Site ID: 754

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Site Assessment Pro Formas

Representation ID: 8873

Received: 30/09/2021

Respondent: DLP Planning Limited

Agent: DLP Planning Limited

Representation Summary:

Introduction to Site and Proposals
4.1 The site was previously submitted to the Council for consideration as part of the Council’s ‘call for sites’ exercise in August 2020. The land area being promoted is shown below.
Figure 1: Land at Ford Lane, Roxton
4.2 The site, known as Land at Ford Lane, Roxton, is situated on the eastern side of Roxton. Roxton is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Bedford.
4.3 The site is located on the north side of Ford Lane in Roxton. The site lies close to the core of the village and offers an opportunity for both housing and greenspace and is well linked to public transport.
4.4 The majority of the site is located within Flood Zone 1, with the eastern boundaries located in Flood Zone 2. The site is not within a Conservation Area or subject to any other landscape/ecology designation.
BE5553 – Land at Ford Lane, Roxton
Philip C Bath Ltd
Representations to Bedford LP2040
September 2021
4.5 The site is considered suitable for residential development and would be able to accommodate a mix of typologies, both market and affordable, with appropriate landscaping and access.
4.6 The site lies adjacent to an established area of development, Residential development would be the most logical form of development for the site as part of the Local Plan Review.
4.7 In light of the extensive scope for the Review of the Local Plan 2040 we consider that an appropriate strategy will require a combination of multiple spatial options over the plan period. In the case of our client’s Land at Ford Lane, Roxton, this could achieve residential development on an underused agricultural land and would provide an appropriate level of growth within a key rural settlement of Roxton.
4.8 The site is suitable for development and the landowner is committed to bringing it forward, such that it is available now.
Response to Borough Council’s Site Assessment Pro-Forma (Site ID: 773)
Site Assessment Criteria
4.9 We have reviewed the Council’s assessment of the site and wish to make a number of comments below.
Within or adjoining the urban area or a defined settlement policy area boundary
4.10 The site adjoins the built up area of a defined settlement. In principle it therefore falls to be considered for development as part of the Council’s assessment of site options. The site is connected to the main road network off Ford Lane and is also within close proximity to the A421, which is a main growth corridor for development. Furthermore, its location also makes the site suitable for residential use.
Flood Risk and Minerals
4.11 While the Council’s Site Assessment proforma notes the presence of areas of Flood Risk this fails to reflect that only a small portion of the far eastern boundary of the site is affected. This does not preclude the ability to identify a suitable area for development and appropriate drainage strategy together with the provision of appropriate non-built uses such as
BE5553 – Land at Ford Lane, Roxton
Philip C Bath Ltd
Representations to Bedford LP2040
September 2021
greenspace within affected parts of the site. Those parts of the site subject to Flood Risk are also the only areas of the land affected by the designation of sites on the Minerals and Waste Policies Map indicating that this also represents no in principle constraint to development.
Figure 2: Extract from Policies Map: Inset Map 5, Strategic Mineral Sites Black Cat and Blunham/ Roxton
Impact on designated or non-designated heritage assets or their setting
4.12 The Council’s site assessment proforma finds that the proposal has the potential to cause harm to heritage assets, which may range from low to high. There are no designated heritage assets within the site itself and the nearest assets are located beyond the south-west boundary of the site (Grade II Listed Polar Farmhouse).
4.13 Development of our client’s land may result in some impact upon one aspect of the setting of relevant assets based on their relationship with the surrounding rural area. There will be options to avoid, reduce or mitigate this harm and where sites have not been ruled out altogether for other reasons. In the case of our client’s land further assessment will be undertaken to more fully explore impacts on significance and to ensure that any impact would represent less than substantial harm in terms of Paragraph 202 of the NPPF, which is the expected outcome given the context described above.
BE5553 – Land at Ford Lane, Roxton
Philip C Bath Ltd
Representations to Bedford LP2040
September 2021
Best and most versatile agricultural land
4.14 Whilst all of the site comprises of best and most versatile agricultural land, according to the Natural England’s Agricultural Land Classification map for the Eastern Region, the Council’s strategy options all identify a necessity to release previously undeveloped sites. In this case the area of land affected would be small in scale and is distinct from the wider agricultural landscape due to existing planting and the watercourse along its boundaries. Any planning application could be supported by a detailed assessment, as required.
Protected Species and Ecological Value
4.15 The Council’s assessment notes that the site is not located within an area of importance for nature conservation but states that some protected species have been recorded on the site. This could be addressed through an ecology survey and protected species surveys, if appropriate, and the recommendations and mitigation strategy could be incorporated into any development scheme.
4.16 The identification of a suitable developable area for the site, including avoiding limited areas of Flood Risk within the east of the site, indicates that those areas of greatest habitat value are likely to be unaffected. These areas of the site could be subject to appropriate measures for protection and enhancement of their biodiversity value as part of the wider scheme proposals.
Access, Highways and Sustainable Transport
4.17 The Council’s assessment pro-forma notes some requirement for access improvements to secure vehicular access from the existing Ford Lane to the site entrance but does not identify any in principle constraints to widening the carriageway within land controlled by our client and no significant congestion issues are identified. The proforma otherwise reflects positively on the proximity of the site to the existing village and the accessibility of existing walking and cycling links along the northern site boundary.
4.18 The findings against this criteria are not considered to preclude the site from further testing as part of site options. Any planning application would be supported by detailed Transport Assessment that would consider the mitigation requirements in further detail.
See attachment for photos