Eco-Barley backlash is “irrational and disproportionate”


NHDC - Credit: Archant

A CHIEF coordinator for a proposed village housing project has hit back at claims the plans will change the area for the worse.

Chris Rees, who is leading the bid for at least 20 new homes to be built in Barley, alongside six other parties, has called the backlash “irrational and disproportionate”.

Speaking to the Crow, he said: “I have lived here in Barley for decades and would not do anything that would have a negative impact.

“We want this village to thrive and be successful in the future. The cost of housing here is far too high for people who are just starting out on the ladder. Children who have grown up here and would like to live here as adults simply do not have that option.”

Mr Rees and his wife, Christina, moved to Barley over 30 years ago and raised their children there.

They say that when they held an open day to discuss the project there was mixed reaction. They conducted a survey of residents’ opinions and found a third of people were opposed to the plans, a third of people unsure of them, and the remaining third were enthusiastic.

“We are not trying to hide this from anyone,” Mr Rees said. “There is a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation about this project and its intentions.

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“I just wish that, rather than starting petitions and scaremongering, our neighbours would approach us with their concerns. We are not trying to interfere with anyone’s way of life.”

The response comes a week after the Barley Parish Council chairman, Jerry Carlisle, said: “The parish council is fundamentally opposed to it. The whole of the village is fundamentally against it. It would totally destroy that part of the village. It would be a horror story if it was allowed to happen.”

A formal planning application has yet to be submitted, but the land has been included in North Herts District Council’s draft local plan, which lists possible future housing options in the district. This states that the land could accommodate up to 61 homes.