Revised New Homes Application for 62 homes off Bedford Road, Houghton Regis

Red outline: Hunter Page Planning proposed development site
Blue outline: Taylor Wimpey proposed development site

A revised plan (a) to provide fewer homes, and leave more open space for a green route is to go before the town's Planning and Licensing Committee on Monday evening (5th January 2015). The applicant site is a paddock behind the old Red Lion public house on Bedford Road, Houghton Regis. The number of proposed homes is reduced from 65 to 62 and more land would be left as open space.

Representatives of Hunter Page Planning are expected to attend the meeting and tell the local councillors, who previously objected to an earlier proposal, that there are "very special circumstances" for why their scheme should go ahead. And they will say that if the scheme doesn't go ahead, the site could remain in private hands, "and become overgrown and unmanaged".

The applicant has taken advice from a barrister QC who has concluded that "the [Central Bedfordshire] Council would be wrong to insist on rejecting the application solely on the basis of the Site's Green Belt status in light of the Council's longstanding aspiration to remove the Site from the Green Belt." The QC goes on to point out that various attempts to adopt a formal local plan had failed to date, but even so,  the Council had shown aspiration to remove the applicant site from the Green Belt and to reallocate it to housing and green infrastructure.

The applicant will say on Monday that:
1. There is history of seeking to remove the applicant site area from the green belt.
2. The financial contribution of £45m from HRN1 area {boundary of HRN1 is Bedford Road, Calcutt Farm, and east towards the M1} towards the A5-M1 link means that affordable housing allocation has been reduced by 1,000 units, and therefore the applicant site providing 30% affordable housing will be a significant benefit.
3. The proposed housing and affordable housing will help achieve the OAN
4. More than half the applicant site will be left as open space, supporting the Houghton Regis Framework Plan that broadly indicates a green corridor in the applicant site.
5. The HRN2 site is heavily constrained by topology, ecology, flooding and sewage works, whereas the applicant site is free of those constraints and represents a sustainable form of development.
6. The Development Framework calls for an east-west green habitat link which would not be achieved if the site was left unmanaged.
7. Highway improvements associated with the application and the Taylor-Wimpey application would benefit local drivers, local home owners, and bring forward safety improvements.
8. Potential for a contribution to be made towards local wildlife habitats including Blue Waters woodland.
9. The site would be in walking distance of the urban area.
10. The finished site is and would be visually contained, and have a limited impact on the landscape.
11. By improving overlooking onto public open space, the development would help to cure a current local problem.

Planning decisions are ultimately made by Central Bedfordshire Council; the Houghton Regis Town Council makes comments on local plans.

To view full details, go to enter 14/03047 in the search box, and follow the links.


Public comments on the scheme can be made by contacting the case officer, Adam Davies, quoting the planning application number CB/14/03047/OUT, Tel: 0300 300 5191
or by email
or by post to Planning, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ .

Link to May 2014 article: Hunter Page Development Proposal at Bidwell, Houghton Regis 

​Posted by Alan D Winter. 
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