Call for sites following Bedford Borough’s review of Local Plan

Bedford OxCamArc

Bedford Borough Council has published a report on the early review of the Local Plan 2030. The report is due to be put before the Council’s Executive Committee on 24th June 2020. With the Review a requirement under Policy 1 of the Local Plan 2030, it focuses largely on the allocation of additional development sites to meet the ‘Local Housing Need’ as required in national policy. 

The Report notes that the standard method used to calculate the Local Housing Need is due to be updated this Summer (the current requirement is 1,345 dwellings per annum, a 35% increase on that in the adopted Local Plan) and advises that this will fit well with the timetable for the Local Plan Review.

The Local Plan Review was also imposed in part to allow the Council to take account of the advancing cross boundary Oxford to Cambridge Arc proposals. There are still many unknowns in respect of these proposals, but given the challenging timetable facing the Council, they cannot afford to wait for Arc-related matters to be resolved before progressing the Local Plan Review. These very issues were raised by Planning Director Russell Gray at last week’s Built Environment Networking event – read the article here.

The report seeks approval from the Executive Committee for an Issues and Options consultation paper. This will help to stimulate representations from residents, statutory consultees and others with an in interest in the Borough in relation to the content and scope of the Local Plan Review. 

While the Council does not anticipate having to make substantial changes to other development management policies, this initial consultation seeks comments on:

  • The scope of the Local Plan Review and the plan period
  • Different types of locations where housing and employment growth may occur and a ‘Call for Sites’ exercise
  • Capturing the benefits of greater connectivity to Oxford and Cambridge as a result of East-West Rail
  • Policies relating to the revitalisation of the Town Centre
  • Development management policies relating to building standards and responding to climate change. 

Once approved by the Executive Committee the Council will be accepting representations up until 14th September 2020 on the Issues and Options, along with ‘Call for Sites’ submissions up until 14th August 2020. 

If you own land or know of any landowners that may be interested in submitting their land for consideration, please get in contact with us for an informal conversation on how we might assist.