Site ID: 658

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Site Assessment Pro Formas

Representation ID: 6129

Received: 09/09/2021

Respondent: Mr J Gill

Agent: DLP Planning Limited

Representation Summary:

5.1 The site subject to representation is land off Cranfield Road, Wootton. The site is also subject to representation in the Wootton Neighbourhood Plan regulation 16 Submission plan.
5.2 The site was promoted through the Call for Sites consultation in August 2020. The details in the assessed site proforma produced in response to the Bedford Borough Council are perfunctory and lacking in detail. The assessment acknowledges the site extends to 5.64 hectares and is appropriate for approximately 150 dwellings. It acknowledges the site is suitable for general residential development. However, response is made below.
Site Assessment Criteria – Heritage / Object / Comment
5.3 The site assessment proforma in respect of heritage states…..
The proposal has the potential to cause harm to heritage assets. This harm may range from low to high. There may be options to avoid, reduce or mitigate this harm and where sites have not been ruled out altogether for other reasons, further assessment will be undertaken to more fully explore impacts on significance and options for harm reduction and mitigation. This further assessment may ultimately lead to the conclusion that the site should not be allocated.
5.4 However, this would be subject to heritage assessment and the background document to the proforma is more positive and proactive regarding potential allocation.
Potential high harm to (?)locally significant archaeological remains = low/moderate overall impact?: No known heritage assets of archaeological interest within site but excavations on other side of Cranfield Rd revealed Roman settlement remains not too far distant. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation will be required.
5.5 It is accepted that the proposed site would need to be assessed for heritage assets and proposed development would respect and appropriately consider the heritage value, if any, of the site. The conclusion of the proforma assessment is unnecessarily negative and is based only on excavations in the vicinity. The proforma acknowledges there are ‘no known heritage assets of archaeological interest within site’.
5.6 The Neighbourhood Plan Submission Version Plan, whilst not recommending the site for inclusion within the plan for allocation, makes no reference to potential heritage conflicts or constraints. Rejection of the site is based only upon the requirements of the development strategy in the emerging WNP. As this representation makes clear the approach in the emerging WNP does not achieve the intended vision and ambition of the review of the Local Plan and requires considerably greater flexibility in order to do so effectively.
Suggested Alternative Site Assessment Finding
5.7 It is suggested that the proforma is amended to advise that along with standard procedure a heritage and archaeology assessment is undertaken to accompany development proposals.
Site Assessment Criteria – Transport / Comment
5.8 The transport comments of the pro forma are constructive and helpful;
Access from Cranfield Rd. No footways serve the site but land to the east is under development and could provide infrastructure to tie into providing pedestrian links north into Wootton. Bus stops in close proximity to the south providing an hourly C1 service Mon-Fri and less frequent at weekends. Some congestion within Wootton, development would need junction impact assessments. NCN 51 runs on Cranfield Road. Tie into new infrastructure east of the site to provide links to infrastructure and facilities in Wootton. Provide pedestrian and cycle routes within and through the site creating safer routes into Wootton.
5.9 The site is generally well connected to existing development and nearby settlements of Bedford and Kempston. Recognised by the existing public transport service and the ability to easily improve pedestrian any cycling facilities to nearby development. Indeed, the comments suggest the site could be plugged into existing infrastructure in the east. It is accepted that a transport statement would be required but that there are no constraints regarding access or connectivity.