Housing developments around Bedfordshire town are “piecemeal” like a jigsaw puzzle meeting hears
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Housing developments around a Bedfordshire town are “piecemeal” like a jigsaw puzzle, obscuring the final outcome, a meeting heard.
Applicant Cala Homes Limited submitted full plans for 146 homes, with a section of the Arlesey relief road and an amenity space.
The 12.5 acre site is at the back of residential properties 155 to 229, High Street and is open grassland, according to a report to Central Bedfordshire Council’s development management committee.
“It would be accessed from the High Street via two Cala Homes developments to the north,” said the report. “There are 102 market homes, 32 affordable rent and 12 shared ownership properties, with a mix of flats and houses.
“Parking is provided in various formats, including garages, car ports, driveways and visitor spaces.”
Principal planning officer Andrew Cundy said: “Arlesey Cross is the collective name for two housing developments east and west of the town’s High Street.
“The whole site allocation is for 1,000 houses, 25 acres of employment land, local centres, including an NHS facility, and open space.
“One of the most important priorities of the Arlesey Cross master plan, adopted in 2014, is delivering the relief road connecting the A507 to the five ways junction.
“This is the western part of the allocation for 146 homes and its section of the relief road.”
Labour Arlesey and Fairfield councillor Nick Andrews explained: “The problem is to understand the whole picture for Arlesey.
“Some of the facilities promised in the original plan, such as a village hall, don’t appear to be coming through in the Section 106 arrangements.
“We need access to money to finish off this relief road once the (various) developments are complete. A working party is being set up for the town.
“We don’t have the town council or any residents here because they’re not enamoured with CBC.”
Independent Arlesey and Fairfield councillor Jodie Chillery said in a statement: “Each application has to maintain the character and appearance of the area.
“This plot is a wildlife haven. I’ve asked about recreating some of the habitat in the open space and an orchard in the community space.
“These are all piecemeal like a jigsaw puzzle under the master plan. The community centre desperately needs rebuilding.”
Head of planning at Cala Group Limited Neil Farnsworth said: “Our application is a mix of one-bed to five-bedroom properties, with 44 affordable, and wheelchair compatible and custom build housing.
“This next phase of the relief road, delivering an essential piece of local infrastructure, will unlock the CBC-owned land to the south.
“Extensive open space is provided through a village green. This will contain an orchard as requested by the town council. There’s a net gain in biodiversity.
“A public right of way will become a safer and more accessible route, while public footpaths will increase pedestrian connectivity to the High Street.
“The site will be entirely gas free with air source heat pumps used, reducing carbon emissions by more than 30 per cent.”
The town council objected because of non-compliance with the adopted Arlesey Neighbourhood Plan.
Councillors agreed the development with seven votes in favour, one against and one abstention.