Bellcross Homes plan for 350 new homes east of Houghton Park Road
An Outline Application has been submitted for the provision of up to 350 residential dwellings and associated works on land east of Houghton Park Road, Parkside, Houghton Regis. The 14.72 hectares site is bounded by Parkside on the west and extends part-way towards the A5505 (Woodside Link Road) in the east and south, and the Kingsland site in the north.
If approved, the new homes will be in addition to the 5,150 new homes already given outline approval on the Linmere (formerly called HRN1) developments.
The application from Bellcross Homes indicates that one of the main entrances to the site would controversially be via Conquest Road. Objections were made at the time of the scoping opinion suggesting that access via Conquest Road and Houghton Park Road would not be safe owing to the volume of cars currently parking in those roads. Two other access roads are indicated to lead east towards the Linmere (HRN1) site.
One option being considered is that parking restrictions may have to be introduced on Conquest Road along with a footway and shared cycle path on the southern side of Conquest Road.
Another option being considered is to retain as many car parking spaces as possible along Conquest Road by including 10 spaces along the southern kerbline which are 2m wide and 16 car parking spaces along the northern kerbline which are 2.4m wide.
A third option would provide a 4.8m carriageway as well as 2.0m footways to both sides of Conquest Road. Inset parking bays which are 2.4m wide would be provided along the southern side of the carriageway to cater for the displaced parking. Further discussion and information about these options for Conquest Road are discussed in this planning document.
Improvements to Houghton Park Road are also considered, including two raised pedestrian crossings leading to Therfield Walk and Park Way. Access onto the new site from Houghton Park Road would be restricted to a shared pedestrian cycle emergency access.
The land is currently used by dog walkers on established footpaths and has hedgerows and a stream crosses the site. The hedgerow would be retained and enhanced with planting of native species to fill gaps. Lighting would be designed to avoid overspill onto the hedge. The site would also include open space with new native tree planting and bird and bat boxes would be installed in suitable locations across the site. An attenuation pond would be created on boggy ground in the central and southern parts of the site. A new boundary hedgerow is proposed to the eastern site edge to provide visual screening and potential habitat value.
|From Houghton Park Road, 2013 Photo: A D Winter|
|Houghton Park Road Photo: A D Winter|
|Bend on Houghton Park Road, Photo: A D Winter|
|The site adjoining Houghton Hall Park. Photo: A D Winter|
ConstructionOver a 4-year construction period, it is expected that the annual build rate during the first year of the development could be 50 units with around 100 dwellings per annum over the subsequent 3 years.
ConstructionTrafficThe workforce and HGV traffic is expected to make around 60 trips to and from the Site in the morning and evening, mostly outside of the peak hours. The construction traffic would arrive and depart via Conquest Road and Parkside Drive, then linking onto the Woodside Link. At the peak of construction activity, around 14-16 two-way HGV trips per day would be expected, or around one to two HGV per hour across the working day.
Likely IssuesThe main problems as I see them will be:
Access. - as mentioned above
Waterlogged land - the land can become quite waterlogged, it's something that can be allowed for by earth movements and attenuation ponds.
Recreation use - of course, if you use the land to walk dogs on now, you'll be more restricted in the future.
Next StepThe next step is for Central Bedfordshire Council to hear of any comments to the planning authority. Email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting CB/19/02053/OUT.
The plans can be seen online (please allow time for the documents to load).
This application is discussed more in our Facebook group, Houghton Regis Planning Applications.
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