On behalf of the identified client’s, we advise they would support the Dispersed Growth option which allows growth to be distributed proportionally throughout the Borough. It is recognised that the majority of development will still be focused around Bedford but growth could also be allocated proportionally in other settlements. This will ensure that no particular area will be overburdened with development whilst enabling the benefits of development to be shared throughout the Borough. This will help to increase and maintain the vitality of settlements in the rural area. We disagree that this strategy would not facilitate employment growth provided this is directed to the most appropriate locations. This would also provide new rural employment opportunities and facilitate the expansion of existing sites. The majority of new infrastructure will be focussed in and around Bedford but a proportional amount can be accommodated in the rural areas so those communities can also benefit. Under the dispersed growth strategy, a proportional number of larger sites should be allocated in suitable locations in the rural area which are or can be made sustainable, and are well related to an existing settlement. Larger sites can contribute towards enhancing or providing new infrastructure such as schools, community facilities, and open space, as well as increasing the vitality of existing settlements and their services. Larger sites can also provide a large amount of affordable housing. Where these sites are in more rural areas, larger sites can make a valuable contribution towards the significant undersupply of affordable housing in these areas. There is far less likely to be affordable housing in the rural area without new allocated development so affordability will continue to worsen unless a sufficient number of sites are allocated. The following larger sites are all in suitable locations for a housing allocation: • Land North Of Chawston Lane, Chawston • Land North Of School Lane, Roxton • Land South Of School Lane, Roxton • Land At Riseley Primary School • Land Adjoining Box End House, Box End Road, Kempston Rural • Land Off New Road, Great Barford • Land at Cranfield Road, Wootton Green • Land South Of Bedford Road, Cople • Land At 66 Hall End Road, Wootton • Tinkers Corner, Wootton • The Chequers, Wootton • Land At Luton Road, Wilstead • Hookhams Lane, Renhold; • Land East Of Bedford Road / Oldways Raod, Ravensden, • Land East Of Church Road, Chapel End, Colmworth; • Land West Of Church Road, Chapel End, Colmworth • Shrubbery Farm, Wilden • Land South Of Home Farm, Renhold • Land Rear Of Home Farm, Renhold; • Land At Top Farm (Incorporating Chawston Lake & Morris Walk) • Land To The West Of Heddings Farm, Wyboston
This form is submitted on behalf of 3 landowners who are currently promoting sites in Neighbourhood Plans in the Borough: On behalf of the identified client’s, we advise they would support the Dispersed Growth option which allows growth to be distributed proportionally throughout the Borough. We agree that the majority of development will still be focused around Bedford but growth will also be allocated proportionally in other settlements. This will ensure that no particular area will be overburdened with development whilst enabling the benefits of development to be shared throughout the Borough. This will help to increase and maintain the vitality of settlements in the rural area. We disagree that this strategy would not facilitate employment growth provided this is directed to the most appropriate locations. This would also provide new rural employment opportunities and facilitate the expansion of existing sites. The majority of new infrastructure will be focussed in and around Bedford but a proportional amount can be accommodated in the rural areas so those communities can also benefit. Our clients are promoting several suitable sites through Neighbourhood Plans, and our client’s will continue to focus and engage in this process as directed by the individual parishes. However, as the Plan period exceeds that of the Neighbourhood Plans, these sites have also been submitted in parallel through the Local Plan “Call For Sites” process. These sites are all in sustainable locations which are well related to the existing settlements and are suitable for allocations, either now through the Neighbourhood Plans, or if not identified, they could come forward at a later stage in the new Local Plan. These sites are: • Land South Of Keeley Lane, Wootton • Tinkers Corner, Keeley Lane, Wootton • The Chequers Public House, Hall End Road, Wootton • Land East Of Bedford Road / Oldways Road, Ravensden
In order for sustainable growth to be delivered across the Borough at the level that is required, the local plan strategy is likely to need a combination of elements from all the various potential areas of growth identified in Table 1. Whilst a larger proportion of housing and employment growth should be focused on the urban or improved infrastructure areas, growth should also be located within the more rural areas, within smaller scale settlements, such as rural service villages, that have previously been considered as sustainable. Considering the potential uplift required from the Standard Method, it likely that the Neighbourhood Plans which have been ‘made’ will be in need of reviewing, in order to not restrict growth in these locations or for the plans to not be in accordance with the new Local Housing Need. These settlements should contain sufficient services and facilities to meet every day needs of future residents, accepting that in more rural areas future residents may need to travel in the most sustainable way to get to these services and facilities. In addition, sustainable development across the Borough, would help to assist in maintaining the vitality of rural areas including the retention of services and facilities that depend on economic growth. This is especially the case within Bedford Borough, where there is likely to be growth in currently more ‘rural’ areas, in line with the potential Oxford to Cambridge Arc. Often, the sites which would be considered as ‘dispersed growth’ are smaller and can be delivered at a faster rate than the larger, allocated sites. Such sites form an important contribution to the Council’s five-year housing land supply and should be considered in order to allow the Council to continuously maintain a healthy and constant supply of deliverable sites. By combining the options provided in Table 1, this would ensure that there was a level of housing growth across the Borough in areas where those houses are needed. It would promote housing in future economic growth areas and strategic corridors so that economic growth and housing delivery can be developed as a comprehensive strategy rather than a staged process. It would also ensure that rural areas received appropriate growth levels to maintain and enhance economic vitality and the services and facilities required would be maintained.
4.7.1 Gladman support a combined approach to the potential locations of growth outlined by Bedford Borough. To meet housing need and capture the socio-economic benefits of the infrastructure associated with the Oxford-Cambridge Arc throughout and beyond the LPA, Gladman suggests proportionate growth in settlements across the hierarchy, sustainable urban extensions and new settlements. In order to ensure choice and competition in the market and to support and secure sustained levels of housing delivery, housing should be planned at settlements across the hierarchy. It will therefore be necessary for the housing requirements of neighbourhood areas to be revisited and/or for the Council to allocate land in these locations through the Local Plan Review. 4.7.2 The Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) highlights that “A wide range of settlements can play a role in delivering sustainable development in rural areas, so blanket policies restricting housing development in some types of settlement will need to be supported by robust evidence of their appropriateness15.” All settlements within the borough boundary have the potential to contribute towards the overall development requirement and there is a need to plan to ensure that services can be maintained and enhanced in these locations to meet the day to day needs of residents. A study of the sustainability credentials of settlements across the hierarchy should therefore be undertaken to fully explore the potential of these settlements to accommodate modest levels of growth, factoring in demographic information over the duration of the plan period and the availability of day-to-day services and facilities. Indeed, the NPPF 2019 sets out that planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services16. Furthermore, the retention and development of accessible local services and community facilities should be enabled by planning policies and decisions. 4.7.3 It is important that the local plan enables the delivery of a wide range of sites in order to support the delivery of housing at the levels that are required by the Standard Method. The approach should embrace the need to support sites of all sizes. It is important not to overly rely on large scale strategic locations for growth; by enabling the widest range of sites across settlements throughout the hierarchy, Bedford will maximise delivery and satisfy housing need in the borough. 4.7.4 As the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) highlights, “A wide range of settlements can play a role in delivering sustainable development in rural areas, so blanket policies restricting housing development in some types of settlement will need to be supported by robust evidence of their appropriateness.
This form is submitted on behalf of 3 landowners who are promoting opportunity sites in the Borough: The council’s acknowledgement that a combination of development strategy approaches may be required to achieve the anticipated scale of growth is welcomed. We support the strategy of facilitating a new parkway station to the north of Bedford. This will help to reduce the congestion problems in this part of the Borough and will improve sustainable transport links. The search corridor is currently very narrow but if the route were to be moved slightly further north, our client’s site at Lower Farm Road, Bromham would be a suitable location. This site has been submitted as part of the Call For Sites process and identified as a mixed use proposal for a parkway station and housing. We also support the strategy for growth along the route of the East-West railway. Some of our client’s sites are within this location and would be suitable for an allocation for residential development. These sites have been submitted as part of the Call For Sites process and comprise of the three sites at Home Farm, Ravensden and Land east of Bedford Road, Ravensden. Land North Of Home Farm can accommodate 30 dwellings, Land South Of Home Farm can accommodate up to 50 dwellings, and Land To The Rear Of Home Farm can accommodate up to 550 dwellings. The landowner is keen to facilitate self-build plots on these sites particularly on the smaller sites where these would be more suitable. The site east of Bedford Road, Ravensden, accessed via Oldways Road, can accommodate 70 dwellings comprising of market and affordable housing and the possibility of self-build plots. The development of these sites would contribute towards the ambitions of delivering development near to the future East-West rail line.
4.1 We support two options, Orange - East–West Rail northern station growth and Red - New settlement-based growth. We can see obvious strategic connectivity benefits of Orange – which would give TwinWoods direct east-west links - but Red too is a strong feasible option for delivering housing growth in a sustainable way. 4.2 The TwinWoods site can play a key role in the development of either of these strategies through the creation of a sustainable new Garden Community. 4.3 In general terms, we agree that the strategy for the plan will likely combine one or more options. We consider that TwinWoods – as a new community capable of providing 3,500 homes by 2040 (and 6,000 by 2050) – can exist alongside a number of other development locations identified. Potential Location Options and their pros and cons 4.4 Below we appraise the alternative options in broad terms, using the Council’s already identified pros and cons to structure the response. We provide summary text on each of the options below. (SEE ATTACHMENT FOR TABLE 4.1 - APPRAISAL OF OPTIONS 4.5 We support the orange and red potential locations for growth as they both use large scale developments to address significant growth in Bedford. There was a broad consensus through the recent local plan 2030 process that a Garden Community is the most sensible long-term solution to meeting housing needs in Bedford; the new ingredient is the potential to combine this growth on the East-West rail route north of Bedford. 4.6 Compared to other Garden Community locations, TwinWoods is deliverable. It provides re-development of a partial brownfield-site, with all land in the control of the promoters. Furthermore, there are still outstanding issues with other options, including the significant noise constraints posed by Santa Pod Raceway to the delivery of a new settlement at Colworth. 4.7 TwinWoods would also incorporate the latest thinking on sustainable development into a new community at the outset, with a potential train station, bus services, walking and cycling at the core of the design. With a train station the character of TwinWoods would be based – at least in part – on a community that benefits from on-site employment and in Bedford but would also be attractive to those with employment or connections to business locations across OxCam Arc. A scheme without a station would be more a self-contained sustainable settlement in its own right with its own jobs, shops and services and with local connections to Bedford and as a market town for surrounding villages. There is also the benefit of existing and proposed employment provision to the north of the site at Thurleigh Airfield, providing further opportunities locally to the site. 4.8 However, TwinWoods would not meet all of the housing needs of Bedford and it is considered that a strategy which also looks at other potential locations for development would be required, particularly for beyond 2030, including the development of brownfield sites, development in smaller settlements if there is demand, and densification of urban sites in Bedford could all play a part in meeting needs. The Sustainability case for TwinWoods 4.9 Creation of a new settlement such as that at TwinWoods is an excellent opportunity to grasp the latest trends in travel and design to prepare for current and future attitudes, instead of designing for the past. One of the many things that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that some of the old ways and travel habits are not necessary moving into the future. This development is designed to be a catalyst for future living which prioritises health, well-being and climate change, and creates liveable communities above all else. 4.10 The old fashioned Predict & Provide (P&P) way of accommodating traffic is making way for the newer Vision & Validate (V&V). V&V places greater importance on sustainable mobility in line with the Council’s planning aspirations. 4.11 Instead of predicting a demand and trying to make it fit, a coordinated approach with BBC is sought from the outset to start with the vision, then to define what the vision will allow. In this manner traffic will be a function of road space, and it will be this available road space that eventually dictates demand. 4.12 This vision is anticipated to ultimately define the movement characteristics of new users of the proposed TwinWoods settlement. 4.13 More and more people are re-realising the merits of community interaction, for both the mental and physical health benefits. When it comes to mobility therefore, this is encouraged at a local level, should this be allowing picking up of parcels from the ‘can I do it online and get it delivered’ as well as for leisure and living. This is the 20-minute town concept. SEE ATTACHMENT FOR FIGURE 1.1 THE 20-MINUTE TOWN CONCEPT 4.14 This means that every typical day to day facility will be accessible within 20-minutes by active travel and for able bodied people, and readily accessible by active travel or other means for people with disabilities. 4.15 By design therefore, the majority of local movement will be by classic mobility – two feet and two wheels. This will be enhanced by e-bikes and other transport initiatives, as well as an internal 20mph speed limit so that where cars share these corridors the intention is that they are in an environment designed to prioritise people movement and supporting the hierarchy of road users where pedestrian movement is paramount followed by cycling and public transport. 4.16 TwinWoods will include residential, employment, education, leisure, and open space development, connected by sustainable travel corridors, to provide a community and place which is accessible to all by a range of transport modes. The expectation on this basis is that TwinWoods could contain circa 70% of all journeys within the site across the day. 4.17 The ways in which ‘Mobility as a Service’ can be delivered on the site are as follows. This is not a definitive list and will develop as changing trends and innovations become available, and as the design of the TwinWoods evolve. • Mobility Hub – Primary and secondary comprising a community concierge team and mobility facilities; • Work Hubs – ‘coffee shop’ experience for those working remotely; • Virtual Mobility; • Active Travel Corridors; • Bike Sharing – including e-bikes; • Car Club; • Carpooling; • Demand-responsive Transport; • Electric Vehicles, including self-drive electric pods; • Connected Automated Vehicle (CAVs); and • Personalised/ Area-Wide Travel Planning SEE ATTACHMENT FOR FIGURE 1.2 MOBILITY HUB EXAMPLE 4.18 n addition to the package of measures above, opportunity to deliver a bus operated Park & Ride in the vicinity of the site (and north of Bedford) has been investigated. This would have a positive impact on residents and seek to reduce the demands on the A6 corridor and assist in more efficient operation of this highway infrastructure. 4.19 Furthermore, as per the Orange option, there is potential to provide a new rail station north of Bedford, on the new central section of the East-West Rail line between Oxford and Cambridge. This is being investigated and would provide a useful addition to the site’s extensive transport offering. The biggest advantage of a new station is as a parkway out of town transport hub for people currently using the A6 to travel into Bedford, who may be catching the train to London, or working in Bedford itself. This station is likely to intercept a notable proportion of traffic from the A6, thus reducing congestion into Bedford Town as well as opening up the region to access further afield to Oxford and Cambridge (and in between) sustainably. The details on how rail services from this station would operate are a point of discussion currently between the key stakeholders, to develop the best offering for the local area as well as the site. Comparison with Existing Towns 4.20 TwinWoods is designed to be a desirable place to live and work, to create communities and maximise social inclusion. With 6,000 – 7,000 homes and a population of up to 16,500 people, t will be a town in its own right. Any town of that size will sustain its own services and amenities and employment. 4.21 To give life to this, existing towns of a similar scale are considered below to provide useful real examples of how communities of the scale of TwinWoods can avoid being dormitories. Given these are existing towns, established in varying settings over time, a new Garden Community at TwinWoods would improve upon aspects such as ensuring all new homes are suitable for home working, providing local facilities, community interaction, and transport systems. Hence, it is intended that the transport habits at TwinWoods improve upon these existing examples. 4.22 We have identified a number of towns of broadly comparable scale across the greater South East that might be benchmarks for sustainable travel patterns: • St Ives • Lewes • Henley on Thames • Thame • Bourne • Petersfield • Marlow • Haslemere • Oxted 4.23 These towns have been selected in the first instance based on population size, which is congruent to that expected at TwinWoods. An analysis of the travel patterns of each town and how comparable to the proposed town at TwinWoods is provided below. 4.24 Table 4.2 shows the distance that residents of the reference towns travel to work based on 2011 Census data. This is the only relevant data available and it should be noted that it is now nine years old, and also only reflects journeys to work which form only a minor proportion of trips made during the road network peak period. Therefore, this only provides an indication of trip patterns, and does not represent trips for education, retail or leisure purposes which are usually less car dependent particularly in a post-COVID-19 world. Of note, the proportion of the population working at home is typically in the 15-20% band; one might expect this to have increased since 2011, and to have done so markedly over recent months. 4.25 The table below also shows the percentage of employed residents that work within 5km of home, thus indicating a level of containment within the town, as well as the percentage of those who travel to London for work (considered relevant given TwinWoods’ and Bedford’s relationship to London). SEE ATTACHMENT FOR TABLE 1.2 DISTANCE TRAVELLED TO WORK 4.26 In terms of distance travelled to work, St. Ives is the most comparable to the targets of TwinWoods, with 68% of employed residents working within 5km of home (including working from home). There is a high level of people living and working within the town and also a considerable proportion of people working from home. Only a quarter of the employed population work further than 10km from the site, and this is the lowest of all assessed towns. 4.27 Bourne has a lower proportion of residents working within 5km of home, however 33% of these work within 2km of home (second highest to St. Ives). This indicates that whilst working from home is lower than other locations, the propensity for internalised trips within the town is high. 4.28 Oxted and Haslemere have the lowest proportion of people working within 5km of each respective town (38% and 42% respectively). This is possibly due to the high levels of residents that work within London (37& and 16% respectively). Indeed, the number of residents working within London is far higher than the other towns considered. This doesn’t mean that travel at these towns however is unsustainable, only that the self-containment of these towns is far lower than the likes of St. Ives and Lewes for example. 4.29 Table 4.3 highlights the key statistics of each reviewed town, showing information regarding population, employed population and the most local major roads. SEE ATTACHMENT FOR TABLE 1.3 KEY STATISTICS 4.30 The statistics provided at Table 4.3 are from the 2011 Census, and as such the population is likely to be higher and older, as a result of an aging population and further developments being undertaken in many of these towns. The population of TwinWoods is expected to be in the region of 16,500 residents, which is likely to be comparable to the majority of the sites which have been reviewed, with the exception perhaps of St. Ives and Oxted. In the case of these towns it might be expected that there is less potential for containment of trips, as the critical mass needed to achieve this is more difficult to attain. However, as demonstrated this is not the case at St. Ives. 4.31 There is a possible correlation shown in these tables between convenient access to major roads, and distance travelled to work. For example, St. Ives and Henley on Thames show some of the lowest average distances travelled to work and are not situated close to strategic road links. Inversely, Oxted is located within convenient access with the M25 and on London’s mass transit network, resulting in the least amount of local containment for work trips. 4.32 The mode split for journeys to work for each town (Census 2011) are presented at Table 4.4. A proposed conservative mode split for the TwinWoods development has been included for comparison purposes. For clarification, “Other” modes of travel include Underground, Taxi, Motorcycle and “Other Method of Travel”. It is based on a scenario including the East-West Rail Station (Orange Option) 4.33 The mode split for TwinWoods is a conservative estimate at this time and refers to external trips rather than all trips. Considering all trips (internal and external), the likely sustainable travel movements are expected to be over 50% and closer to that for St. Ives. Walking and cycling trips in particular will be far higher for TwinWoods when considering internal site trips. SEE ATTACHMENT FOR TABLE 1.4 JOUNEY TO WORK MODE SPLIT 4.34 Whilst TwinWoods has the highest proportion of cycle trips to work, when compared with the other towns, it is the only town which will provide a cycle share scheme which will include e-bike sharing. 4.35 The mode splits shown above for each town reflect the distances travelled for work. For example, St Ives has one of the lowest car driver mode split with 48%, and the highest walking mode split with 38%. This suggests that many of those travelling shorter distances to work within St. Ives itself are choosing to walk to work. The converse is observed at Oxted where the car driver mode split is also low (49%) but the train mode split is high (34%). This is evidently the effect of its location on the outskirts of London and is suggestive of a commuter town. 4.36 The proposals at TwinWoods will seek to more closely reflect the travel patterns of St. Ives and Lewes where there appears to be a high level of self-containment (at least for journeys to work), and many walk to work over short distances. The wider travel patterns when trips for other purposes are considered are hence expected to be even more socially inclusive, meaning that many trips will remain contained within the towns themselves. Vision & Validate 4.37 The approach for TwinWoods is not new. Vienna adopted a ‘vision and validate’ approach in the 1990s. Cardiff Council followed the same tactic for their LDP in 2014. Stevenage Borough Council also adopted the same strategy for its LDP in 2017. Transport for the North adopted a ‘vision and validate’ approach also in 2019. In addition, a number of recent appeal decisions (Hartford 2013 and 2019) have supported just this approach of ‘vision and validate’- Inspectors appear to understand and accept this method of planning and assessment. 4.38 New developments across the UK are now adopting this type of approach also in varying degrees, which is policy compliant. Some examples include the following: • Gilston Garden Town • Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire 4.39 At Wintringham, St Neots and Gilston, Vectos has secured broad agreement to the levels of internalisation (circa 60% - 65%). The more detailed points of delivery and providing for this vision are now being worked through. In agreement with the Council, network modelling is being used to show what percentage of trips by sustainable modes is “needed” rather than what road building should be delivered to accommodate additional traffic demand. The focus is on sustainable growth rather than traffic growth, delivering a vision for the future. This is the core principle of the vision and validate approach. 4.40 At Waterbeach, a varying internalisation or containment factor has been applied to each journey purpose. 48% of commuting trips, 88% of education trips and 61% of retail, personal business, and escort trips. The internalisation of commuting trips at Waterbeach is not considered extreme, and broadly is in line with the internalisation rates of local existing towns of similar size in the area. The proposed land use mix within the new town development offers significant opportunity for internalisation of trips within the site by providing key new facilities in easy reach of residents. 4.41 The internalisation factor for Wintringham has been set at 8.93% for commuting trips, 44.8% for education trips and finally 25% for shopping trips. No internalisation factor has been used for other journey purposes. While the internalisation appears to be relatively low, the site is not as large as Waterbeach or Gilston, with a total of 2,800 dwellings and little employment proposed on site. The development is located a short distance from Cambridge, and it is likely that several trips will be made on the A428 to the east. 4.42 On a larger scale, some examples of local authority adoption of the ‘vision and validate’ approach are provided in the following paragraphs. 4.43 Cardiff Council (CC) plans to deliver 40,000 new homes and 45,000 new jobs in the next plan period with traffic levels remaining unchanged from 2014 levels. In order to achieve this CC has set out a vision for what is required to deliver future growth in a sustainable way, which includes a 50:50 sustainable mode split for all journeys in the city, and a break in the link between economic growth and traffic growth. 4.44 To promote walking, cycling, public transport, shared transport and sustainable living, the LDP includes policies to deliver walking and cycling infrastructure (Policy T1); strategic rapid transit, bus corridor enhancements and wider improvements to the city’s bus network (Policy T2); Transport Interchanges (Policy T3); and a Regional Transport Hub (Policy T4). 4.45 In Stevenage the mobility strategy which underpins the Local Plan steers away from the historic, and now contra-policy, predict and provide car commuter peak as a proxy for transport and mobility. Instead of prioritising road building schemes to satisfy a theoretical short-lived car commuter demand, the strategy is to design for and prioritise mobility as a whole. It is to create even more attractive choice in movement than already exists, committing funds to physical improvements to the higher capacity cycle network, which can be up to seven times more effective in terms of unit road space compared with car use, invest in public transport and make huge inroads in influencing behaviour by significant funding of new measures to promote and use the mobility options that already exist and will improve. 4.46 To inform the strategy, Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) reviewed why people were undertaking journeys (journey purpose), origins and destinations of journeys, and by what mode these journeys could, and SBC would like, to be undertaken. SBC placed a high priority on active travel. For the purposes of the Local Plan and beyond, SBC planned on the basis that the proportion of travel by active travel will increase, that commuter peak car demand will remain broadly static, and therefore that the proportion of travel by car driver will decrease. 4.47 The strategy is to further encourage this shift through the creation of an active travel /car differential whereby it is more attractive to cycle for short journeys than drive. This is the vision SBC would like to deliver and the vision SBC is planning for. The outcomes of this vision were assessed in a model.
This form is submitted on behalf of 4 landowners who are promoting sites available for self-build dwellings: On behalf of the identified client’s, we advise they would support the Dispersed Growth option which allows growth to be distributed proportionally throughout the Borough. We agree that the majority of development will still be focused around Bedford but growth will also be allocated proportionally in other settlements. This will ensure that no particular area will be overburdened with development whilst enabling the benefits of development to be shared throughout the Borough. This will help to increase and maintain the vitality of settlements in the rural area. We disagree that this strategy would not facilitate employment growth provided this is directed to the most appropriate locations. This would also provide new rural employment opportunities and facilitate the expansion of existing sites. The majority of new infrastructure will be focussed in and around Bedford but a proportional amount can be accommodated in the rural areas so those communities can also benefit.
This form is submitted on behalf of 15 landowners who are promoting small sites in the rural area: On behalf of the identified client’s, we advise they would support the Dispersed Growth option which allows growth to be distributed proportionally throughout the Borough. We agree that the majority of development will still be focused around Bedford but growth will also be allocated proportionally in other settlements. This will ensure that no particular area will be overburdened with development whilst enabling the benefits of development to be shared throughout the Borough. This will help to increase and maintain the vitality of settlements in the rural area. We disagree that this strategy would not facilitate employment growth provided this is directed to the most appropriate locations. This would also provide new rural employment opportunities and facilitate the expansion of existing sites. The majority of new infrastructure will be focussed in and around Bedford but a proportional amount can be accommodated in the rural areas so those communities can also benefit. It is important that the Plan is not overly reliant on larger scale strategic sites as these will tend to come forward later in the plan period. Small sites have the advantage of being able to be delivered quickly and their allocation will enable the Council to boost housing supply in the early years of the Plan which will help meet the ambitious housing trajectory. The Council need to have a 5 year supply or housing land when the plan is adopted and the inclusion of a sufficient number of small sites will help them to achieve this in the early years while larger scale sites come on stream. Housing in sustainable locations in the rural area also helps to support services, some of which may located in nearby villages, and this is supported by the NPPF. Small sites in the rural area are also important for the delivery of affordable housing. Affordability is worsening in the rural area due to a shortage of supply. There is less likely to be affordable housing in villages without new allocated development so affordability will continue to worsen unless a sufficient number of small sites are allocated. The following sites were submitted as part of the Call For Sites process and are suitable for small scale development in the rural area: • Myers Hill Farm, Bolnhurst • Land At West End, Little Staughton • Land Adj 14 Box End Road, Kempston Rural • Land At Northampton Road, Bromham • Land At 138 Milton Road, Clapham • Land At Church End, Willington • Land South Of Keeley Lane, Wootton • Land Adjacent Town Lot Lane, Felmersham • Land To The West Of 52 Keeley Lane, Wootton • Land East Of Box End Road, Bromham • Woodland Manor Hotel, Clapham • Land North Of Cornfilelds Public House, Colmworth • Land At The Rear Of Cornfileds, Colmworth • Land East Of Vicars Close, Biddenham • Top Farm, Wyboston • Land North Of Home Farm, Renhold
The strategy should include the allocation of rural tourism opportunities. Sustainable rural tourism is encouraged by the NPPF as part of supporting a prosperous rural economy. There is an opportunity to allocate our clients site known as Great Barford Lakes which has been submitted as part of the Call For Sites process. This site measures 23.5 ha and can accommodate a mixture of Static Caravans, Camping Plots, Holiday Lodges and a facilities Centre including shop and restaurant to support a range of leisure activities including angling, a range of water sports, and walking and cycling. This site benefits from good connectivity to the A1 and A421 and is on the Oxford To Cambridge Growth Arc.
In my opinion the prefered Growth should be either the Yellow or the Pink proposal. The other suggested growth areas would have much more detrimental effects on the areas as a whole. The other proposals would lead to much more loss of open spaces and less distance between exiting villages leading to urban sprawl and the gradual loss of individual village identity in the beautiful areas of North Beds. It would also lead to much more use of the already congested road systems. Many extra poeple would be travelling by car to work, undertaking shopping trips to areas in the main employment, entertainment and shopping hubs such as Bedford or Milton Keynes. This is very undesirable for many reasons. The country is trying to lessen car travel, and therefore pollution, these proposals would do the exact opposite. Rat runs would develop along unsuitable country roads as people try to avoid traffic build up. Areas that are cycling routes and already dangerous, would be more so with the increase in extra traffic volume. One these areas are lost to unsuitable or unsustainable mass building projects, they can bnever be recovered and will be lost forever to the huge detriment of our future generations.