SRB address to NHDC Cabinet Meeting 26 September 2016

We are under no illusions that we can sway tonight’s vote but wish to make a last few comments on behalf of those who are against this Local Plan.

We speak unapologetically for the town of Baldock as it is our town, a well loved historical market town and it is, more than anywhere else in the county, under threat from the Local Plan.

The current plan threatens irreversible negative consequences to the character of Baldock and its rural environs.  Creation of new homes should be an investment but many fear this plan will be the death knell for what is currently a thriving asset for Hertfordshire.

Baldock people fear that they will be priced out of the market by commuters wishing to use the town as a dormitory.

Huge housing estates of generic homes do not add aesthetically to the town they are tacked on to and this would be no different.

The infrastructure required to create the development is massive but the council is loathe to specify details and I feel they know developers will not foot the bill and provide what is crucial to a development of this size. They haven’t elsewhere in the county.

No new evidence has been made available concerning real traffic predictions for this beleaguered town and the link roads conjured up by Cllr Levett will do nothing to alleviate the situation. Only purpose built ring roads could approach a solution to this problem.

It is still the case that a massive development in Baldock will be a win-win situation for Herts County Council and we feel that this colours their judgement.

Facilities like schools health centres and transport will be overcrowded and become degraded. In short. we fear Baldock as we know it, the Baldock many sought out as a good place to live, will be no more. And it need not happen if development were to be shared out more equitably around the county.

Cllr Levett has said that maybe it is Baldock’s turn to suffer a huge development but he ignores the huge increase in housing we bore in the 1970s and 80s when the Clothall Common estate was built.  That increase of just over 20%, which is larger than any other town in North Hertfordshire is being forced to accept now, did create its own problems in the town.  That Baldock is being required to accommodate an increase of around 80% of population now is laughable and will cause considerable ructions in the community in addition to the physical and mechanical consequences of the development.  It is like tacking on an entire new town.  It will be an unhappy affair for many who have yet to realise it.

We feel the NHDC’s attitude is quite patronising.  It is as if they have given up and are just passing on the decision to inspectors.  They are setting an increasingly unrealistic timetable for fear of losing the New Homes Bonus.  They are reacting to external pressure and are in panic mode.

We shall be urging everyone in the county, and especially in Baldock, to take part in the Consultation and to send the inspector their informed views.  If they have done this previously it is still imperative that they do so again in the hope that an unbiased judgement will be made.

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