Settlement Hierarchy + Addendum

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Representation ID: 10094

Received: 28/07/2022

Respondent: Wilshamstead Parish Council

Representation Summary:

It is clearly incorrect that Wilstead remains included in the Local Plan as a “Key Service Centre”. There is a clear and obvious error in the evaluation because in the Settlement Hierarchy document (“Settlement Hierarchy 2030 with Addendum (2022)”)Wixams is shown as a Rural Service Centre despite having significantly more facilities than Wilstead and with many more promised to service the 4,500 houses already planned for Wixams prior to 2040. Wixams is currently shown with no secondary school which is incorrect and clearly over the period of the Plan, with a station and Town centre, Wixams will have many more facilities than Wilstead has today and in the expected near-future.

This is then contradicted by wording within the Local Plan document (Page 86 and Page 139/140) which describes both Wixams and Wilstead as Key Service Centres. Nowhere in the remainder of Bedford Borough are two key service centres located next to one another. This is clearly wrong.

Wilshamstead Parish Council have consistently advised the local authority that it is a mistake to class the village as a Key Service Centre. To reiterate again - its facilities are suited to the existing size of the village – not to any expansion, given there is no Primary School capacity, no GP/Health Centre, only one small shop and the bus service only covers part of the village and passes more than 800m from most residents. In addition, facilities like the Bowling Green, Allotments and Community Centres were provided for the size of the village at the time not for an additional 5000 residents. The chemist, public houses and post office already provide a service for the surrounding areas – particularly Wixams, so they should not count “against” Wilstead in the evaluation of areas suitable for development. At the lest they should be shown shared with Wixams and the scores for Wilstead halved as a result.

It should be noted that the Settlement Hierarchy gives an incorrect picture of the size of the village anyway, as it quotes a population size from the 2011 Census which, at the time, would have included all those residents living in what is now Wixams. Should the correct figures be used, the allocations would likely be calculated in a very different manner and this need to be reviewed before any further actions are taken; should this not take place there is compelling evidence to launch a more formal challenge against the 2040 Local Plan due to the incorrect nature of the data.

The above should mean that Wilstead be given Rural Service Centre status.

The Parish Council wish to highlight again, that Wilstead is in a similar situation to Oakley, which is considered to be a Rural Service Centre, that sits in open countryside between Bromham and Clapham, both Key Service Centres.