New homes plan for Hertfordshire village "has morphed into something rather different"
Residents and environmental groups have joined forces to denounce one of Hertfordshire's major planned housing projects, claiming that it has changed significantly since it was first announced.
The LA3 scheme was for 900 new homes to the west of Hemel Hempstead, and dates back to 2013.
But the Dacorum Environmental Forum, CPRE Hertfordshire, West Hemel Action Group, and Bourne End Village Association say there are myriad problems with how the scheme has since evolved, including:
*Increasing the number of new homes by a third to 1,200;
*New school provision shifting to become "temporary accommodation" in other schools out of the immediate area;
*A promised new health centre instead becoming the expansion of other health facilities out of the immediate area;
*Rural roads losing their protection.
John Mawer, of the Bourne End Village Association, told the Gazette: "We already have a problem with traffic turning this village into a rat run.
"With LA3, these problems will be significantly increased - and that will have a severe impact on safety.
"Government policy also requires the traveller site to be integrated into the development. But under this, the proposed access arrangements will exclude it - and will dominate the small communities outside of LA3."
The Dacorum Environmental Forum point to issues that suggest developers have "ignored" their input.
A spokesman said: "We have made numerous suggestions for low-cost wildlife-friendly features, in the properties. There is also the growing need for sustainable energy generation.
"Finally, we have concerns over the effect on wildlife during the implementation phase, and the visual impact of the development."
LA3 is one of six 'Local Allocations', greenbelt sites identified for housing development by Dacorum Borough Council under its Core Strategy which was adopted in September 2013.
The Core Strategy states that Hemel Hempstead will accommodate up to 8,800 new homes up to 2031.
Mr Mawer added: "The application, 4/03266/18/MFA, is currently being considered by planning officers. They will make a recommendation to be put before Dacorum Borough Council's development management committee.
"We urge any residents who have not already done so to write to the planning officer responsible, Ross Herbert, at The Forum, Marlowes, HP1 1DN.
"You can also email [email protected], make comments directly on the Dacorum Borough Council website, and contact your local councillor."
Dacorum Borough Council have been approached for comment.