The public consultation for Central Bedfordshire Council’s Draft Local Plan is now open.
The Draft Local Plan sets out the options for growth in the area over the next 20 years, such as the number of homes and jobs that the council proposes to deliver.
To create the Draft Local Plan, the council pulled together 15 new technical studies to guide their overall strategy for growth. This included the Call for Sites exercise last year. This was an opportunity for agents, landowners and developers to submit land that they believed could be used to meet future demand for homes and jobs. As a result, 851 sites (including 46 employment ones) were submitted. These sites were whittled down by the council to around 150 after assessment. Draft site allocations won’t be publicly consulted on until next spring though – at this stage the council is consulting on the broader growth location options.
The council is planning for a range of between 20,000-30,000 new homes (a more exact number will be featured within the next version of the Plan in 2018). The options for delivering the housing growth include creating new attractive villages east of Biggleswade; a new market town near Tempsford; and east of Arlesey; as well as some small growth in existing villages, but only where services can support it.
The Plan also anticipates 24-30,000 new jobs coming to the area, through both existing and new strategic employment sites. It also includes proposals to increase public access to the countryside by creating more country parks, as well as play parks and open spaces.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We’ve already undertaken lots of public engagement through consultations and 15 drop-in Community Planning events that we held across the area. This prior community engagement wasn’t statutory, but we wanted to go above and beyond in order to get the plan right.”
The public consultation runs from 4 July to 29 August 2017. The public can read the full plan, watch the video, and submit feedback at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplan. Copies are available to view at local libraries or the council offices (Chicksands and Dunstable).
During the consultation, the council will hold a number of public drop-in-sessions from 2pm – 8pm on:
20 July, Biggleswade Town Council Office
26 July, Arlesey Village Hall
7 August, Sandy Village Hall
The next version of the Local Plan for comment will be published in spring 2018.