Fall Out from M1-A6 Link Planning Approval

A scheme to build a road between the M1 at the new Junction 11A and the A6 south of Streatley has met with scathing remarks from some CBC councillors in the area. A councillor for the area has called the  'resolving to approve' decision “an act of vandalism”.

Planning Application No: CB/19/00887/FULL was heard by the Development Management Committee at Chicksands on Wednesday 11 September. The proceedings can be watched and heard on the broadcast below.

What is Proposed?
Address: M1 junction 11a to A6 Barton Road, Sundon, Chalton, Streatley.
Construction of a new single and dual carriageway 2.75 miles (4.4km) road linking the M1 and the A6 between the M1 junction 11a and the A6 Barton Road. Comprising intermediate junctions, overbridges, underbridges, cycle paths, revisions to the Public Rights of Way network, drainage and landscaping.

Cllr Mary Walsh, CBC councillor representing the Toddington ward, an area that includes Chalton, Upper and Lower Sundon and Streatley called the decision “an act of vandalism”.

Above: Cllr Mary Walsh's address to the Committee. Cllr Walsh (Independent) later wrote on her Facebook Page,
“Yesterday Central Beds Council agreed [to] the destruction of part of a nationally designated and protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Chiltern Hills.”

“In what can only be described as an act of vandalism, Central Beds Council approved a link road from the M1 to the A6 across this AONB in the Green Belt. Without allowing representatives of the Chilterns Conservation Board or CPRE Bedfordshire to address the Committee and permitting only 3 minutes to one resident to speak, this decision was swept through on the basis of the Government's drive for more housing and the economic benefits that it would bring as part of the Ox Cam Arc. No evidence was supplied to support the claim of economic benefits and it was agreed that this was not part of any plans for improvements to infrastructure for the Ox Cam Arc.”

“I make no apologies for the length of my address to the Committee. As an Independent Ward Councillor for the area affected by this road, I used my ability to address the Council to represent the views of the 5 Villages that are impacted by this road and speak in defence of the AONB and Green Belt. I congratulate the Parish Councils who made the most of the 3 minutes allocated to them to speak but whose views were ignored.”

“The very special circumstances claimed for the destruction of this beautiful countryside, are the Government's demand for more housing to be built and the economic benefits this road will bring as part of the Ox Cam Arc road infrastructure. This road is not included in any plans for the improvement to infrastructure in the Ox Cam Arc: no evidence has been provided as to any economic benefits that could compensate for the loss of good agricultural land, at a time when we should be conserving this land for food production and carbon capture. 2 Ancient Woodlands will also be affected by this road.”

“The road was shown to be unnecessary for the building of 3,100 homes in the Green Belt - and the Report of the Local Plan Inspector is due any moment. The Inspector made it very clear that the Council had not considered the reasonable alternatives to building this road in the AONB and Green Belt.”

“It was a sad day for democracy and the AONB.”

During the CBC meeting, Cllr Silvia Collins (Independent), Toddington ward councillor concluded in her speech, “the application is premature, it should not be considered until the outcome of the Local Plan examination”.

The decision now has to go to the Secretary of State who will decide whether to agree to release the Green Belt for this road.

Cllr Walsh has further suggested that objectors write to local MPs and petition Parliament.

Cllr Pat Hamill (Tithe Farm) told the DMC,“That green belt will be ravaged just like our [Houghton Regis] green belt was. It's all to do with pollution and spoiling the countryside and I can't support something like that which I don't think will give any great benefit because there is a road network that takes you to the A6 and there just needs to be modifications along the way.  Small modifications. But that is too extreme and it will affect the residents in that area.”

Cllr Nigel Young replied to Cllr Hamill's points saying that the new roads had enabled an 80% reduction in HGV traffic from towns and villages in the area, and made points about congestion when the M1 motorway was closed. He thought that the A421 would be the new route for diverted traffic.

Central Bedfordshire Council have approved the plans for the M1-A6 Link Road which will now go forward to the Secretary of State.

CPRE Bedfordshire has said they will "continue to campaign against this unnecessary and environmentally damaging development."

The Development Management Committee making the decision is made up of councillors:
R Berry  (Conservative),
M Blair  (Conservative),
S Clark  (Conservative),
K Collins  (Conservative)
F Firth  (Conservative),
P Hamill (UKIP)
R Hares (Independent),
V Harvey (Independent),
K Matthews (Chair) (Conservative)
C Maudlin (Vice-Chair) (Conservative)
I Shingler (Independent),
B Spurr   (Conservative)
N Young (Conservative)

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