Bedford finally adopts plan after axing of garden village site

Bedford Borough Council has finally adopted a local plan, nearly two years after a proposed 4,500-home garden village fell through and left officers searching for an alternative means of meeting demand for housing.

Councillors at the authority voted in May 2018 to defer submission of the local plan after the proposed Colworth Garden Village had to be scrapped because noise mitigation measures could not be agreed with a nearby drag racing track.

Planning officers have since reduced the timeframe of the local plan by five years and based the latest vaersion on an objectively assessed housing need of 14,550 homes over the period 2015-30. A previous version of the plan identified need for 19,000 homes between 2015-35.

The plan states that existing planning permissions, windfall developments, and existing allocations meant sites for a minimum of 3,169 homes had to be identified.

Development will largely be concentrated in the Bedford urban area, where 1,900 homes are expected to be built by 2030. A strategic brownfield site allocation at Stewartby is expected to provide for 1,000 homes, although only 100 will be built during the plan period.

The plan was found sound, subject to main modifications, by inspectors Malcolm Rivett and Anne Jordan in December.

One of the main modifications requires the council to review the plan and either update it or issue a new one within three years of its adoption, to take into account progress on projects such as the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.