Economic Growth Ambitions Topic Paper
Plan for submission evidence base
Representation ID: 10018
Respondent: St Modwen Logistics
Agent: Barton Willmore
Legally compliant? Yes
Duty to co-operate? Yes
St Modwen Logistics own and manage Thurleigh Airfield, an established business park and existing allocation, classified as being within the Protect and Enhance Category and subject to Policy 70 of the Local Plan 2030 (adopted January 2020).
Economic Growth Ambitions Topic Paper (May 2022)
Looking at the Economic Growth Ambitions Topic Paper (May 2022), key strengths and weaknesses in relation to the economy are recognised as the existing presence of key companies being in Bedford, the higher than regional average levels of resident skills and qualifications and the over investment in logistics – leading to a low productivity economy.
The paper notes that whilst, “B8 allocation is still required, this is largely saturated and there is a push towards increasing B2/E(g) allocations to create a more higher value balanced economy.”
To counteract this over saturation in land uses and the dominance of the logistics sector within Bedford, the paper supports the provision of local clusters of sectors.
Whilst Thurleigh Airfield does include B8 space for logistics businesses, it is also already hosting emerging clusters of alternative sectors including Mologic – a medical diagnostics cluster and Millennium Studios, providers of production and rehearsal space, supporting creative industries.
This demonstrates how the current variety of uses and future potential of Thurleigh Airfield align with the Council’s economic growth ambitions and should be considered as a site for allocation and to provide a firm commitment to the Council’s employment land supply, and not as an “exception site” as set out in the ELS (2022).