Our Countryside is under attack!

The fight to save the Green Belt to the east of Luton

This leaflet provides residents in and around the three villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green and Tea Green, plus residents from the Wigmore area of Luton, with a brief update as to the status of the campaign to stop the unnecessary and unwanted destruction of the Green Belt through the building of 2,100 homes.

Where do we stand at the moment?

Following the examination stage of the North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) Local Plan the Planning Inspector required NHDC to carry out certain actions to alter the plan in some respects (known as Main Modifications) and to provide answers to some questions through Evidence Documents.

Several of us, who are all part of the Save Our Green Belt (SOGB) campaign, have worked hard to unravel this paperwork and, as a result, have provided compelling arguments as to why the Green Belt should be protected across North Hertfordshire generally, and specifically in the area east of Luton.

What happens next?

The Inspector will now consider all these objections along with the Local Plan as it stands and will make his judgement sometime this summer.

What will he decide?

According to the guidelines from the Planning Inspectorate he can declare the Plan as ‘sound’ which means essentially that it can be adopted by NHDC and become a legal document for use in taking decisions on planning applications. Or, and this is rare, he can declare the Plan as ‘unsound’ and dismiss it.

What do we do next?

If he allows the Local Plan to go ahead then SOGB will mobilise rapidly to raise funds for a High Court Judicial Review which will seek legally to prevent the Green Belt from being disturbed.

This is where we need all the help we can get from local residents in the east of Luton area.

How can you help?

Not to put too fine a point on it, we will be seeking money. This will be to fund the legal challenge across all the affected areas of North Herts. Furthermore, we will need to raise this money FAST. The estimate is that something in the region of £50,000 will be required. Our best guess is that from the time of the Inspector’s decision we will have only about six weeks to mount the legal challenge in the High Court.

This is a lot of money to find, but the last fund-raising exercise several years ago, raised around £35,000 and this led to the legal team making a decisive contribution at the examination stage by pointing out recent case law in the Court of Appeal that has protected the Green Belt from unneeded and inappropriate development. We will employ the same legal team to consider and then to make our case.

It is a lot of money, but we are heartened by the contribution already from the Offley & Cockernhoe Parish Council which has donated £2,000 to the campaign. At this year’s Party on the Green on Mangrove Green, we also will be collecting funds (Saturday July 6th). That still leaves a lot to be raised but if every household of the 400 homes in Wigmore and the villages contributed £10 each we would be well on our way.

Several of us in the area have formed a team to plan this fundraising exercise over the next few months.

FUND-RAISING QUIZ NIGHT

SATURDAY JUNE 1st – TIME: 1930

FOR SAVE OUR GREEN BELT
AT WIGMORE CHURCH HALL, CRAWLEY GREEN ROAD

We are now arranging a quiz night to start the fund-raising campaign to help save the precious Green Belt countryside to the east of Luton. We hope you will come and enjoy while at the same time raising some money.

Please come and join us to support this vital campaign. As indicated before, we need to raise funds to pay for a strong Judicial Review legal challenge in the High Court if the North Hertfordshire District Council Local Plan gets the go-ahead.

We are looking for teams of from 4 to 8 people to register for the quiz. With help from you all we need to field as many teams as possible. We are happy to help make up teams by putting individuals in touch with smaller groupings.

Please book your place/ table as soon as possible with either:

Wigmore area – Carolyn Cottier Tel: 01582 555198; Mobile: 07982 346413;
Email: cazad1@yahoo.com

The villages – David Dorman Tel: 01582 721480; Mobile: 07831 135526
Email: ddaviddorman@aol.com

  • Entry per person is £5 for the night, payable on the door
  • Experienced quizmaster will preside
  • Snacks and nibbles on the tables will be provided
  • Paying bar will be available with a range of wines, beer and soft drinks
  • A fund-raising raffle will be held during the half-time interval
  • All funds raised will be used to contribute to the legal challenge
  • We aim to finish around 22.30

There are many compelling reasons why we object to the 2,100 homes development proposed by North Hertfordshire District Council for the east of Luton. The Green Belt in this area is classified as the highest category – making a ‘Substantial Overall Contribution’ to the purposes of the Green Belt. Yet the four villages of Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green, Tea Green and Wandon End would be engulfed by construction of houses, flats, retail outlets and schools; construction would take place over 16 long years. The NHDC Local Plan has not even recognised that a massive expansion of Luton Airport is planned right next door, and at the same time. Air quality in Luton and around the airport is already poor and breaching legal limits, though conveniently ignored by both Luton and NHDC. The removal of the Green Belt from this area will make this poor situation even worse in the immediate vicinity.

Thank you for your help as we approach the final climax of this long battle.

We can challenge this at the High Court via Judicial Review with your help.

So join our quiz night – let’s raise the funds together whilst having some fun!

We also need more people to be a part of our general fund raising and planning team. Please contact Carolyn or David if you can get involved.

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