CBC challenge to new housing targets

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Central Bedfordshire Councillors have unanimously backed a motion to challenge newly proposed housing targets for the area.

The move was taken at the full council meeting on Thursday.

“Planning for the right homes in the right places” was published earlier this month by the national Department for Communities and Local Government. Described as an initiative to boost housing supply, the consultation document suggests housing numbers, predicated on a new method for calculating local authorities’ housing need.

But, in proposing a motion to robustly challenge the proposals, Council Leader James Jamieson, suggested the new numbers were based on seriously flawed calculations.

“As a Council, we’re committed to sustainable growth, so that future homes will be built alongside the services, jobs, schools, road and rail infrastructure that our communities need” said Councillor Jamieson.

“These proposals undermine our ability to deliver this for residents.”

“Given our commitment to sensible and realistic planning it is deeply frustrating that officials from a Government Department have issued housing projections that are frankly ill informed, unreasonable and undeliverable. I am pleased that my colleagues from all political groups at the Council have given me a clear mandate to challenge these flawed targets.”

Central Bedfordshire Council is currently carrying out a major consultation on development in the borough over the next 20 years.

Its draft Local Plan suggests around 30,000 homes, plus employment land and infrastructure, could be built by 2035.

The plans include four villages east of Biggleswade, expanding Arlesey by around 2,000 homes and a new market town near Tempsford which could have around 7,000 homes.

Consultation on the draft has now closed with a next version of the plan to be unveiled in 2018.

A total of 23,000 homes are already planned to be built.