A new campaign group made up of local Councillors and residents – “Keep North Beds Green” – has been set up to oppose the building of thousands of new houses north of Bedford.
The Mayor of Bedford is expected to finalise his Local Plan in January 2018 and is recommending the building a New Town in at least one of the following locations:
- Lee Farm in Sharnbrook – 4,500 houses
- Thurleigh – 5,250 houses
- Twinwoods – 6,000 houses
- Wyboston – 4,000 houses
Each proposal would involve concreting over hundreds of hectares of green-field countryside and adding thousands of traffic movements everyday onto local roads, with the bulk being added to the already congested A6 into Bedford. The smallest of the proposed New Towns is larger than Ampthill (3,800 homes).
Possible locations for the Mayor’s New Towns
Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Baroness Young of Old Scone, who lives in North Bedfordshire, said:
“The proposed new towns in the North Bedfordshire countryside are absolutely the wrong place for such substantial development. They have no proper transport infrastructure and would clog up the already congested A6 and access to and within Bedford town for all residents of the Borough.
“The decision is near to being made. Help keep traffic moving in Bedford and protect Bedfordshire’s green lungs for everyone.”
Cllr Alison Foster, the Councillor for Harrold Ward (which comprises the villages of Harrold, Carlton, Odell, Podington, Wymington, Hinwick and Farndish):
“The current congestion chaos on the Clapham roundabout, Manton Lane and in the town centre is well known. This extends to the nightmare residents experience when trying to park at the station and in town throughout the day. Further development on this massive scale will significantly increase the congestion and the frustration of residents trying to go about their daily lives.
“In addition, there are already a large number of drivers choosing to use alternative routes into town to avoid the congestion on the A6 through villages such as Thurleigh and Ravensden. This is having a big impact on urban areas such as Brickhill, Putnoe, Harpur Ward (Shakespeare, Clapham and Bromham Roads for example) and De Parys Ward. If any of these new town developments go ahead this will only get worse. North Bedfordshire, with its poor connectivity is not the right place for such large-scale development.
“The recent National Infrastructure Commission report indicates that all such new development should be along the Oxford/Cambridge arc. The A6 is nowhere near the Oxford/Cambridge arc. North Bedfordshire is simply the wrong place for this sort of development.”
More information about the campaign is available at a new website – www.KeepNorthBedsGreen.org