Site ID: 686
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 3777
Respondent: Ken Cook
As the proposal for housing reaches up to woodland it will have have an impact on the wildlife dependant on the Wilstead Wood habitat and cause a biodiversity loss as a result. Sites important to wildlife need to be buffered by land devoted to agriculture to remain viable.
The size and location of the proposal will seriously impact on the services and facilities and the nature of the village of Wilstead.
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 3962
Respondent: Mrs Linda Cook
The size of this proposal is far too large. On the border of Wilstead it would be dependant on the facilities of Wilstead which will fail to cope. By bordering Wilstead Woods it will have a serious effect on the habitat provided by the wood for wildlife.
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 5121
Respondent: Wilshamstead Parish Council
Outside the Settlement Policy Area for Wilstead and an important area next to the Greensand Ridge.
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 6226
Respondent: AW Group Limited
Agent: Arrow Planning Limited
5.1 The land at West Park Farm sits immediately south of Wilstead, as shown on the
Site Location Plan enclosed at Appendix 1. The land measures c.21ha and was
submitted to BBC through the Call for Sites process in 2020. Enclosed at
Appendix 3 is the Council’s assessment of the site contained in the Site
Assessment Pro Formas (June 2021).
5.2 The land has previously been put forward for a residential development, with the
Council’s assessment suggesting 525 homes. Since the previous submission,
AWG has prepared a more detailed land use assessment of the site and the
enclosed illustrative masterplan (Appendix 2) demonstrates how the site could
provide the following net zero carbon development4:
• 13.6 hectares of residential (511 dwellings at around 37.5 dph - 1.9 hectares is
shown as 'multi-generational housing)
• 5.5 hectares of solar, a large scale (potentially 6MW) wind turbine and ground
sourced heating infrastructure to supply homes with hot water
• 1 hectare school site (single form entry)
• 2 hectares playing fields
• 3.3 hectares of woodland in addition to woodland buffer planting
• Community Hub
• Retail/café with EV charging
• A new roundabout on the A6 at the Chapel End Road junction
• A new cycle/footpath connection into Wilstead along the ‘old’ route of the A6
5.3 The proposals are a comprehensive approach to delivery of a net zero
carbon, highly sustainable development within the southern parish of
Wilstead. The proposed development would meet the requirements of national
policy, particularly in relation to climate change, and would be an exemplar
development that would assist the Council as a flagship scheme to lead the
way for other developments to follow, so assisting the Borough in moving
towards becoming a net zero carbon Borough.
5.4 The Site is in a single ownership, is available and is deliverable, being actively
promoted by AWG in conjunction with the landowner. It is not reliant upon any third parties and would be capable of “consuming its own smoke” in terms of
infrastructure. The Site could, therefore, be delivered early within the plan period.
5.5 The proposed development has several key benefits that meet the aims and
vision of both the Local Plan, and national policy. In addition to being a net zero
carbon development with renewable energy and heat alongside
development, it would deliver multi-generational housing and a new school,
as well as major highway improvements. The ability to connect to the
settlement of Wilstead with a new cycle/footpath connection enhances the
sustainability of the Site, and enhanced by the topography, it is in an excellent
location to connect to the new Wixams station, the proposed East-West rail
station north of Stewartby, and the nearby proposed Bedford Business Park.
The homes would therefore be in an excellent location by providing
opportunities for people to live and work locally and reduce reliance upon
the private car.
5.6 The Site Proforma confirms that the land is adjoining a defined settlement
area, and that there are no major issues that would preclude the allocation of
the Site. Turning to more detailed aspects of the Council’s assessment and, in
turn, the evidence base for this Local Plan, there are a number of positive
matters which further point towards the case for allocating this Site.
Highways and Access
5.7 The Bedford Borough Local Plan Transport Access Assessments document5
(site ref 686) finds that the proposed highway mitigation is possible and scores
the Site with an amber rating. It does not highlight any technical issues with the
Site and, those matters that score less well (namely bus stop and cycle
connectivity) would be addressed as part of the development.
5.8 The highway summary of the Site correctly notes that a development of this
scale would have the ability to either provide its own bus stop or deliver a
flexible public transport service. Thus, the scoring of the Site regarding public
transport would improve and, given the proximity to both the Wixams rail station
and new East-West rail station near Stewartby and the proposed Bedford
Business Park, it would be realistic for a shuttle bus service (or similar) to
connect this development, local villages, and those locations.
5.9 Turning to cycle, the layout at Appendix 2 shows how the Site would connect to
Wilstead, with a new cycle connection along the former route of the A6. The
topography in this area is relatively flat, and thus conducive to cycling, and
therefore the Site is one that would be a realistic cycling option for residents to
choose to cycle.
5.10 Finally, the delivery of a new roundabout at the Chapel End Road/A6 junction
(as shown in Appendix 4) would deliver wider highway benefits. Presently this
junction is one which has experienced several accidents over recent years, a
risk that may be increased given future development pressures in the locality.
The delivery of a new roundabout would have considerable benefits in terms
of highway safety, whilst not resulting in congestion issues on the A6 given the
distance to other junctions.
5.11 The summary Site Proforma refers to potential harm to heritage assets.
However, upon examination of the Historic Environment Assessments6 that
forms part of the evidence base, the assessment finds that there are no known
heritage assets, and only that a “pre-determination evaluation will be required”.
5.12 The document also confirms that there is unlikely to be an impact on Listed
Buildings. The concluding comments in the assessment, that, in effect, find that
there ‘may or may not be’ a harmful impact on heritage assets or their setting is
misleading, if not completely incorrect.
5.13 There is, therefore, no reason to find that the Site should be excluded on
5.14 The Site sits within the East Marston Clay Vale (5E) as identified in the
Landscape Character Assessment (2014, updated 2020) (‘the LCA’). The LCA
finds that this area has a number of urban and built form influences, namely:
• Large scale industrial features such as distribution warehouses
• Roads, such as the A6, with a strong visual and audible presence
• The urban edge of Bedford and development along the A6 associated with
Wilstead brining urban fringe characteristics.
5.15 The vale is low lying, and the Site itself sits within this low topography. The Site
benefits from the change in levels to the east and south, and the Ancient
Woodland to the east of the Site. This change in topography, along with the
woodland, provides a sense of enclosure for the Site, separating it from the
changing character further south and preventing the feeling of encroachment
into the wider countryside.
5.16 The LCA in particular identifies that the settlement edge expansion of
Wilstead is a potential future change to the landscape7, thus acknowledging
that growth in this area is something the landscape is likely to accommodate.
Moreover, the LCA identifies (para SE.1.42 p.120) that this future growth must
prevent linear expansion and the merger of villages, with specific reference to
the potential for the merger of Wixams with Wilstead.
5.17 This means that, based on the LCA, the only possible location for growth of
Wilstead is to the south. Any growth to the north or west would lead to a
potential merger with Wixams, whilst to the east there is the risk of coalescence
5.18 Plainly, therefore, allocating the Site for development would be a logical
approach considering the landscape evidence base for the Local Plan.
5.19 The land at West Park Farm, south of Wilstead, is being actively promoted for a
net zero carbon development of some 515 homes, with a school, multigenerational
housing, transport infrastructure and large-scale renewable
energy and heat.
5.20 The Local Plan evidence base finds that this location is a logical and
appropriate location for development; indeed the LCA actively points to this
location (by process of elimination) for future growth. The Site would accord
with the emerging development strategy for BBC and would deliver housing
in a sustainable location, together with renewable energy, as advocated in
5.21 The land at West Park Farm should therefore be allocated for development
(housing and renewable energy) within the Local Plan.