Fresh Application for 160 New Dwellings on Thorn Road

A planning application for 160 new homes at Bidwell on Thorn Road had so many issues with it that the applicants withdrew their application. The applicants have now submitted a fresh application.

The previously submitted  Reserved  Matters scheme  (ref:  CB/19/02870/RM) was withdrawn following comments from the Principal Planning Officer and the various consultees. Concerns were raised as to the scheme’s compliance with the adopted Design Code, significantly:

• In terms of residential amenity, several locations were identified where the rear to rear privacy distance fell below the 21-metre standard contained within the adopted Design Guide.

• With regards to non-compliance with the Design Code, several aspects were identified. It was initially raised that the ‘middle island’ to the northwest of the roundabout presented insufficient informal/formal frontages as shown in the Design Code. Subsequent discussions highlighted the altered constraints of the parcel as a direct result of the approved access road location moving. In light of which the proposed urban form and small deviation from the frontages within the Design Code were considered acceptable.

• Again, as a result of parcel constraints, the loss of the western facing frontage within the south-western parcel was noted, constituting a departure from the Design Code

.• Focal points were considered to be insufficient for the purpose, particularly considered in comparison to the larger apartment buildings which addressed the roundabout.

• In terms of general design, it was considered that a number of blank facades were evident with insufficient variation in terms of articulation and materials, as well as with variation in roof design.

• A higher proportion of chimneys was also sought to create further interest in the roof designs.

• It was considered by the Landscape Officer that the Design Code Regulating Plan intended for a more landscape led treatment to  the  Main  Street/Thorn  Road roundabout junction. It was felt that the close proximity of the apartment blocks to the roundabout left little scope for landscaping opportunities. Extract from withdrawn scheme identifying location where rear to rear privacy distance falls below 21.0 metres. see memo

The Housing Development officer objected to this application saying, “In the current format, Strategic Housing are unable to offer support to the application and object on the non-compliance of the affordable mix in relation to the affordable rented units against the s106 requirements. The application provides for compliance in terms of quantum of affordable housing provision with the application providing for 30% affordable equating to 48 affordable dwellings. The application also proposes for compliance with tenure requirements with the provision of 63% affordable rent (30 affordable rented units) and 37% shared ownership(18 shared ownership units).” - see memo.

The Ecologist commented, "The buffer between the CWS Thorn Spring and the development is 15m which is not felt to be sufficient. " and more besides. see memo

Principal Highways Officer had concerns with turning circles, shared drives, visitor bays, problematic bends, footways needed extending, driveways that were too narrow, read memo in full.

Revised Scheme

Link to Planning document

As mentioned above, the applicant has revised and resubmitted the application as CB/20/00348/RM . 48 of the homes will be classed as affordable. Homes will be up to 3 storeys high - the tallest being located around nodal points in the scheme including around the new roundabout on Thorn Road. Parking has been provided to reflect the minimum requirements of Central Bedfordshire Council, as follows; 1 bed apartments 1 allocated space, 2 bed apartments 2 allocated spaces, 2 bed houses    2 allocated spaces, 3 bed houses    2 allocated spaces, 4+ bed houses  3 allocated spaces (where terraced  only 2 spaces required), Visitor  Parking  25% (45 spaces provided).

Link to planning document
How do all these developments fit together? Take a look at this unofficial map, click around and look at the pictures supplied for each plot.

Find out more about the plans at the Central Bedfordshire Planning website and search for CB/19/03232/RM (direct link to documents). Comments can be sent by email to

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