A consultation has begun on development plans that will change the face of Borehamwood.
Hertsmere Borough Council voted this week to seek the views of residents on a new draft of the Elstree Way Corridor Area Action Plan.
The plan for at least 800 houses along the Elstree Way has been updated following a public consultation and meetings, in which residents said the new homes would put undue strain on Borehamwood’s infrastructure.
It now includes an alternative site for a primary school at Hertswood Academy’s new site, as well as three possible sites for a health centre.
The new draft reverses proposals to remove the Tesco and Shenley Road roundabouts and instead improve pedestrian crossings.
It also seeks to extend the action plan to include Manor Way after developers said they wished to transform a number of office blocks into houses on the street.
Speaking at Wednesday's meeting at the Civic Offices in Elstree Way, councillors urged residents to write in and ensure their voices were heard.
Council leader Councillor Morris Bright said: “If people feel truly passionately as I know they do about the concerns they have about planning they must get in touch. This can’t just fall on the heads of local councillors, it must fall on heads of everyone together.
“Let’s not forget if we had our own way we probably wouldn’t want to build anymore, the developments are being thrust upon us by the Government.
“If we don’t find a way of moving together we will get willy nilly development that won’t fit in and will be a complete mess. People will ask in future why we didn’t do something to sort it out.”
Cllr Bright also urged people to write in with sensible suggestions about what development they did and did not want so they would not come across as nimbys.
Cllr Pat Strack raised concerns about the scale of the development, and its impact on the lives of residents.
She said: “As a borough councillor with family, friends and neighbours and representing residents in this town I urge all to write in and make their comments about the proposals.
“Many of us are very unhappy with the proposed building developments in our town. We have not been given the full picture. Actually the total number of houses is 1,500, there are sites abutting corridor in Thrift Farm Lane and Studio Way. I don’t think the infrastructure would be able to cope.
“Let the councillors and the Government know what you really think and what your fears are about our town becoming urban sprawl, with one large traffic jam and people packed tightly in.”
Cllr Ann Harrison echoed Cllr Strack’s concerns the plans were “misleading” about the number of houses actually proposed.
She urged people to write in individually rather than send in petitions as “letters have far more impact on planning officers and the secretary of state”.
Cllr Harvey Cohen, who has responsibility for planning, said Government legislation meant the council could not stop development, only have the plans in place to manage it as best it could.
He said: “We have to provide homes, we just have to make sure planned homes are placed where thre is infrastructure and on brown field, rather than greenbelt sites.
“We can’t stop the development. We need to have a plan so we can have some sort of control over how it is placed and where it is placed and that’s why it is going out for consultation. We need to hear everyone views.”
The consultation runs until March 5.