Town Council Vote Shows Support for not building on Windsor Drive Open Space

A recorded vote was taken at the Houghton Regis Town Council (HRTC) meeting on Monday this week. Members of the Council were deciding whether or not to support a campaign group who are opposed to any suggestion from Central Bedfordshire Council  (CBC) that they might build homes on an Open Space beside Windsor Drive.

For many years HRTC has cut the grass at the large open space on Windsor Drive, that it might be used for sports and recreation, even though the ownership of the land falls to CBC who regard it as an asset to be redeveloped. 

In their address to the Town Council, members of the campaign group,  Friends of Windsor Drive Community Open Space, sought the support of the Town Council to be unified in their approach to CBC when it came to any planning application for homes to be built on this Open Space. FoWDCOS recorded their comments (above). In the video the argument is put that Houghton Regis is providing more than its fair share of new housing for Central Bedfordshire, already.

However, although decisive recorded votes were taken, there were some abstentions and not all HRTC councillors were actually present. After deliberations, and the prospect of an alternative motion 2 was discussed, voting took place:

The published recommendations in the HRTC agenda were:
1. To continue to offer support to the Friends of Windsor Drive Group in terms of engaging in democratic processes; 

This motion was voted on and was agreed. 

2. To oppose any future development on Windsor Drive unless very special circumstances are shown in accordance with draft Neighbourhood Plan Policy 12. 
Motion 2 was voted on but not agreed upon. 

Cllr Kennedy (independent) then proposed a new recommendation 2. According to the Labour group, the new recommendation put forward by Cllr Kennedy stated “The council supports the National Planning Policy Framework and its commitment to the brownfield sites instead of greenfield sites and therefore opposes any development on greenfield sites in Houghton Regis including Windsor Drive”.* 

This new recommendation was voted FOR by the following councillors: Cllr M Kennedy (independent), Cllr C Slough (Labour),  Cllr A Slough (Labour), Cllr C Copleston (Labour), Cllr J Carroll (independent), Cllr T McMahon (independent), Cllr P Burgess (independent). The Liberal Democrats present at the meeting abstained from this vote.

To find out more about the 582 member-strong Friends of Windsor Drive Community Open Space visit their Facebook (private) Group . The group's description states: “We wish to use this group for community comments and photos regarding the plans by Central Bedfordshire Council to build more homes on one of the only green areas left. As a community we need to know what is left will be kept for the use of local residents. Outside of covid restrictions this is used for football, rounders and running club activities as well as by local residents for exercise, dog walking and even golf recently.”