A community interest group is encouraging people to have their say on a local plan consultation which they fear could destroy Greenbelt land and the “character” of the area.

Gary Ansell, chairman of the Kings Langley & District Residents Association, told the Watford Observer Greenbelt sites in the Three Rivers local plan should only be used under “exceptional circumstances”- adding brownfield sites should be “exhausted” first.

His group wants villagers to comment on the Potential Sites document before the deadline extension concludes on December 21.

Councillor Sara Bedford announced the extra time on Thursday last week.

Mr Ansell said: “What the potential sites between Kings and Abbots Langley could create is a coalescence of the two villages.

“If approved, it’s going to ruin the character of Kings Langley and a huge number of additional houses will affect the village’s future – we also don’t have the infrastructure to support it.

“We can’t see much evidence about infrastructure improvements in terms of how schools would cope, for instance.

“We are also concerned about increases in traffic and of course almost all sites are on the Greenbelt which should only be developed under exceptional circumstances – brownfield sites should be exhausted first.

“We are completely against developing on Greenbelt land.”

Mr Ansell said that while it is unlikely all sites would be approved, pressure from central Government focusing on “unrealistic” housing numbers meant the local council were compelled to say “OK, we have to do this”.

He added his members had circulated a newsletter encouraging villagers to comment on Three Rivers consultation which he claimed, “spread out like spilt milk on a plate of glass”.

His group are also concerned a new service station at Junction 20 of the M25 by Moto Hospitality Limited would further encroach on Greenbelt land causing traffic problems and his members have started “monitoring” traffic levels to “find out if they get worse”.

He said: “If there is a slight traffic issue in that area everything backs up in Kings Langley causing problems.”

Responding to concerns about the local plan, leader of Three Rivers Cllr Sara Bedford said: “This informal consultation is simply a list of all the sites submitted by potential developers. No sites have been selected by councillors or officers.

“The Government has instructed Three Rivers to find room for a minimum of 610 homes every year for the next 15 years. If we do not find the sites, civil servants in Whitehall will bypass local people and impose sites for development.

“This consultation is an information-gathering exercise. It is not the point at which objections can be made. The council will take note of information received and draw up a list for the draft Plan, which will then be checked at a Public Inquiry.”

On Moto, she added: “The council has not heard anything further from Moto since their recent exhibitions. A planning application is likely in the new year and at that point councillors will be able to make a decision based on all the information placed before them.

“Local councillors in the area have already expressed opposition on the grounds of light, air and noise pollution, and added congestion on local roads.”

Kings Langley & District Residents Association www.greenbeltmatters.com

Potential Sites extension https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/17226442.deadline-for-three-rivers-local-plan-consultation-extended-two-weeks/?ref=twtrec