Residents’ fears over Marston Vale village plans

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Worried residents are preparing to go into battle against draft plans for up to four new villages in Mid Bedfordshire

Central Bedfordshire Council approved its draft Local Plan for consultation this week, which calls for around 20-30000 new homes to be built by 2035.

Within the plans are four new villages in Marston Vale of around 5,000 new homes.

In a statement the council said: “The proposal is to develop a series of four villages and a business park. The proposed villages would deliver part of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park and an attractive waterway linking Brogborough and Stewartby lakes. This would bring opportunities for leisure, tourism and wildlife. The proposals include green open space within the new villages and tree planting for the Forest of Marston Vale.”

But residents in Brogborough, Lidlington and Marston Mortaine fear the plans will create huge issues with a lack of infrastructure and the loss of identity for the present villages.

One resident said: “They say the villages will be separate but we’ve already seen what’s happened at Marston Moretaine with far more houses than the village can cope with and chaos on the roads at peak time.

“We all know developers promise much, but little of it is seen once the new homes have been built.”

Proposing the draft plan, Cllr Nigel Young told the Eexecutive committee yesterday: “There will of course be groups and individuals who will want to challenge the draft plan and it’s their perogative.”

And he added that while he would never seek to presume that campaigners had anything but the best interests of Central Bedfordshire at heart, people had to be realistic about the needs of the borough.

In its statement the council said: “The growth location option lies west of Marston Moretaine, north of Lidlington and east of Brogborough. The site’s boundary is the new A421 in the north, and the Marston Vale railway line in the south.

“The proposed East-West Rail route will also benefit this development. The location is close to the future East-West Rail Interchange at Ridgmont train station.

“Road improvements will also be required, as well as public transport improvements to link with Ridgmont train station and surrounding settlements.

“The proposal could include the following services and amenities: shops; cafes/restaurants; community facilities; leisure facilities; drinking establishments; a Health and Social Care Hub; preschool/nursery/early years facilities; enlarging existing schools and providing new schools as required.

“Employment opportunities will be available through a new high-tech business park which may include research and development; office; distribution; manufacturing; service and tourism, in addition to the employment opportunities provided by local infrastructure such as schools, shops and healthcare facilities.”

The draft plan is now going out to consultation with a public exhibition at Marston Sports Pavilion on July 11 from 2-8pm.

For more information on the plan go to http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/local-plan/local-plan.aspx