 'silence' is deliberate. Either way, NHDC is absolutely not representing or working towards ameliorating, in any way, the interests of its electors and residents in relation to the major Luton Airport development plan.

Object

Proposed Main Modifications

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

Representation ID: 7554

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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

MM010 - Page 32 Policy SP2

Representation ID: 7555

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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

MM017 - Page 38 Policy SP4

Representation ID: 7556

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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

MM020 - Page 39 Paragraph 4.44

Representation ID: 7557

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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

MM023 - Page 41 Policy SP5

Representation ID: 7558

Received: 26/02/2019

Respondent: Ms Karen Jay

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

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.

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.