Thursday, 1 August 2013

Woodside Connection Progress Update

The proposed "Woodside Connection" is a new highway to connect Portz Avenue at Poynters Road junction, to a to-be-constructed Junction 11a (a Highways Agency promoted scheme) on the M1 motorway. The proposers of the scheme are Central Bedfordshire Council. Ultimately, the Secretary of State for Transport will make a final decision on the scheme after being appraised by the Planning Inspectorate.

In its case for the new road, Central Beds Council say that "the new road would be around 2.9km in length and would  be single carriageway with the exception of a short length of dual carriageway at the northern end connecting with the new motorway Junction. There would be one roundabout in the central part of the route and two at the northern end, one providing the connection to Junction 11A and the other on Houghton Road/Sundon Road. The new road between these two roundabouts will be around 0.45km in length and will be dual carriageway. Parts of the new road will be raised above the surrounding levels on a low embankment because of the need to cross Houghton Brook and because much of the land along the route is low lying."

The Council also say that "a new connection with Parkside Drive would be provided, allowing vehicles to join the new road from the Parkside area of Houghton Regis. This new connection would cross Houghton Brook, which would be diverted at this point to avoid the Woodside Link having to cross the brook three times rather than once."

The closing date for submitting relevant representations was 29th July 2013.

Some residents are fearful that opening up Parkside Drive would generate a noisy and busy route through a relatively peaceful neighbourhood, and would destroy trees and wildlife in a narrow strip of land.

 The Houghton Regis Town Council was one of the organisations that made representations. Fearing that diverted motorway traffic might be diverted through Houghton Regis via the Woodside Link, objections were raised on the proposed connection of Sundon Road to the Woodside Link, and to the proposed connection of Parkside Drive to the Woodside Link.

The next step is that within 10 working days of the closing date (29th July) the applicant (Central Bedfordshire Council) must certify to the Planning Inspectorate that it has complied with its application notification requirements. After this, the Examining Authority will be appointed to examine the application. The Examining Authority will carry out an initial assessment of the application and representations received and set a date for the Preliminary Meeting.

Interested parties will receive an invitation to the Preliminary Meeting which is to discuss procedural matters only of the examination and is held in public. Interested parties will be sent details of how to take further part in the examination.

The procedural decision made after the Preliminary Meeting will be published at the National Infrastructure Planning website and also be available on request by email from woodside@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk and their helpline: 0303 444 5000 and will set the timetable for the examination. The timetable will include deadlines for receipt of detailed written representation and for comments on others’ relevant representations.


The project is considered to be a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’ according to the
definition in sections 14 and 22 of the Planning Act 2008, and must therefore be consented by means of an application for development consent under that Act. Such applications are made to and examined by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), although for a highway project such as this they are decided by the Secretary of State for Transport, having received a recommendation from PINS.

Cash Injection: The South East Midlands Local Transport Board (SEMLTB) (consists of councils in Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes and Bedford), has been given government cash and has backed the Woodside Link to the tune of £10million.

Recent activity

Registration of interested parties closed - 29 July 2013
Registration of interested parties begun - 24 June 2013
Decision on whether or not to accept the application for examination - 11 June 2013
Application received by the Planning Inspectorate - 14 May 2013

Application Documents