Brown not Green
Bedford Borough Council (BBC) concede that 600 more houses can be built on Stewartby old brickworks brownfield site over the Local Plan period.
At the BBC Local Plan Examination in Public currently taking place in Bedford, Cloud Wing, the developers of the proposed new village of 1,000 homes on the old Stewartby brickworks, told the Inspector that there were no reasons why development on the site could not start in the next 2 years and they estimated that they could build 700 of the 1,000 new homes during the Plan period to 2030. (See paragraph 2.14 of the Cloud Wing Hearing Statement to the Inspectors attached at the bottom of the page).
The Borough Council conceded at the Hearing that they had been far too conservative by stating in their Local Plan that just 100 of the 1,000 new homes could be built by 2030.
BBC seem to be using this development as a further huge contingency, in effect increasing the housing surplus in Local Plan to a massive 1,600 homes.
The statement from Cloud Wing is in line with CPRE Bedfordshire’s submission to the BBC Local Plan 2030 Consultation where we stated that, in line with Government policy, BBC should build on Brownfield land first before concreting over the open countryside.
Government guidance emphasises that Local Authorities should promote a Brownfield First Policy in their Local Plans.
A spokesperson from CPRE Bedfordshire said:
“BBC have been including huge contingencies in the housing numbers in their Local Plan and this is another one of them.
If we are to avoid further environmental degradation and Biodiversity Loss we simply must build on these Brownfield sites first.
Due to the efforts of CPRE Bedfordshire, BBC have now been forced to divulge to the Inspectors at the Examination in Public, the true scale of the contingencies they are holding.
This is now at least 1,600 homes (1,002 surplus homes shown in their latest Housing Trajectory + 600 additional homes from the new Stewartby village).
This is almost equivalent to the totally unsustainable allocation of 2,000 new homes that BBC wish to see built in the Key Service Villages of Bromham, Clapham, Sharnbrook and Great Barford (500 homes in each village).
All these 2,000 homes will be built on Greenfield sites in the open countryside.
At the Examination in Public, CPRE Bedfordshire asked the Inspectors to insist that in light of these huge contingencies, BBC now review their allocations to the Key Service Villages – the evidence is now overwhelming that they are not necessary on the scale demanded by BBC.
We look forward to The Mayor adopting a more environmentally friendly house building plan which minimises hugely damaging development on the open countryside.”
– CPRE Bedfordshire supports the development of the new village on the old Stewartby brickworks site where a huge biodiversity gain could be achieved through sympathetic and environmentally sustainable development methods including quality open green spaces.
– It also has the benefit of already having sustainable transport infrastructure in the form of the railway line which passes through the site and a nearby station.
– The 2,000 homes allocated for development in the Key Service Villages of Sharnbrook, Great Barford, Clapham and Bromham (500 new homes in each village) will not only impact on these communities but also on other villages (Oakley, Felmersham, Turvey, Harrold, Pavenham etc.) in North Bedfordshire which will be subject to a massive increase in traffic rat-running through them.
– The A6, already operating at capacity during peak times, will also see a substantial increase in traffic and The Mayor’s improvement project for the A6/Manton Lane junction will have no impact whatsoever.
– 2,000 homes is an increase of around 4,000 cars with no sustainable transport infrastructure to these villages.
– As a comparator 1,000 homes is equivalent to a medium sized village such as Oakley or Sharnbrook.
Link to Cloud Wing document here