Site Assessment Pro Formas

Representation ID: 8520

Received: 27/09/2021

Respondent: Old Road Securities PLC

Agent: DLP Planning Limited

Representation Summary:

Introduction to Site and Proposals
Our client’s land interests were submitted to Bedford Borough Council as part of the ‘Call for Sites’ exercise undertaken to inform preparation of the emerging Local Plan 2030.
Two ‘Call for Sites’ references exist for our client’s site, recorded under LPA ID 604 and 645. It is also noted that a third Proforma exists for the site LPA ID ref. 355, however, this was not submitted by our client (nor by DLP) and therefore we will not be providing any response on this particular assessment.
In commencing an immediate Review in accordance with Policy 1 of the adopted Plan, the Council is, as required, seeking to ensure that future needs for growth are provided for in line with government policy i.e., local housing need calculated using the standard method. The review of the Local Plan is an important opportunity to address issues regarding flexibility and choice in a variety of locations for growth, as well as ensuring a balanced allocation of land for development sufficient to meet future needs, and to ensure planning policy is up to date.
Whilst two development options have been considered for this site (100- and 500-units respectively), it is recognised that in light of the extensive scope for the review of the Local Plan 2030, an appropriate strategy will require a combination of multiple spatial options over the plan period. In the case of our client’s land at Willoughby Park (ID: 645), this would represent a logical spatial option for consideration as the Site is located at the heart of the A421 corridor spatial Option 2d. We believe the site offers substantial opportunities to meet the Borough’s increased requirements for growth without significant constraints to development or barriers to infrastructure.
As a Key Service Centre, Great Barford can contribute to this option through an increased contribution towards the Borough’s housing requirement in the period to 2030 and beyond.
In the case of our client’s land the site has the potential to deliver approximately 500 units. The site, in part, was considered favourably in the Council’s 2017 Consultation Paper as part of preferred options for site allocation, and the Council’s 2018 HELAA records it as suitable, available, and achievable for development.
Furthermore, in its 2017 Assessment of Site Options the Council identified scope in elements of the site for a positive contribution towards several plan-making objectives. These conclusions remain entirely valid in the context of Great Barford’s role as a Key Service Centre and specific planning considerations regarding our client’s land.
In addition to the wider site, the Client has also explored utilising a smaller parcel of land for the development of 100-units. This has been assessed by the LPA under site ID 604. A response to this assessment is set out below, followed by a formal response made to the assessment for site ID: 645 which relates to the 500-unit option.

Site ID: 604 – Land off Roxton Road, Great Barford
The site extends to some 9.94 hectares of land and is proposed as a residential development site for up to 100 residential dwellings (Class C3).
The site will make provision for a new footpath link between the existing rights of way and the proposed development, create a large area of publicly accessible open space and introduce structural landscaping in key view areas, introduce children’s play facilities. The site will guarantee and coordinate delivery of infrastructure and community facilities where relevant, a mix and range of housing and contributions to upgrading existing educational facilities in the area.
The site would be accessed via a single point off Roxton Road (designed to the Council’s standards) and will seek to minimise disruption to the village core, avoiding the narrow historic streets.
Response to Borough Council’s Site Assessment Pro-Forma (Site ID: 604)
We have reviewed the Council’s assessment of the site and wish to make a number of comments below.
Protected Species
Whilst a site-specific ecological assessment has not been undertaken which is directly linked To this parcel, a preliminary assessment and ecological surveys have been undertaken for a much larger parcel of land identified by site ref 645.
The outcome of those reports is discussed in greater detail in paragraph’s 7.26 – 7.33 below, however, subject to mitigation measures it is considered that there will be no impacts on protected species. A biodiversity net gain calculation could also support any potential planning application, but it is considered that there is sufficient public open space to achieve a net gain.
Opportunities to link into the Green Infrastructure Opportunity Network
The Council have advised that no answers were chosen in respect of this particular matter, however, as the Council will be aware, as part of the ongoing Neighbourhood Plan examination, Great Barford Parish Council have produced a Green Infrastructure Plan (2019). This identifies two areas within our client’s site for green infrastructure improvements. It is considered that the proposed masterplan for our client’s site (see Appendix 3) is reflective Of the aspirations of the Green Infrastructure Plan and will seek to enhance the network through the provision of additional public open space within the site.
Best and most versatile agricultural land
Whilst all of the site potentially comprises of best and most versatile agricultural land according to the Natural England’s Agricultural Land Classification map for the Eastern Region, all of the land surrounding Great Barford comprises of best and most versatile land and therefore any residential proposal in this location would require some loss. This does not represent an overriding constraint to development given the highly sustainable location of Great Barford within the A421 corridor and should be considered in the wider balance as part of the Council’s assessment of site options. Any planning application could be supported by a detailed assessment as required.