CBC Approves Plans for Employment Buildings At Corner Plot on Thorn Turn

  • Councillors at Central Bedfordshire Council today approved a plan to establish speculative employment buildings on Thorn Road.
  • The site could operate up to 24 hours a day.
  • It's close to the junction with the A5 dual carriageway in the north of Houghton Regis parish.
    The site is next to the large A5 roundabout, entrance to be on Thorn Road

    Listen to the recording for the complete details of the proceedings:

An outline ‘hybrid’ planning application was passed in 2015 and that included this site for employment uses with perimeter buildings marked in purple.

The site currently comprises an area of vacant grassland, with employment buildings to the south and south-east and a residential estate to the east. 

The proposed development would have a single vehicular access point, via Thorn Road. The application would provide 104 car parking spaces and 23 HGV spaces. The development comprises 3 separate buildings, taller than nearby adjacent homes, but lower than a nearby Baytree giant "shed".

Cllr David Jones addressing the committee

Cllr David Jones, addressed the meeting to speak on behalf of Houghton Regis Town Council. He said,  “The Town Council is horrified at the scale of this development.” and called it,  “The worst example of over-development which I have seen in my years of planning experience”.

Ward CBC councillor, Cllr Susan Goodchild, referred to the "inappropriate scale" proposal as a “mediocre and uninspired commercial development”. She added, “Thorn Turn is the gateway to the very large urban extension of Houghton Regis North and to Dunstable. It deserves something so much better than this proposal.”

Background reports to the meeting included objections made by the Town Council and others:

A spokesman for the developer made several points during his allocated time and under cross-examination by committee members, including,
 “We have tried to follow the Design Code as much as we could. We want the buildings themselves to act as a buffer for noise to the homes. We have lowered the height below that agreed in the outline permission.” 
Trees will grow along the boundary between the buildings and the homes.”
 “20% of parking spaces (about 40 per building) will have electric charging points from the start.”
 “We believe these buildings will fly [off the market] given their specifications.” 
“We envisage small scale logistics or light industrial use.” 
Lights would point down, so there would be negligible light spillage outside of the site.”
 “The policy directs 8,000 sq metres. The 900sq metres over that is for office space at 1st-floor level, to make them far more attractive to the market, providing a far better range of jobs for the area.”

A background report to the meeting provides more information, should you wish to read it. During the debate, reference is made to "Late Sheet".

The Development Management Committee was held on Wednesday, 25th August 2021, and this application, CB/21/01242/FULL, was approved.

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