Thousands of Londoners will snap up new homes

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Bedford Borough is set to become home for thousands of London overspill, it has been claimed.

A group that campaigns to protect the countryside say projected housing figures are being driven by the need to build new homes for Londoners and not to create homes for local people.

Bedfordshire’s Campaign to Protect Rural England has calculated that around 40 per cent of the 17,367 new homes proposed to be built from now until 2032 is due to net ‘inward migration’.

A spokesman said: “These housing numbers are completely unsustainable.

“London, the GLA and other counties surrounding London are refusing to build affordable homes for its population and the result is that people are being driven out of the capital.

“If these plans go ahead Bedford Borough, and indeed Bedfordshire as a whole, will become a massive building site for London destroying our precious countryside.

“We are already building huge numbers of new homes such as the Wixams new town, the area to the west of Kempston, around Wootton and Bedford town itself.”

Bedford Borough Council is in the process of preparing its Local Plan, which will set out how the borough will grow and develop until 2032.

There are proposals for 900 new homes in Clapham, which will double its size, 500 more in Bromham and 500 in Great Barford.

CPRE Bedfordshire believes that one of the reasons the council is proposing such large numbers is to ensure that it continues to receive a high level of New Homes Bonus from the government.

In four years up to the end of the last financial year, Bedford Borough Council received £12.7m through the scheme. For the current financial year, a further £6.7m is allocated.

The spokesman said: “CPRE Bedfordshire recognises the need for new homes and we have been generally supportive of the council’s current Local Plan 2021 but there is no demonstrable need for any further homes.”

The borough council was unavailable to comment.