Victory for Tempsford, woe for Arlesey in the latest homes local plan

There are winners and losers in the latest edition of Central Beds Council’s local plan.

Tempsford has been given a reprieve from the proposed 7,000 homes and business park.

But the East of Arlesey, East of Biggleswade, Holme Farm, Biggleswade and the RAF Henlow base are still being put forward.

The latest plan provides for up to 20,000 new homes and 24,000 jobs. Thousands of people took part in the consulation last year.

The pre-submission document was published on Wednesday, it goes before the council’s Executive committee next Tuesday.

The Arlesey plan involves a housing-led development of up to 2,000 homes and a country park. The park will create a buffer between Arlesey and Fairfield Park.

There will also be land provided for a health and social care hub with a financial contribution towards providing the facility, and community centres, a mix of retail and at least one drinking establishment “to serve the existing and new communities’ everyday needs”.

There will also be day nurseries, early years, lower school and middle school facilities and financial contributions towards the provision, improvement, enlargement or enhancement of upper school and sixth form facilties off site, as well as indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilties.

The report says: “The development shall provide dedicated and safe pedestrian and cycle links from the new and existing neighbourhoods to local centres, country park, Arlesey train station, employment opportunities, schools, shops and community facilities; both within the allocation and the wider Arlesey and Fairfield area.”

The report also states: “It is essential that the development provides an appropriately designed Relief Road to connect the area from the south of Hitchin Road to the A507/High Street link road on the north being proposed as part of Arlesey Cross.

This will allow for access directly onto the A507 relieving congestion along the High Street in Arlesey.”

East of Biggleswade is allocated for up to 1,500 homes to the east of Baden Powell Way. It will be designed as a separate village away from Biggleswade, with similar facilities to Arlesey.

There will also be: “a parkland corridor to the west of the site to achieve the objectives of the Biggleswade Green Wheel and the provision of public open space as an extension to the Biggleswade Common. This Green Corridor will be of a scale commensurate to the Biggleswade Common with substantial wet woodland planting, rough grassland and scrub, complimentary to Biggleswade Common whilst providing significant mitigation to the inter-visibilty between the built development with the allocation site and Biggleswade.”

The A1 corridor site at Holme Farm in Biggleswade will provide up to 60 hectares of new employment land with a petrol station. Mature woodland within the site will be protected.

The RAF Henlow base will be a mixed use redevlopment with up to 85 hectares of specialist high-technology, science, research and development uses to the north of Hitchin Road and a mixed use visitor-economy and residential scheme of up to 45 hectares to the south of Hitchin Road.

“Due to the nature of neighbouring land uses, all development proposals for this

site must have regard to the prevention of major accidents and limiting their consequences, including the increase of vehicluar movements on the A600.

“Development must be designed to maintain appropriate distances between hazardous establishments and populations for the long term to reduce risk,” says the report.

There could be up to 500 homes on the site.

There are also small and medium allocations, including 60 homes on Lewis Lane and High Street in Arlesey, 40 on land north of Biggleswade, 30 on land south east of Greenway in Campton and Chicksands, 40 on New Road in Clifton, 30 on land north of Greenfield Way in Dunton, 60 on land in Everton, 30 on land at Upper Gravenhurst, 30 on land adjacent to Derwent Lower School in Henlow, 60 on land at Thistle Hill Field and Bridge Field in Langford, 30 on land at Bandland Nursery in Meppershall, 30 on land adjacent to Park Road in Moggerhanger, 60 on land in Northill, 30 in Potton, 30 each in Shefford, Shillington, and Sutton and 60 in Stondon.

A spokesman for Central Beds Council said: “Our aim is to deliver the growth in a way that respects and maintains the character of Central Bedfordshire, and delivers infrastructure and services to support it.

“Alongside the growth, we will plan for jobs, services, transport infrastructure and enhancing access to the countryside. The number of homes we need to plan for is calculated using a standard national approach.

“The government recently consulted on changes to this approach that, if implemented in March 2018, would see an increase in the number of homes we need to deliver in Central Bedfordshire.

“We are planning for up to 20,000 homes. In the draft Local Plan that we consulted on last summer we were proposing between 20,000 – 30,000 new homes.

“We know from the feedback that there was a lot of concern about delivering the higher end of this range.

“We believe we can deliver up to 20,000 new homes over the next 20 years and that this level of growth is sustainable.

“This is in addition to the approximately 23,000 homes that are already allocated or have planning permission.”

“In the draft Local Plan that we consulted on last summer we also proposed more new villages in Biggleswade, new villages at Aspley Guise, a new market town in Tempsford, and expanding Luton to the west. These are not included in this Local Plan.

“We believe these locations do have potential for growth but, as we said in the previous consultation, they are dependent on critical infrastructure (e.g. East-West Rail) to support them and you agreed with us in your feedback.

“They are however shown in the Local Plan as Identified Locations for Future Growth, which means that we will look at them further as part of any review of this Local Plan.”

If approved by the Executive on Tuesday and then full council on Wednesday, the document will go out for further public consultation from January 11.