‘Our village is under siege’

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A group concerned about over development in Meppershall is stepping up its campaign.

The recently formed group has organised a yellow school bus which it will be manning outside the village hall on Saturday to highlight what the group claims is a village under siege.

A spokesman said: “Meppershall is under siege from speculative and aggressive developers, with outline plans for 38, 80 and 150 homes in separate developments. In a village of less than 600 homes!

“Meppershall isn’t the only village being targeted by these developers since Central Beds have failed to establish sufficient sites and lodge a Development Plan to show a five year supply of new housing.”

The latest bid is for outline planning consent for 150 homes on the site of Stocken House on Shefford Road by Gladman Homes. It already has 25 objections.

Central Bedfordshire Council is also due to hear applications for 38 homes on land in High Street.

Andrew Davie, Development Infrastructure Group Manager, said: “Central Bedfordshire Council is actively working towards getting a new Local Plan in place to guide the delivery of new infrastructure, homes and jobs, and will publish a draft for consultation in the coming months.

“At a national level, the government are committed to the delivery of new homes and this position is reinforced through the recent White Paper ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’. Therefore, as a Council, we have planned proactively for housing over the past few years by granting planning permission on a range of sites; from the urban extension with multiple community benefits north of Houghton Regis to smaller village infill sites.

“Under government planning rules, local planning authorities must demonstrate they have a rolling five-year supply of deliverable housing. However, whether or not all Councils have this ‘five-year supply’ depends on the rate at which developers and house builders actually build out the sites that the Council has approved for sustainable growth.

“The Council, therefore, continually monitors the delivery of new housing to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information to make decisions about individual planning applications.

“Meppershall, like many large villages across the area, will have planning applications submitted for new housing outside of the Local Plan process, but each will be determined on its own merits in accordance with the development plan for the area.”