Central Bedfordshire Press Release
For Immediate Release
PR 1682
05 September 2013


A major residential, commercial and community development on land north of Houghton Regis has today been granted outline planning permission by Central Bedfordshire Council's Development Management Committee.

The scheme put forward by the Houghton Regis Development Consortium, comprises 5,150 homes and 216,200 sqm of buildings supporting employment, retail, leisure and community facilities including a care home. The new development will create 2,500 jobs within the new retail and industrial provision and a further 2,500 jobs during construction.

Forming part of the larger Houghton Regis North extension proposed in the Council's emerging Development Strategy, the permission will deliver a big proportion of the 7,000 homes identified for this area to meet growing local housing and employment needs and will take some 20 years to complete.

The development will also make a £45m [contribution] towards the construction of the A5-M1 Link Road and will help to deliver the new Woodside Link road which are both much needed to relieve congestion in the local area. As well as serving the development, the new A5-M1 Link, a 2.9 stretch of dual carriageway north of Dunstable and Houghton Regis, has wider strategic importance. By relieving traffic congestion - particularly in our town centres - and providing quick links to the motorway network it will support the regeneration of both Dunstable and Houghton Regis and make the area even more attractive to business.

The contribution to the Link Road and other community facilities that the development will provide will be subject to a 'Section 106' planning agreement. Councillors granted outline planning permission subject to the completion of this planning agreement and referral to the Secretary of State.

Because the development site is designated as Green Belt land, the application needs to be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, for a further decision on the planning permission. He will have the choice of allowing the application to be determined locally or requesting a 'call in', prompting a planning inquiry overseen by an independent planning inspector.

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development) says: "This decision marks a significant milestone in our plans to meet identified housing needs for the next generation and to stimulate economic growth across southern Bedfordshire cementing our position as a great location for innovation and opportunity and will create thousands of new jobs.

"The principle of promoting growth through an extension of Houghton Regis was first established ten years ago and this has informed our planning assumptions that this application has followed. There has been a lot of consultation with residents both on the principle and detail of this development and we have worked hard with the developers through the Environmental Statement and the Planning Agreement to ensure the best deal for those living nearest to the development and for the wider community."

In addition to the Section 106 agreement, the developers have produced a plan to take account of and manage the impacts of the development. At least 78 hectares of the 260 hectare site - 30 per cent- will be open space. In addition, the developers will have to agree to construction controls and the provision of necessary community facilities and infrastructure.

Councillor Young adds: "The developers have emphasised that they are also fully committed to working in partnership with the Council and local community to ensure that the development 'comes out of the ground' in the right way over its lifetime."

The application is expected to be submitted to the Secretary of State by the end of this month. He will then have 28 days to decide how he wants to proceed.

The proposed North of Houghton Regis development stretches south to north from urban area of Houghton Regis up to the route of the A5-M1 Link Road and east to west from the M1 to the A5120 and Bidwell village.

HRN1 Outline Planning Permission Granted. Details of Planning Application - CB/12/03613/OUT

Find out more at www.hrn1.co.uk (site not always available)
January 2013 - Over 900 Responses to 'Woodside Connection' Consultation For Houghton Regis Bypass
January 2013  - Green Field Sites Around Houghton Regis Set For 5150 Homes
August 2012 - Houghton Regis Northern Developments
15th April 2013 - Luton Borough Council's response to Central Bedfordshire Council‟s Pre-submission Development Strategy consultation January 2013 and matters relating to the Sustainable Urban Extension Houghton Regis North 1 (HRN1) planning application consultation
December 2014 - Luton Borough Council had challenged the decision by the Secretary of State to permit development, in the courts, but their challenge was dismissed by the judge in December 2014 who said, "It is most unfortunate that this project, which will deliver much needed development and nationally important infrastructure, has been delayed by a challenge lacking in legal merit."[Judgement]