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Planning (Leighton Buzzard)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

I rise to present a petition signed by more than 10,500 of my constituents, principally from Leighton Buzzard and Linslade, opposing unsustainable housing growth imposed on our area without adequate infrastructure. The petition was put together by Mrs. Ann Gates and members of the Leighton Buzzard Opposes Unsustainable Development—LOUD—committee.

The petition states:

The Petition of the people of Leighton Buzzard, Linslade and surrounding parishes of Eggington, Heath and Reach and Hockliffe,

Declares that, while recognising the need for affordable housing growth to meet local need, it strongly objects to the disproportionate and unsustainable proposals to build 6,000 dwellings on 850 acres of Green Belt land around their communities. This enforced indiscriminate development is a direct result of Leighton Linslade being placed in the Growth Area for South Bedfordshire. Large-scale housing developments have been ongoing around the south of Leighton Buzzard since 2001, and a further such development of 1,300 homes is currently going through the planning process. However, this recent expansion has not brought with it more jobs or opportunities for local people. Their town is at breaking point. They are already unable to sustain the existing population with healthcare, education, policing, social care, sporting and community facilities that it needs. Traffic congestion is intolerable, with roads being completely grid-locked at peak times. They believe that further large-scale development will place an impossible extra strain on an area that is already woefully short of infrastructure. It will accelerate the decline of our historic town centre. There will be a hugely negative impact on their local environment, their communities and their quality of life. Large sections of their Green Belt will be lost forever. Their small market town and the surrounding villages will be irreversibly changed for the worse.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to reject the proposed development and any similar future unsustainable developments, and to recommend that Leighton Linslade and surrounding parishes are excluded from the Growth Area for South Bedfordshire.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.