Central Bedfordshire Development Strategy Withdrawn

Central Bedfordshire Green Belt To Come Under More Pressure to Find Space For More Houses

photo: A D Winter
Last night Central Bedfordshire Council unanimously voted to withdraw the current Development Strategy, ending four years of work, after a government inspector had criticised the councils failure to build enough houses to help meet Luton’s need.

The local planning situation had changed following a report from the Office for National Statistics which had published new population projections. This had led to the current Development Strategy and the subsequent Allocations Local Plan being out of date.

The Secretary of State had confirmed that he would not call-in the Houghton Regis North 2 application, leaving the Council free to grant planning permission for this proposal, which was given in July 2015 subject to a legal agreement. Earlier this week, the S.106 legal agreement was completed, and consent was issued. Documents relating to the application for 1850 homes on land north of the Houghton Regis Chalk Quarry, west of Bedford Road, can be found here.

Because of the ending of the current Development Strategy, the Council will now have to find more sites to build thousands more homes within the authorities area, both to meet Luton’s need, and to accommodate its share of the new population projections since the last plan was started in 2011.

The new Development Strategy is expected to go out for consultation next Autumn and will identify sites for housing, employment, gypsy and traveller sites, and infrastructure, and is bound to put significant pressure on the Green Belt within Central Bedfordshire .

If the Council fails to have a suitable plan in place by early 2017, the Government will consider imposing a team of inspectors to make the planning decisions on its behalf.