Any other comments?
Deep Spinney – 350 houses built in the mid-90s Great Denham – 1,600 houses built since the late 1990s North of Bromham Road (West) – 500 houses built from 2017 North of Bromham Road (East) – 200 houses built from 2017 Gold Lane – 249 houses due to be built from 2021 North of Bromham Road Old Golf Course – 700 planned to start in the coming years
No further comments.
It will be increasing important to provide genuinely affordable (subsidised) housing alongside market housing given the widespread economic contraction that is likely in the next few years. Just relying on developer contributions or agreed percentages on new developments is unlikely to achieve this. The substantial financial gain for landowners and developers that accompanies the granting of planning permission must be linked legally to the provision of affordable housing on new sites.
The damage to the environment has already been done south of the town: what you've done to the green space there is shameful and two wrongs don't make a right so it would be unforgiveable to do the same to the north. Finish what you started before you set about developing in other areas.
The Mayor’s response to the East- West Rail Consultation seems to indicate that he has already decided that major new development should be locate in the rural north of the Borough. If this pre-empts this Local Plan Review then it is likely to cause great dissatisfaction among residents in those villages. More transparency is needed about the relationship between the plans of the elected and unelected bodies deciding the future of the Borough.
If expansion of Shocott Spring using the farmland previously put forward for development of further housing is not an option I would rather see the land used for a wind farm than more housing. Shortstown and the surrounding villages have grown too much and too quickly and further growth is unthinkable particularly considering the significant amount of air and noise pollution.
No other comments
Staploe Parish Council object in the strongest terms to the suggestion in the brown option that our parish is a brownfield site or under utilised land. Our whole parish is classed as open countryside for planning purposes. Our three tiny hamlets are not even classed as a small settlement in the Local Plan 2030 definition (6.21) and we are therefore defined as open countryside. We feel that describing the brown option which would see the majority of our parish covered in a large scale, high density, urban development as using brownfield or under utilised land is very misleading. We believe this could compromise the validity of the consultation as those responding would logically propose development on brownfield or under-utilised land over greenfield sites. We believe the pros and cons list for the brown option is very inaccurate for our parish. A large development in Staploe parish would not support services etc in Bedford – we are 13 miles away and people would use services in St. Neots which are already under pressure due to large scale development on the eastern side of the town. There would be very little potential for residents here to make sustainable travel choices – we have one bus on Thursday and it would require huge investment to improve public transport. This would not reduce the need for growth in rural areas – we are a rural area and it proposes building all over our parish. Development in our parish would not improve viability of retail and leisure in Bedford Borough. People would go to St. Neots. We object to the brown, the yellow and the red options because they all propose large scale development in the countryside which will dramatically alter the character of the countryside with no new provision of sustainable transport. We would support the grey, dispersed option as development would be in proportion to the size of the settlement and we feel that most settlements can sustain some additional development without dramatically changing their nature. Staploe Parish Council would support a small amount of development in our parish in response to locally identified needs under the direction of a neighbourhood plan. We propose to prepare a neighbourhood plan which will include a housing needs survey. We feel that there is too much uncertainty about where the East West rail stations will be to deliver the houses needed in time and the orange option may not be possible as the northern parkway station is certainly not confirmed and little more than a “nice to have” on Bedford Borough Council’s wish list at the moment. We are particularly concerned about any proposals for large scale development in our parish for the following reasons: 1. We are open countryside. Development here is against policy guidelines. Our parish is classed as open countryside. According to the Local Plan 2030 the following policies apply to development in the countryside. Policy 65 - Reuse of rural buildings in the countryside ii. Policy 66 - The replacement and extension of dwellings in the countryside. iii. Policy 67 - Affordable housing to meet local needs in the rural area. iv. Policy 68 - Accommodation for rural workers. v. Neighbourhood Development Plans which have been ‘made’ by Bedford Borough Council. None of these would permit a large scale urban development in the countryside such as that proposed in the brown option. The Local Plan 2030 states: “6.18 In considering the location of development in rural areas, the distinction between settlements and areas of countryside is established by defining Settlement Policy Areas. The aim of the local plan is to direct development to within the defined Settlement Policy Area boundaries and specific site allocations. Within the countryside it is the intention to maintain the existing open nature, prevent the coalescence of settlements and resist the encroachment of development into the countryside.” The brown option would mean that development would not be within a Settlement Policy Area, it would not maintain the existing open nature of the countryside and it would deliberately cause the coalescence of settlements (St. Neots, Eaton Socon, Duloe and Staploe) and encourage the encroachment of development into the countryside. The land in our parish is fertile farm land. The draft vision of your Issues and Options Paper on p13 states that “Tackling climate change and adapting to and mitigating against its effects will be at the heart of new development throughout the borough including facilitating sustainable food production.” Building on fertile farm land will not facilitate sustainable food production. The A1 has been a clear line delimiting the higher density development in Huntingdonshire from the rural nature of our parish in north Bedfordshire for 50 years. 2. We have no infrastructure and development would not be sustainable Our three tiny hamlets of Duloe (approx. 40 houses), Staploe (approx. 60 houses), Honeydon (approx. 30 houses) have no village hall (it is about to be demolished), pavements, schools, doctors surgeries, shops, or post office. There are no sustainable travel options. There are no pavements into St Neots, the roads are not safe enough for cyclists – they are narrow and the edges are often in poor repair. We have one bus per week which goes to St Neots for two hours on a Thursday. Everyone is dependent on car use and the roads are narrow and often single track with sharp bends. Children have to travel for around 45 minutes to get to secondary schools in Bedfordshire and there are very few places in the schools in St. Neots. Broadband is extremely poor in parts of the parish – along the Bushmead Road, in Upper Staploe and in Honeydon and it is not particularly fast in much of Staploe. 3. St. Neots does not have capacity to serve a large scale development in Bedfordshire Any large scale development would inevitably add pressure to existing services in St. Neots. St. Neots already has large scale development to the east in the form of Loves Farm and Wintringham Park which amount to around 4000 houses. We would be very surprised if St Neots Town Council supported a large scale development in our parish. It can take weeks to get an appointment at the local surgery in Eaton Socon and there is fierce competition for school places in St Neots and Eaton Socon. Those from out of county are naturally bottom of the list. We believe any large scale development would require the construction of primary and secondary schools which would be expensive. Residents would inevitably use St Neots station. As there is no public transport and the station is on the opposite side of the town residents would drive and the station car park is already full. There are already restrictions to accessing St Neots from the west in the form of the A1 and the river with limited access points creating serious bottlenecks. Traffic accessing the town from our parish would have to travel through residential areas leading to increased congestion and pollution. 4. There are specific issues which make development unsuitable in our parish There is a high pressure gas main running through the parish and a large network of pylons and overhead high voltage power cables. There is a flood risk from Duloe Brook – particularly west of the A1 near the junction with the B645. Our ecology: • We have a nationally rare wildflower called Ornithogalum pyrenaicum throughout much of the parish which is recognised in our extensive roadside nature reserves but which is also distributed on footpaths and field boundaries throughout the parish. It is only found in one other area in the UK near Bath. • Also present are the rare plants Crested Cow Wheat (Melampyrum cristatum) and Sulphur Clover (Trifolium ochroleucon). • Water voles – one of the 10 rarest mammals in the UK • An exceptionally large population of skylarks • Barn owls and little owls • Kingfishers, buzzards and red tailed kites • Many roosting bats • Great crested newts 5. Development near the A1 will lead to noise, air quality issues and may reduce options to upgrade the A1 in situ. Houses built close to the A1 will be subjected to noise from the road and poor air quality. Staploe Parish Council feel it is important to retain the option to upgrade the A1 in situ – without having to build a whole new road further to the west. If houses are built close to the A1 this option will no longer be available. 6. We value our tranquil hamlets, clean air and historic buildings People choose to live in our parish because it is a tranquil place. Almost every house backs onto fields and looks out onto rolling fields. Residents feel that major development would completely destroy the rural nature of our parish and our local landscapes. We have 16 grade II listed buildings in the parish and three scheduled monuments: • Duloe: The Anchor (5, Duloe Lane), The Thatched Cottage (39, Duloe Lane), the Dovecote (49, Woodhouse Lane), Maye Cottage (53, Woodhouse Lane). • Staploe: Walnut Cottage (35, Staploe Lane), Old Farm Cottage • Bassmead (Upper Staploe): moated enclosure (scheduled monument) and Basmead Manor Farmhouse • Honeydon: Dairy Farmhouse (Begwary Lane), Chestnuts Farmhouse (Lower Honeydon Lane) • Staploe Road on the way to Wyboston: Eaton Tithe Farmhouse • Bushmead Road: The Camps and Fishponds (scheduled monument), The Grotto, Cottage East of Bushmead Cross, • Bushmead: Bushmead Priory (scheduled monument and the Priory building is also listed), The Coach House, Bushmead Priory House, Blaysworth Manor Large scale development would damage the setting of these historic buildings which are valued by the local community and as a national historic asset. 7. Large scale development in our parish could not be delivered quickly Due to the level of infrastructure required and negotiations needed across county boundaries, and with Highways England regarding the A1 and with East West Rail (due to go just south of our parish) any large scale develpment would require careful planning and take a long time. This could lead to short to medium term housing shortages. 8. Lack of employment There are no employment opportunities in the area. Residents of any new development would have to travel for work and this would likely be by car leading to increased car use. As previously mentioned St. Neots rail station car park is already at capacity at busy times. 9. Cross border concerns In addition to concerns about schools and transport already mentioned there are further concerns about how a large development adjacent to St Neots would be managed. Our parishioners already experience issues accessing services such as police. Cambridgeshire police will not attend and Bedfordshire police take a long time to arrive, argue that we are not in Bedfordshire, don’t know where we are, and we have very few patrols because we are on the edge of the Borough. Much of the antisocial behaviour and suspected drug dealing we see in our parish is suspected to be cross border, probably from St. Neots but we see little evidence of cooperation between Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire police to tackle the issue. This would be exacerbated if there was major development in the area. We are served by Sandy fire service rather than St. Neots with the inevitable delays that this causes. We are not supposed to use the local recycling centre in St Neots as it is in Huntingdonshire, we are expected to drive to Bedford 13 miles away. The swimming pool in St Neots is at capacity and experiences frequent long queues at popular times. It is funded by local council taxpayers in Huntingdonshire. A large development in our parish would put additional pressure on such services funded by Huntingdonshire taxpayers. Any Community Infrastructure Levy funds from the development would go to Bedford Borough Council but services in St Neots would be put under pressure with no additional money for infrastructure, We believe the cross border nature of our area could make administration of a large scale settlement very difficult and lead to delays in its delivery.
i would like to object to the brown option, it is stated that the land suggested, is brownfield or under-used land .This is completely UNTRUE .this bedford borough area to the west of the A1 is greenbelt land that is open countryside and, private continuously farmed fields, there are very limited facilities in staploe parish..... no gas, overhead electricity, and the road in Honeydon is often flooded from the brooks that run either side of the roads. the roads in this area are completely unsuitable for heavy Traffic or lorries as they are not wide enough, with constant tractors and farm vehicles taking up most of the width of the roads,ie Cadbury Lane, this is evident at the moment as Bushmead road is shut for water work repairs ..... Again....(which happens every few months as there is a big problem with water facilities in this area) and increased traffic redirects itself trough lower Honeydon speeding at often 50mph in a 30 or 40mph limit, and lorries which will not fit in the lanes get stuck, and cause traffic chaos which is a danger to life as there are no pavements for public safety, we have no shops, pubs, churches, no public transport of any kind ..therefore all totally reliant on our cars , no facilities whatsoever to accommodate any more people living in the area. we have only just received decent broadband after waiting years, with constant interuptions from natural sources that affect the services ie; weather birds or animals eating cables etc. this area is totally unsuitable to be considered for large amounts of new homes .
The Government acknowledges that people living in rural areas are disadvantaged in terms of accessibility to shops, work and health provision and there is nothing in this policy document that address these issues.
Its so dissapointing that the Major and council actually signed up for this additional housing. Perhaps you should be forcing major developers to use the land banks with planning permission already in place, rather than releasing more green space for development. This could be done by reducing the period to act on planning consent. Under your watch, we have a concrete jungle known as the Wixams, which still hasn't had the train station built. This was supposed to be part of the development, and clearly shows that developers are only interested in profit and Bedford Borough Council don't have the skill sets/ability to run large scale projects. The proposed 5000 house site in Honeydon, Staploe, Duloe will remove the habitat of several protected species. The area also doesn't have the infrastructure to handle an additional 5000 homes. Most roads in the area are single track and already sign posted as not suitable for HGVs. Honeydon is not on the mains sewers or connected to a gas supply. Its only supplied via 100KVA power supply. Therefore there is no infrastructure to support this As of the 28th August, I've started a campaign to inform residents in St Neots of this proposal on social media groups and other means neccessary. I believe you've taken advantage of county lines not to inform the Major and residents of St Neots, even though the proposal is less than a mile away. Feedback on social media has been fiercely opposed to this proposed delvelopment. This includes the Major of St Neots. Residents in St Neots use this piece of countryside to exercise (cycling, dog walking etc) and apalled by the proposal. However, their biggest concern is that this new development, would see tax payers from Bedfordshire use facilities in St Neots, whereupon facilities in the area are already overstretched due to the developement of two new major housing developments (Loves Farm etc). I also will be raising a partition against this proposal and will be using my contacts in the national media to oppose it. As already stated, 'darts thrown at a map'!!!!
Local Plan Review Brown – urban based growth This option seems to suggest a fairly large development to the west of St Neots, in the Parish of Staploe. Staploe parish includes the hamlets of Staploe, Duloe and Honeydon. As a resident of Honeydon, we would be affected by this option. We object to it for the following reasons: • Staploe is a rural parish, comprising three small, quiet hamlets and surrounded by good agricultural land. It is not an urban area. Every visitor we have had here, who has not been to Honeydon before, has commented on how lovely and peaceful the place is. Development would be ‘out of character and affect local distinctiveness’. • There is no ‘brownfield and underused land’ in this parish as far as I am aware. • The fourth bullet point under ‘Pros – advantages’ in the Local Plan Review, states that this option would ‘reduce need for growth in rural areas’. This is manifestly absurd as far as we are concerned as we are living in a predominantly rural area, as noted above. • Honeydon does not have the infrastructure to support development. We are not on mains drainage, do not have gas, our roads are largely single track, not well maintained, and can barely support the heavy agricultural equipment which uses them at present. We have had numerous problems with HGVs and traffic using our village roads when Bushmead Road is closed, and have reported these to Bedford Highways on many occasions. Some of these problems have been quite serious – on 27 August, an HGV nearly overturned on the bend by Dairy Farm (MK44 2LT), and it would have destroyed the Grade 2 listed cottage. Even if any development does not directly affect Honeydon, more traffic would inevitably cut through our village – the prospect is horrible. • On the subject of roads, numerous cyclists enjoy our lanes and many of our verges are designated as ‘Nature Reserves’. The government is keen to encourage people to exercise more, so why take away one of the few routes left to them? This seems contrary to the stated aim of ‘achieving healthier communities’. Also, Section 2 ‘Setting Scene’ states that The borough's countryside, its intrinsic character and beauty including areas of tranquil retreat will be recognised. • We have no other facilities to speak of: there are no schools, shops, medical centres, post offices etc. • I believe that existing services in St Neots (and especially the rail service from St Neots to London) would be overstretched by additional development in this area. The rail station car park is already too small and is always full at an early hour. The new build properties to the east of St Neots are widely advertised as being ‘close to the mainline railway station’, and have the advantage that residents can walk or cycle to the station. This would be less feasible from any development in our parish. • St Neots town centre is small and already congested, with limited parking. • We are aware from environmental searches made before we moved here in 2017, that much of the existing village of Honeydon is low lying and many of the existing properties are already at risk of surface water flooding, as well as flooding from Honeydon Brook. Any development within the catchment area of Honeydon Brook will only increase the likelihood of flooding. Section 2 ‘Setting Scene’ states that Well-planned growth avoiding areas of high flood risk will support the creation of strong, safe and sustainable local communities in environments that facilitate healthy and independent living for all, (my emphasis) so my comments on the low lying nature of Honeydon should be taken into account
Commenting on the extension to St. Neots: • The area shown on the map appears to cover the parish of Staploe, Duloe and Honeydon. This is an area of fertile farmland interspersed with small rural villages. • This is not an urban or brownfield area at all. • The A1 provides a physical barrier between the town of St. Neots and rural Bedfordshire. Any development in Bedfordshire close to the A1 would be blighted by the significant noise and air pollution that the traffic on the road causes. • There is no infrastructure in the area: o Roads. The roads are narrow, minor and rural. They are unsuitable even for the current low level of heavy goods vehicles (mostly farming related) and are dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. They receive little, if any, investment for maintenance and upgrade to modern standards. There are no roads suitable for any developments in the area. o Public Transport. There is no public transport in the area, other than one bus each Thursday allowing a 2 hour visit the St. Neots on market day. o Schools. There are no schools in the area. Children are transported by bus or private transport to other Bedfordshire villages and towns, e.g. secondary schools at Sandy and Sharnbrook, so children experience up to a 45 minute journey to school, twice a day. There is insufficient capacity in the existing Bedfordshire schools at all levels to support even limited development in the area. o Some children use schools in St. Neots. Given the significant developments already taking place in St. Neots, where additional schools are being, and are planned to be, built, there is no capacity for any additional children from any development in Bedfordshire. o Medical facilities. There are no doctors surgeries or pharmacies in the area. The nearest in Eaton Socon is already totally overwhelmed with a 3 week wait for appointments, so many people travel to use acceptable facilities further afield (e.g. Great Staughton, Kimbolton) o Post Offices. There are no post offices in the area. The nearest is in Eaton Socon. o Shops, pubs and other facilities. There are no shops, pubs and other facilities in the area. The nearest are in Eaton Socon/St. Neots. o Any new development in this part of Bedfordshire would either have to rely on existing facilities in St. Neots, which are wholly insufficient to cater for the increased demand, or would have to include complete new infrastructure, services and facilities in the development. Bedford Borough Council stated Pros – advantages: • The area is situated 13 miles from Bedford and will receive no support from services, facilities and businesses in Bedford town centre. This is not an advantage. • This is not an urban area – it is totally rural and has no infrastructure to support development. Residents almost exclusively use private transport. There is therefore no potential for residents to make sustainable travel choices (walking, cycling and public transport). This is not an advantage. • As there is effectively no public transport in the area, any development would require a significant investment for public transport to become viable. This is not an advantage. • The land in the area is not brownfield, nor is it underused. It is fertile farming land that supports a broad environmental diversity including some of the rarest species in the UK. This is not an advantage. • Growth in this area would require significant investment in infrastructure and services, far in excess of making use of, or expanding those in, or adjacent to, existing urban areas. This is not an advantage. • There are very limited employment uses in the area and there would have to be significant investment in infrastructure, direct business creation and associated retail and leisure to create viable opportunities. This is not an advantage. Other identified Pros – advantages: • None Bedford Borough Council stated Cons – disadvantages: • Growth in the area would be adjacent to St. Neots and beside the A1. Properties would be blighted by the noise and pollution from the road, especially if capacity increases in the future. Fertile farming land would be lost and growth would impinge on existing villages. This is a disadvantage. • Very high density schemes would be totally out of character and would negatively affect local distinctiveness. They would create noise and air pollution in an area of peace and clean environment. This is a disadvantage. • Growth would totally overstretch existing services and facilities in adjacent St. Neots and the existing local infrastructure would be totally overwhelmed. This is a disadvantage. • It is not known if St. Neots would support expansion in Bedford Borough adjacent to St. Neots, but given the existing total lack of infrastructure, services and facilities and the reliance that would be placed on St. Neots for these, it is unlikely that St. Neots would support this proposal. In fact it is absolutely surprising that such a proposal even be made without Bedford Borough Council apparently having the knowledge of St. Neots’ view on this! This is a disadvantage. • As noted under “Pros- advantages” above, there are no advantages to this proposal, so this rural location would not miss out on any perceived benefits associated with growth. • There are no details provided in terms of site sizes, so it is not possible to comment on whether restricted site sizes can restrict scheme options and opportunities to mitigate risk for investors. • Any development in this area will cause poor quality air issues. This is a disadvantage. Other locally identified Cons – disadvantages: • A high pressure gas line runs through the area that will limit development potential. This is a disadvantage. • Without significant investment in infrastructure, development in this area will encourage car use and create resulting levels of pollution. This is a disadvantage. • Development would require improved connections into existing urban areas in order to access facilities. This is a disadvantage. • Strategic-scale growth would have a huge visual impact on local landscapes. This is a disadvantage. • It would take a long time to plan and build a new settlement in this area, leading to short to medium-term housing supply shortages. This is a disadvantage. • Development would lead to an adverse impact on local landscapes, loss of agricultural land and countryside. This is a disadvantage. • Significant new infrastructure would be required to accommodate growth. This is a disadvantage. • Development would lead to a loss of green environment and biodiversity. As examples, the area currently supports the following: o The extremely rare Bath Asparagus, found only in two locations in the UK - this area and Bath. o Water voles, one of the 10 rarest mammals in the UK. o A large population of sky larks. o Barn owls and Little owls o Kingfishers o Large populations of buzzards and red tailed kites. o Roosting bats o Great crested newts. Development in this area would destroy many of the habitats enjoyed by these species. This is a disadvantage. • Due to the prevailing South Westerly winds and open countryside, the area enjoys clean fresh air. Development would lead to pollution of this clean air. This is a disadvantage. • There are no opportunities for employment in the area. Residents of a new settlement would have to travel for employment, which without a major investment in public transport, would be by car, increasing car use. Should residents work in London they would have to travel to either St Neots station or a new East-West rail station wherever that may be situated. The station carpark at St Neots is already full at 9am and has no capacity for residents from a new development in Bedfordshire adjacent to St Neots. Travel to these stations would again be by car, again increasing car use. This is a disadvantage.
The number of houses to be provided in the plan period is a key issue to consider. There are a variety of different methods of calculating the requirement which are currently being consulted on, and there are uncertainties over the development of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc which could affect the number of homes required to be provided. Hopefully, a method of calculating the requirement will be agreed before this plan is developed too far.
The East/West Rail Line Preferred Route E, is planned through topography which is going to require deep cuttings and long viaducts and the most “cut and fill”. It includes planned gradients which are outside the recommended maximums for passenger and freight trains. The route will have to cross the River Great Ouse in at least three places. It is unlikely that developers will underwrite any cost overruns. The government and taxpayer will then be faced with picking up the bill. Therefore the project will probably be cancelled.
There should be a presumption against development on greenfield sites until all brownfield sites have been redeveloped. There should be no development outside existing Settlement Policy Areas until all brownfield sites have been developed. No development should be allowed until developers have completed all the developments that already have Planning Permission. If, with all the above in place, development is still required it should be along the A421 corridor. Wixams station should be built with both north-south and east-west connectivity.
Overall, East Northamptonshire Council is keen to continue engaging closely with Bedford Borough Council as the Local Plan progresses. There are potentially significant issues that could arise if significant new development is proposed for the A6/ Midland Mainline corridor; notably the possible Colworth Garden Village or Wymington strategic development proposals. It is welcomed that the Local Plan is considering an extensive range of potential spatial development strategies (at least six possible approaches). It is reiterated that East Northamptonshire Council could potentially support strategic development proposals where these deliver tangible infrastructure projects, such as a new Midland Mainline rail station (be it at Colworth/ Sharnbrook or Wymington). Any proposed development to the south of Rushden would benefit from future joint Masterplanning, which engages both Local Planning Authorities and other relevant partners. Please note that these comments are submitted as a draft officer response on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council to meet the 4 September 2020 consultation deadline. This draft response is being presented to the Planning Policy Committee for Member endorsement of 21 September. The Committee may propose amendments or additions to these comments that will be incorporated into the finalised response, which will be submitted to Bedford Borough Council soon after the 21 September 2020 meeting.
You could employ me as a Government Consultant ( they seem to be advised by a bunch of morons or Cayman Island Bankers). PS hope my responses enlightened your day!
Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment.
Yes, sorry that this is a pet peeve, but why is the spelling used for comments in American English rather than UK English. I realise we are the 52nd state
Reference is made to made to potential locations for additional development to be identified in the Local Plan Review. When allocating housing, employment and retail sites we would recommend that the potential impacts principally odour and noise from existing water recycling centres (formerly wastewater treatment works) and sewage pumping stations located adjacent or within the vicinity of proposed sites is fully considered. In effect allocated sites should be located where there a suitable standard of amenity can be provided and the continuous use of our existing water recycling infrastructure for our customers is not prejudiced. We would also ask that consideration be given to whether a proposed allocation site is located within a source protection zone. This is important to ensure that existing water sources for public water supply would not be adversely affected from polluting activities.