Site ID: 932
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 4297
Not sustainable. Village already congested and cannot support development on this scale.
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 9010
Respondent: Bedfordia Developments Ltd and Bedfordshire Charitable Trust Ltd
Agent: DLP Planning Limited
Together, the sites represent an area of circa 52 ha, 47 ha of which lies to the east of Odell
Road (Site A) with the remaining 5 ha off School Approach (Site B), both on the southwestern
side of Sharnbrook.
(Figure in attachment)
Both sites maintain a strong relationship with the village and are well related to the existing
built-up area. Taken together they can provide a full range of housing types and tenures and
substantial community infrastructure including provision of land for a new one or two form
entry primary school. The indicative site masterplan (Figure 2 below) illustrates how the sites
could be developed to include around 20ha of multifunctional open space/riverside parkland,
enhancing the recreation, open space, and green infrastructure provision in the village The sites currently comprise arable fields and are identified as Grade 3 ‘Good to Moderate’
Odell Road forms the western extent of Site A, lying behind the established residential
dwellings to the east and north. To the south and south-east, the site is bound by a series of
lakes and water courses within the Felmersham Gravel Pits SSSI, with the River Great Ouse
beyond. Site B is bounded by residential development to the east, beyond School Approach,
with Sharnbrook Academy to the north, and agricultural land to the south/ west. Adjacent to
the site’s southern boundary is an access track that leads onto Odell Road, adjacent to Site
Access to the sites is to be achieved from Odell Road (Site A) and School Approach (Site B)
respectively, both of which are adopted highways, facilitating direct connections to the
principle thoroughfares of Sharnbrook.
There are no listed buildings within the immediate vicinity of the sites, nor are they within a
Conservation Area (the northern boundary of Site A partially adjoins). Both sites include a
portion of land subject to land designation, with sites A and B including a small area of land
identified as ‘Village Open Space / View’ under Policy AD40 of the Site Allocations and
Designations Local Plan (2013). The potential impact on this designation was considered as
part of a Comparative Landscape Assessment undertaken on behalf of our client, illustrating
that the Stoneyfields site compares favourably to the proposed allocation at Hill Farm (see
Neither site falls within any Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Local Nature
Reserve, or Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) (Site A adjoins). The sites themselves
are also unconstrained in terms of ecology.
Site B remains unconstrained by flooding, with only the eastern margin of Site A lying in
Flood Zone 2 / 3. This is however proposed to be retained as open space / green
infrastructure and would therefore not impact on the development capacity of the site.
These sites are therefore considered to be relatively unconstrained and well related to the
existing built-up area making them suitable development allocations, contributing towards
the growth needs of Sharnbrook and the wider authority area whilst providing substantial
Services and Facilities
The settlement of Sharnbrook provides a good range of local services and facilities and
includes a post office, convenience store, a pharmacy, restaurants, cafes, public houses,
and Sharnbrook Upper School, hence its designation as a Key Service Centre.
Sharnbrook is also served by several bus routes, including bus route 50 (Bedford/Kettering)
and bus route 25/26 (Bedford-Rushden) with the nearest rail links provided at Bedford.
Proposed Development Scheme - Stoneyfields
An indicative Masterplan (see Figure 2 below - see attachment) illustrates how the sites could be developed
for the land known as ‘Stoneyfields’.
Stoneyfields presents significant development opportunities, not only to accommodate
between 450-500 dwellings but also by facilitating the development of multifunctional
countryside parkland, enhancing the recreation, open space, and green infrastructure
provision in the village. The creation of this area, adjacent to the River Ouse Corridor, not
only optimises the use of land within Flood Zones 2 / 3, but also serves to enhance the village
and the open countryside beyond. This riverside park would additionally introduce a series
of new footpath connections, linking to those currently within the area and providing greater
linkages for existing residents to the open countryside.
The proximity of the Stoneyfields site to the Felmersham Gravel Pits SSSI has been
considered throughout its promotion. Previous site assessment undertaken by Bedford
Borough Council has indicated scope for mitigation, subject to investigations. Our client has
undertaken engagement with Natural England as part of its Discretionary Advice process. A
scheme of works for the necessary hydrological, drainage and water quality investigations is
to be agreed.
The Concept Masterplan has been informed by ongoing engagement with Natural England.
The latest correspondence (14/10/2020) further highlights no showstopper constraints to
development in this location. Here Natural England again welcome the provision of a Country
Park, stating this “acts as a physical buffer between the SSSI and the proposed development,
and conforms to Natural England’s NE265 'Nature Nearby' Accessible Natural Greenspace
Guidance”. A copy of this correspondence has previously been provided to Officers at the
Initial transport assessments dictate that a suitable and safe vehicular access to the
development area could be delivered in principle. This would be achieved as part of provision
of a new distributor road within Site A, enabling a traffic calming and an improvement on the
existing highways arrangement on Odell Road. The proposed arrangement provides
significant potential to improve existing pressure on the highway network associated with
Sharnbrook Academy and the School Approach roundabout. The indicative Masterplan also
includes provision of a drop-off facility for Sharnbrook Academy in order to relieve existing
pressure associated with car parking and access to buses via School Approach.
A Review of the Sharnbrook Transport Study Review (SDD Consultants) (prepared to
support representations to the emerging Neighbourhood Plan and illustrate the comparative
advantages of the site in terms of access to services and facilities in the village) is included
at Appendix 3.
This site provides a unique opportunity to create a unified educational campus with the
potential for a new one or two form entry primary school supporting the educational needs of
the community and enhancing the continuity of educational facilities within the Sharnbrook
The Masterplan dedicates land for provision of a local centre including the potential for
relocation of the existing GP facility and new convenience retail floorspace. The facilities
would be well-related to the site and the existing village for access by non-car modes for
current and future residents. Additional retail floorspace would assist in potentially reducing
pressure on the High Street in a sustainable location.
In conclusion, development of Land at Stoneyfields could contribute towards the needs for
development identified in the Bedford Local Plan 2040 in one comprehensively planned site,
accommodating a mixture of dwelling types in addition to providing a new primary school and
other community benefits. Both sites have a strong relationship to the existing built form of
the village, immediately adjoining the settlement boundary of Sharnbrook. As such, it is
considered that the development of these sites appears a logical extension to the village,
continuing the established settlement form in a southerly direction and rounding off
development with a new strong and defensible boundary.
Both sites A and B are within the control of one party, are available now and can be brought
forward without any need for agreement with other parties. This means development can be
phased to link with the delivery of essential infrastructure, e.g., education provision, open
In the context of the points discussed above, the sites are unconstrained in terms of
deliverability and therefore could come forward in a timely manner. They would deliver a welldesigned
and spacious scheme, incorporating a mix of sizes and tenures as well as extra
care/care accommodation for the elderly and the potential for a new single form primary
school, all of which are required with the village.
Land at School Approach
Land at School Approach has been included in these representations as a potential smaller
scale opportunity to address risks of non-delivery or delays associated with the proposed
allocation of Hill Farm or to provide a more limited contribution towards future needs in the
Local Plan 2040 from the KSC at Sharnbrook. A boundary plan showing the site in the context
of Sharnbrook is available below.
This site has previously been submitted to the Council as part of their Call for Sites and was
suggested as a proposed ‘Reserve Site’ as part of representations to the emerging
Sharnbrook Neighbourhood Plan.
Land west of School Drive was also comprehensively analysed as part of the Borough
Council’s ‘Site Assessments and Potential Options for Allocation’ Report (April 2017), where
it was identified as part of a suitable allocation option for Sharnbrook. Details of the site were
resubmitted as part of the ‘Call for Sites’ exercise undertaken to inform the Review of the
Bedford Local Plan 2030.
The Site Assessment exercise undertaken by AECOM to support preparation of the
Sharnbrook Neighbourhood Plan identified the site as considered suitable for between 60 to
74 dwellings and considered deliverable within the next 5 years.
The site as recognised is unconstrained and well connected to the existing settlement and is
available, suitable, and achievable within the first five years of the plan period.
Copies of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal undertaken for the site and the response from
Natural England’s Discretionary Advice Service have previously been provided to the
Additional information is provided relating to our client’s work to promote the site as part of
the Sharnbrook Neighbourhood Plan, which was produced to illustrate the benefits of the site
in comparison to objections of the proposed allocation at Hill Farm. A copy of our client’s
Vison Document for the Stoneyfields site is also provided at Appendix 8.
The following plans and documents are appended:
Appendix Drawing / Document
Appendix 1 BE5229-6-D01 Location Plan
Appendix 2 5229-SK02 Stoneyfields Indicative Masterplan
Appendix 3 BE5229-16PD Sharnbrook Transport Study Review (SDD
Appendix 4 SES 17005-LS02 Sharnbrook NP Comparative Landscape
Appendix 8 N/A Stoneyfields Vision Document
Response to Borough Council’s Site Assessment Pro-Forma and Neighbourhood Plan
These sites were submitted as part of Summer 2020 Call for Sites event.
Site Assessment Criteria (Site ID 932) – Object
The resulting assessments do not provide a robust justification for the approach taken to site
selection and supporting growth. The assessments do not provide a criteria-based
assessment of relevant factors (including suitability, availability, and achievability).
The site assessment found that the site has potential to cause highway and congestion
issues, however, initial transport assessments dictate that a suitable and safe vehicular
access to the development area could be delivered in principle. This would be achieved as
part of provision of a new distributor road within Site A, enabling a traffic calming and an
improvement on the existing highways arrangement on Odell Road. The proposed
arrangement provides significant potential to improve existing pressure on the highway
network associated with Sharnbrook Academy and the School Approach roundabout. The
indicative Masterplan also includes provision of a drop-off facility for Sharnbrook Academy
in order to relieve existing pressure associated with car parking and access to buses via
Furthermore, the site assessment has noted a ‘high risk allocation’ with regard to Natural
England Risks Opportunities, however, our client has undertaken various engagement with
Natural England as part of its Discretionary Advice process and, as a result, a scheme of
works for the necessary hydrological, drainage and water quality investigations is to be
agreed. Moreover, the Concept Masterplan has been informed by ongoing engagement with
In relation to the potential presence of protected species on site our client confirms that a
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) has been undertaken. A copy has previously been
provided to Officers at the Council. This comprises a desk study, Phase 1 Habitat Survey,
and an assessment of the potential of site features to support bats, together with an
assessment of impacts at Stoneyfields. This report indicates positive findings in terms of the
suitability of the site for development, subject to further survey requirements that will be
undertaken and reported during relevant seasonal periods, taking full account of the existing
biodiversity evidence base. The report identifies that the Felmersham Gravel Pits SSSI is a
predominantly aquatic habitat and that associated requirements can be acceptably
accommodated as part of the Masterplan process.
In the absence of mitigation, the development may be considered to give rise to minor
adverse impacts on habitats for reptiles and breeding birds. The PEA further notes mitigation
has been proposed including careful lighting design for nocturnal wildlife and removal of
vegetation outside the nesting bird season. This mitigation would reduce the impacts of the
development proposals upon the habitats and species present, to give rise to an overall
Neutral to Minor Beneficial impact.
The Report also notes that “A number of ecological enhancements have been proposed,
which would improve the quality of the site for native flora and fauna, including habitat piles,
hedgehog tunnels, otter holts, bat boxes, bird boxes and native planting. Delivery of these
enhancements would lead to an overall Moderate to Major Beneficial impact.” Delivery of the
Riverside Park would be associated with further specific ecological benefits in terms of
attenuation, addressing increased recreational pressure and mitigating construction impacts
through separation from the main development areas within the site.
Any noise impacts from Santa Pod would be capable of appropriate mitigation. However, our
client notes that the Stoneyfields site falls outside of the contours for areas most likely to be
impacted by the raceway and sits on lower-lying land south of the existing built settlement.
In contrast, the Council’s assessment for the Hill Farm site (ID: 814) (which does
acknowledge noise impacts from the A6 and rail line) makes no reference to Santa Pod
despite the site’s proximity and higher elevation.
Suggested Alternative Site Assessment Finding
Given the findings of the assessment, the allocated appears to be suitable for development,
ensuring that the appropriate tests are conducted in terms of highways, ecology (including
hydrology), noise, and archaeology.