The Local Plan sets out how Central Bedfordshire (CBC) will develop over the next 20 years. It outlines the strategy for ensuring the growth that is needed is delivered in the right place, and is of the right character and quality. It also seeks to ensure that growth is delivered with the supporting roads, schools and services such as health, as well as retail, leisure and community facilities.
The prime location and excellent connectivity means that CBC has high growth pressures and the need to plan for it. More homes, and in particular homes that families can afford to buy and to rent, are needed. It means that there is a need to continue to create more jobs to grow the local economy and to keep improving our transport networks. It also creates a need to protect and enhance the green infrastructure. Aims of the plan, to quote from it, include:-
- keep the character of Central Bedfordshire
- limit the impact on the countryside
- plan for homes for the older generation and affordable homes
- plan for local jobs and services
- make sure our roads can cope
- build near to existing roads and infrastructure
- use brownfield sites
The plan shows proposals for 32,000 new homes. This figure is higher than two targets we understand to have been recently proposed by Government; one anticipated a target of 20,000 and another of 30,000. The proposed number in the plan I way ahead of the first and even exceeds the second target. The reason for the variation, we are told, is that CBC is awaiting notification from Government as to the actual number they need to plan for beyond the 23,000 homes that are currently being built or agreed to be built.
One surprise in the plan is that CBC are proposing that RAF Henlow becomes an employment hub with far fewer homes planned there than stated previously. And this part of the plan has got off to a flying start with the announcement that Blue Abyss have announced the location to build a space and sea centre. (See here)