New Big 20 Year Plan for Central Bedfordshire - Have Your Say!

Comment on the Draft plan setting out twenty year development vision

Summary Document here <LINK>
Central Bedfordshire Council is asking the public for its views on a draft strategy that sets out a vision for what Central Bedfordshire should look like in the future; and plans for new homes, jobs and infrastructure up to 2031.

The Pre-Submission Draft of the council’s Development Strategy will be published for comment on 30 June for an eight week period.

The Development Strategy is a planning policy document that will play a huge part in shaping the future in Central Bedfordshire. It plans for the delivery of 31,000 new homes and 27,000 new jobs over a 20 year period from 2011.

It provides a development map for Central Bedfordshire identifying key housing, employment and environmental sites as well as highlighting key infrastructure improvements, plans for settlements and areas of Green Belt. The Strategy also sets out the key policies that will help determine planning applications.

Starting on Monday 30 June and running until Tuesday 26 August, there will be the opportunity for interested parties to comment on the document. Background information on the Strategy, a summary document and a questionnaire is available online at Copies of the documents are also available to view at council customer service centres and libraries from 30 June.

The Council is looking for feedback on whether the Development Strategy is ‘sound’. Comments made will be summarised by council officers and then sent to the Secretary of State to be considered alongside the Council’s Plan and supporting documents, prior to the Public Examination next spring. If the plan is considered ‘sound’, the Council would be asked to adopt it in summer 2015.

Executive Member for Sustainable Planning and Economic Development, Cllr Nigel Young, said: “This Development Strategy is pivotal to our ambitions to make Central Bedfordshire a great place to live and work. It’s about creating homes and jobs where they’re most needed and making sure that existing and future communities benefit from developers investing locally in roads and transport, schools, leisure and open spaces.

“We want high quality development and our area to grow and thrive so that new homes and jobs benefit our local economy - but growth has to be sustainable with infrastructure accompanying this growth. That’s why the Strategy has been prepared and why it is important for local people to comment at this time. We have and will continue to go beyond the basic requirements for engagement to make sure that everyone has a chance to comment, whether that is business communities, local people or potential investors.”

Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business Support said: “We are responding to the challenges of growth for our area by ensuring it is sustainable and in the right place at the right time. This Strategy is the culmination of extensive local assessments and studies and has been drawn up in consultation with local people, developers, investors and statutory bodies.

“This final round of public scrutiny is really important before it goes to the Planning Inspector. We need to show that it will meet the test of time – presenting a sustainable development vision for our market towns, villages and communities.


Notes to editors

As well as meeting additional housing needs the Development Strategy has also been updated to reflect new local and national standards for new development.

This is an update to the previous draft strategy that the Council had consulted on during 2012 and 2013. The previous housing target of 28,700 has been revised in response to latest population data, showing trends in births, deaths and migration, and to meet the need for homes in the wider area, specifically Luton.

Of the 31,000 new homes now being planned, more than half have been built or had sites identified already. The majority of the remainder are planned for large strategic sites North of Houghton Regis, North of Luton and East of Leighton Linslade and South of Wixams. The additional homes needed to make up the 31,000 total will come from small-scale sites on the edge of existing towns and villages but only where they meet strict criteria and development is of the highest design quality. A site in Chaul End, comprising 325 homes, is also being put forward as a new strategic site.

Meeting the increased housing target would mean increasing the building rate from the current 1,250 new homes a year to 1,550 homes a year. Jobs will be created building the homes but also through the 139 hectares of new employment land that is allocated in the strategy.