Controversial plans for 416 homes north of Biggleswade opposed by town council

There have been three petitions opposing the outline proposals

By Euan Duncan, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:10 pm

Plans for up to 416 homes on a 43-acre site north of Biggleswade are being opposed by the town council.

Applicant Hallam Land Management asked for its development brief for land north of Biggleswade, with access from Furzenhall Road, to be put on hold in March 2020.

The project includes affordable housing, allotments, a community orchard, public open space, children's play area, parking, cycleways and footpaths, and landscaping.

Biggleswade Town Council office

Open land lies north of the site, with the East Coast Main Line to the west and housing accessed from Potton Road to the east.

There have been three petitions opposing the outline proposals, according to the planning notice on Central Bedfordshire Council's website, as well as 1,412 representations against it, 15 in favour and six general comments.

Deputy mayor Grant Fage told a town council meeting: "It was over 18 months ago we first started to see the detail of this application.

"There has been a back and forth between us and our planning consultant as and when further documentation has become available," he explained.

"The objection highlights the most material areas which ourselves and the consultants agree are the things planning officers should be caring about the most.

"We could have probably come up with a list of 20 to 30 things we dislike about this scheme, but we picked out those which are the most impactful.

"Firstly, there's the terrible access down Furzenhall Road and the applicant's inability to deal with parked cars.

"Secondly, the very poor analysis they've done over the junctions between Shortmead Street and Sun Street and between Drove Road and London Road.

"And also there's the disruption caused to and the impact on several monuments and potentially nationally important archaeology on that site.

"I'd like backing for sending that to CBC as our official response to the planning application," he added.

"I'd like to request that we ask CBC to put this response and that of Sandy Town Council on the planning portal, so it's accessible to others.

"We should also ask for our technical audit to go on the portal, as it seems to have mysteriously disappeared.

"And we should ask Central Beds to do more work over the Grove Road junction with London Road, which is already over capacity."

Councillor Mark Knight described it as "an excellent response", asking whether it could include "a reference to the dangerous and narrow nature of footpaths on the Potton Road railway bridge."

Mayor Madeline Russell summarised the recommendation, saying: "This paper should be the formal response from the town council to the plans.

"We're to add a note about the footpaths on Potton Road bridge, request various documents go on the planning portal, and ask for CBC's consultants to analyse the Grove Road and London Road junction."

Councillors unanimously agreed the recommendation with the additions.

The land north of Biggleswade project would be determined by Central Bedfordshire Council's development management committee in due course.