Response From CBC on 'Land-banking'

Last week we published concerns of CPRE that Council's could be land-banking (see 6th August). This week we publish a response from Central Bedfordshire Council.

"The government want more homes to be built. Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan is planning for 39,350 new homes up to 2035. We recognise more homes for residents and their families are needed in Central Bedfordshire, particularly affordable ones. So we have worked hard to find sustainable sites for these new homes.

"There are currently 2,100 new homes built a year. The vast majority of these aren’t in the Green Belt, and there’s a target for up to 35% of them to be affordable. However, as 40% of Central Bedfordshire is designated as Green Belt, we must consider some development in the Green Belt to ensure that growth is balanced across our area, and is provided close to where housing is needed in the south.

"CPRE feel there is scope to put affordable housing on brownfield sites in Green Belt. We do seek to ensure that brownfield sites are redeveloped ahead of greenfield or Green Belt land, in line with national planning policy. However, Central Bedfordshire is a comparatively rural area, so most brownfield sites have already been or are earmarked for redevelopment.

"RAF Henlow is the one of the only large-scale brownfield sites in our area, and we do have clear ambitions for reusing the site to create much-needed skilled jobs. In addition, there are 13 sites in Central Bedfordshire on our Brownfield Register. Out of these, all except three are already allocated for housing in our Local Plan or have planning permission. These are also all very small sites which would not deliver any significant number of homes, so while the delivery of homes on previously developed land is welcomed, they could never provide for the number of new homes that are needed."