Plans to build thousands of homes to the east of Luton and south-west of Hitchin are being discussed by Luton Borough Council as it tries to cope with demand for housing in the town.
The proposals are part of North Hertfordshire District Council’s 20-year-local plan, and although the houses would be on Hertfordshire land, some of the social housing could be used by Luton.
While Luton council supports the plans “in principle”, there are fears the development would cause massive problems for traffic congestion, particularly around Vauxhall Way, Airport Way ,M1 J10a, Eaton Green Road and Wigmore Asda area.
Deputy Council leader Councillor Sian Timoney said: “If this development went ahead it would have a huge impact on Luton. We support the idea in principle as the need for houses in Luton is a massive problem and we’re trying to work with all our neighbours to try and get homes for Luton people, but there are serious concerns about infrastructure. Traffic is already a nightmare in the East of Luton – Vauxhall Way is one area that gets stuffed up. Any development that side of town is going to cause massive problems. In principle we support the idea of growth, but this infrastructure issue needs addressing.”
The council’s executive committee will discuss North Herts’ proposals to build 3000-3400 homes on land to the north of the current Brickklin - Wandon Park site, and 2900 - 7400 homes to the south-west of Hitchin at a meeting on August 27.
It is not known what the percentage of social housing on the sites might be, but predictions for Luton’s housing future housing needs show an unmet demand of 25,900 houses by 2031, so any access to social housing in North Herts would ease the strain.
Councillor Timoney said: “In some ways it’s an expansion of Luton, but then the houses would be on Herts land so for example children would probably go to schools in Herts. The infrastructure is where things sometimes come unstuck because the cost of that has to be contributed to by the developers, and if it is not viable for them profit-wise, it may not go ahead. We are trying to negotiate the best deal we can for Luton.”
The executive report on the plans says there is a need to “make the development more sustainable, integrate the development with Luton’s employment base and town centre shops and services, address traffic congestion via a relief road connecting A505 to Century Park and via the airport with corridors to the town centre.”