Plan to Build Industrial Units is Under Pressure

An application to build on Land Between Arenson Centre And Foster Avenue, Arenson Way, Houghton Regis, Dunstable has yet to be decided. But the objections are already piling up, and at least one officer at Central Bedfordshire Council is recommending that the applicants withdraw the scheme.

The scheme would build 20 small industrial units on a strip of land running between Dog Kennel Walk and the Boscombe Road/Porz Avenue roundabout. The site is a County Wildlife Site, but some months prior to a development application being submitted, the site was uncaringly scrapped with bulldozers to soil level, removing much of the fauna and with scant regard to any wildlife on the land.

The public application form from 'Option Two Development Limited' says that the 1.27ha site will be used to build  20 B2 industrial units with associated parking, access and landscaping and upgrading of public right of way.

A right of way has existed for years from the roundabout right through to Dog Kennel Path, but at the Dog Kennel end it has been so overgrown with trees and brambles that it has been impossible to pass for a long time.

Overhead view from the Design and Access Statement accompanying the application
Planning application detail

Planning application detail

Planning application detail

Planning application detail

The Houghton Regis Town Council have reviewed the application and made the following objections:

  • Overdevelopment of the area
  • The site is a County wildlife site
  • Insufficient space for the quantity of garages 
  • Lack of parking provision
  • This application is contrary to the saved policies of the South Bedfordshire Local Plan
  • Inadequate space availability for the manoeuvring of HGV vehicles 
  • Out of keeping with the surroundings of Dog Kennel Down

Central Bedfordshire Council's officers have commented:
The Rights of Way officer has some suggestions but no objections and welcomes 'the efforts made to incorporate the right of way in a pleasant and sustainable manner'.
The SUDs (Sustainable Drainage Systems) officer has objections.
The Tree and Landscape officer finds the scheme 'highly regrettable' as the scheme has an 'adverse impact on existing green infrastructure and loss of boundary trees'.
The Principal Highways officer objects, 'there are a significant number of design parameters that have not been met.' He recommends that the application is withdrawn.
The Ecologist points out the County Wildlife Site status and that development of the site would be contrary to Council Policy EE3, 'Reptiles, mammals, birds and invertebrates have been recorded on the CWS and such callous treatment of this area needs to be compensated for'.

The Wildlife Trust has commented 'It is extremely regrettable that most of the habitat of the CWS within the application site had been removed prior to the planning application being submitted.' 'Should the proposal be granted permission, it would fail at present,  by the National Planning Policy Framework' where in paragraph 170 applications should result in a 'net gain' in biodiversity.

Have Your Say

Consultation for this application is still open. You can have your say on this application by going to the CBC Planning portal (LINK] and searching for CB/19/01919/FULL, clicking on 'click for more details', scroll down to 'Submit A Public Online Comment'.

Alternatively, view all the relevant documents at DOC LINK and email your comments to quoting CB/19/01919/FULL

If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in