Central Bedfordshire Council approved it’s housing development plan for a final public consultation during a stormy public meeting at Priory House on Wednesday.
The public consultation will now run until 22 February. After this, the Plan will go to an independent inspector to decide whether it can be adopted.
In August, CBC carried out a public consultation on its controversial draft Local Plan for housing to decide how many houses are built in the next 20 years and where they are built. The plan could see a 40% increase in the amount of greenspace turned into developed land.
This final version, known as the Pre-Submission Plan, sees several major developments in Chronicle country removed from the headline developments in the earlier draft. However they are still there in a reserve list. And campaigners are calling for people to make sure they comment on ALL the proposals.
This Plan identifies a requirement for 39,350 new houses up to 2035, with 23,845 homes already planned for, or built. This leaves 15,505.
5,505 are to be built in villages and small towns including: 12 houses on Sandy Road, Potton; 37 houses in Dunton; 37 houses in Sutton; 23 houses in Everton.
With a further 10,000 allocated for strategic development (big sites):
- 5,000 houses at Marston Vale;
- 1,500 houses east of Biggleswade;
- 4,000 houses north of Luton; and
- 2,000 houses east of Arlesey.
Campaign groups attended both the council executive on Tuesday and full council on Wednesday to oppose the plans.
A spokesman for Campton Village Action group urged the council to reject the plans and a spokesman for Arlesey said the plans for the town “were grossly disproportionate”.
Independent Central Bedfordshire Councillor for Potton, Adam Zerny said: “I can’t support this Local Plan. CBC have ignored public comments and chosen unsuitable locations and the public aren’t being shown all the information. This is a rushed plan and it shows. If it it is refused by an inspector it will make unsuitable planning applications more not less likely.”
The Plan mentions ‘Countryside gaps’ to prevent villages and towns merging together.
Cllr Zerny said these buffers “must go all the way round villages to protect them properly”.
Cllr Zerny also pointed out some small villages have escaped development, others have not been so lucky. In some areas Grade A agricultural land is seen as sufficient to block development, in others it is not.
He said: “The Plan denies the public the opportunity to see the reports CBC has presumably been party to.”