Site ID: 827
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 4294
Not sustainable. Village already congested and cannot support development on this scale.
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 8395
Respondent: Bedfordia Developments Ltd and Bedfordshire Charitable Trust Ltd
Agent: DLP Planning Limited
The Bedfordia land ownership extends to approximately 2.06ha in size and lies within the built-up area of Felmersham adjacent to Memorial Lane and south of The Old Road.
site location plan see appendix
The site is largely undeveloped. It has no relevant planning history, although there is currently a children’s playground located on the northernmost parcel or land fronting on to The Old Road. This falls outside of the land put forward within these submissions but is within Bedfordia’s ownership and is currently let to the local community and is proposed to be retained as part of any development proposals.
3.3 The western boundary of the site adjoins the defined settlement envelope. The north of the site is adjacent to developments on The Old Road. The southern and eastern extents of the site are bounded by countryside.
3.4 Existing bus stops are located on The High Road, which is within close proximity of the site. The site also has connections to the A6 via Memorial Lane and Radwell Road. There are no constraints to accessing the site and no ransom strips as the land is within the single ownership of Bedfordia.
3.5 To the north of the site is The Manor, a Grade II Listed Building. In addition, the Felmersham Conservation Area is adjacent to the site, with boundaries on Memorial Lane and The Old Road.
3.6 The site is approximately 300m from the River Great Ouse and the Environment Agency shows low risk of fluvial or surface water flooding. No contamination or pollution has been indicated on site. No hedgerows are present and there is only one tree on site and this tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order. There are no designated Public Rights of Way on site, although there is an undesignated pathway from Memorial Lane to the Pinchmill Primary School along the northern boundary of the site. The site is not located within any statutory designated areas, AONB, Local Nature Reserve, SSSI or Green Belt.
3.7 The site represents a sustainable location and is well located to local services, including Pinchmill Primary School and the play area which are adjacent to the site. The site is within walking distance of two bus stops, the village church (St Mary’s Church) and the local public house (The Sun). The site also has excellent connectivity, being less than two miles from the A6 and within approximately 15-minute drive time to Bedford.
3.8 The site provides an opportunity to deliver a carefully considered and sustainably located residential development, which is well located relative to the core of the village and existing services. This proposed site provides a sustainable location and is a natural extension to the village, which is well related to the existing pattern of built form as seen elsewhere in the village.
3.9 Whilst Felmersham is not identified for any housing growth in the emerging Local Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan which is being developed has an identified need of 13 dwellings. Having taken on board the feedback received from both the NP Group and local community during public consultation exercises for the Neighbourhood Plan and Local Plan, Bedfordia recognises that development of the western portion of their land holding, to deliver in the region of 10-12 dwellings which are a mix of sizes and tenures, plus overflow car parking for Pinchmill Primary School, is a pragmatic and proportionate option to help meet local needs up to 2030, and this is set out below in Figure 2 (Appendix 2 see attachment).
Preparation of the Local Plan 2040 provides a further opportunity to consider the ability of these proposals to contribute towards needs in the period to 2030 or beyond.
The proposed site would in principle be capable of accommodating one, or a combination of the following uses:
• Market housing;
• Affordable housing;
• Starter homes;
• Self/custom build plots;
• Additional car parking to serve Pinchmill Primary School;
• Potential new meeting hall for the village.
3.12 Any development would be designed to respect and strengthen the structure, form, and character of the village, integrating seamlessly into the existing settlement. In particular, special attention will be paid to design and construction materials to ensure the development respects the setting of nearby listed buildings and reflects and enhances the character of the Conservation Area.
3.13 A suitable dedicated vehicle access to the site could be achieved off Memorial Lane, with additional pedestrian access through to Pinchmill Primary School via the retention and enhanced of the existing footpath located along the northern boundary of the site. This would have the potential to greatly ease the congestion as it currently exists in The Old Road at school drop-off and pick-up times. To further mitigate congestion around pick-up times any future development on the site would offer the potential for overflow parking for Pinchmill Primary School.
3.14 Allocation for self or custom build plots would allow the site to come forward at a pace that meets local need in the area, with the flexibility of price and design to suit local circumstances.
3.15 It is important to reiterate that the development proposals will retain and not impact upon the existing play area located to the on the northern portion of the site in the wider ownership of Bedfordia.
3.16 As a part of the development proposals there will be additional planting and the implementation of a landscaping buffer along the southern, western, and part of the eastern boundary.
3.17 However, in addition to the above the site put forward as part of the submissions to the Local Plan 2040 contains land to the east of the Layout Plan (Figure 2) as shown in Figure 1 at the beginning of this Report. The wider site could deliver up to 30 dwellings across the increased land area. This would not only meet the needs of Felmersham to 2030, but also assist in meeting the local housing needs up to 2040.
We have reviewed the Council’s assessment of the site and wish to make a number of comments below.
Impact on designated or non-designated heritage assets or their setting
3.19 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 will 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.
3.20 Potential constraints relating to the historic environment are widely relevant to most site options in Felmersham and are considered relatively less significant in the context of our client’s land. There are no designated heritage assets within the site itself and the site is located outside of the Conservation Area. A sensitively designed scheme, subject to suitably worded policy criteria, would form the basis to secure acceptable outcomes, and could require suitable technical documentation to be submitted alongside development proposals on the site. The historic environment has been considered in the description of the proposals provided above.
3.21 The Council’s assessment records a potential uncertain impact but recognises that the land is not within or adjacent areas of nature conservation importance.
3.22 As part of future development of the site it would be appropriate to seek preparation of an Ecological Impact Assessment comprising a Phase 1 Habitat Survey and assessment of potential site features supporting the presence of protected species.
3.23 This would be an appropriate basis assess the impact of the development proposal and set out mitigation measures required to ensure there is no net harm to ecological features and where possible identify any opportunities available for integrating ecological features within the development. It is anticipated that a number of ecological enhancements could be
BE1752-5P – Felmersham
Bedfordia Developments Ltd
Bedford Local Plan 2040 Representation
provided as part of proposals, such as habitat piles, hedgehog tunnels, bat boxes, bird boxes and native planting and that delivery of these enhancements would lead to an overall Neutral to Minor Beneficial impact
Impact on Highways
3.24 The assessment identifies that the “Access point to the site is feasible from Memorial Lane” and “No significant traffic issues in the vicinity and a development of this size is unlikely to cause significant impacts.” This assessment then moves to suggest that access should be directly off Radwell Road, which could be achieved, but the Site Assessment appears confused on the suitability of the access and where this should be located. This could be clarified as part of additional technical work which could explore the suitability of both accesses directly onto Memorial Lane and Radwell Road, which would in turn support identification of a preferred option amongst the various suitable alternatives.