Central Beds housing plans are criticised

Stotfold Town Councillors Larry Stoter (right) and Anne Clarey (centre) with Arlesey and Stotfold residents
Stotfold Town Councillors Larry Stoter (right) and Anne Clarey (centre) with Arlesey and Stotfold residents

A Stotfold councillor has criticised Central Beds Council on the way they go about building new homes.

The criticism comes in the wake of the Planning Inspector’s findings which concluded that Central Beds has not co-operated sufficiently with other local authorities in developing their strategy.

Dr Larry Stoter of Stotfold Town Council believes Central Beds need to be clearer on their aims when setting out new housing developments.

He said: “There are not enough school places, GP surgeries, public transport, shops, recreational facilites or suitable roads in areas such as Stotfold, Arlesey, Langford and Shefford for the scale of housing development we have seen in recent years.”

However, a Central Beds spokesperson said: “As part of previously adopted plans, new development including appropriate infrastructure are planned for Arlesey, land South of Stotfold and at other smaller sites in the east of Central Bedfordshire.

“These allocated sites have all been subject to extensive public consultation with residents and a masterplan to guide the Arlesey development was adopted by the Council last year.”

Figures show that between 2001 and 2011 the greatest increase in housing in Central Beds has been in Stotfold and Langford (41 per cent), Shefford (24 per cent) and Arlesey (19 per cent) compared to the average of 12 per cent.

Dr Stoter added: “When plotted on a map, it shows a new town is being built in and around the adjacent wards of Stotfold & Langford, Arlesey and Shefford.”

He added: “Already Central Beds Council have had to hastily expand recently built schools because there are not enough school places, despite being told at the time by local parish councils there were insufficient places for the new developments.

“They like to promote the school expansions as good news – better late than never, I suppose.”

Central Beds Council reacted with dismay to the Planning Inspector on its Development Strategy and is considering a proposal to challenge the process in court.