Massive plans for Marston Vale are revealed

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The waiting is finally over for villagers in Lidlington anxious to discover where 5,000 homes will be built in the area

Days after more than 200 people turned up to a community event encouraging villagers to make sure they comment on the massive scheme, developers O&H Properties have revealed their plans.

Called Marston Valley, the proposals are for up to 5,000 homes and a new business park. It could also deliver a new waterway park connecting existing lakes, new woodland planting and large areas of green space while respecting the identity of neighbouring villages as separate entities, says O&H.

New jobs, new schools, leisure facilities, better public transport and more health facilities all feature in the plans.

The plans include:

> Lower Boughton, a village south of Brogborough Lake

> Brogborough Lakeside - a waterside leisure destination with a possible hotel including the potential for a waterside pub or café.

> Escheat - between Brogborough and Stewartby Lakes with a network of waterways that will be created to permeate through the village, opening up access and views to the water for many.

As the largest village within Marston Valley, Escheat will include the greatest mix of uses including leisure facilities and shops, and a lower, middle and upper school campus.

> South West Marston Moretaine, an extension to the village of Marston

> Lower Millbrook, adjacent to the Millennium Country Park. The village will benefit from new local facilities including a lower school. Incorporating the tranquil Lidlington Lake and Millbrook Park, the natural characteristics of this area will provide a more rural setting with the potential for lower density, lakeside living with opportunities for contemporary architecture and self-build homes.

It is proposed that the existing Marston Club and its associated open space will be enhanced and extended to provide additional sports pitches.

Residents and businesses in the Marston Vale are being encouraged to take part in a community engagement programme over the next four weeks to give their views on long-term development in the area.

O&H Properties Ltd is running a comprehensive programme of engagement to understand and seek local residents’ ideas and suggestions for developing a series of new villages within the Marston Vale over the next 20 years.

Pippa Cheetham, Head of Planning for O&H Properties, said: “Our vision is to create an exceptional living environment in the Vale where people will be proud to live and work, and will want to visit. Our scheme will promote healthy lifestyles with an emphasis on footpaths and cycle routes, and can provide housing to meet wide-ranging community needs.

“Marston Valley is about taking a strategic, long-term approach to planning for the wider needs of the area, not just building houses.

“But selling the land for up to 5,000 homes over the next 20 years not only provides much-needed homes for an expanding population, but also provides funding to pay for new facilities and strategic improvements in the Marston Vale which couldn’t otherwise be considered.

“Delivering Marston Valley as a comprehensive development is crucial to secure significant investment in infrastructure. Smaller scale or piecemeal development does not provide the same level of coordinated infrastructure. That’s why we need to have a bold vision for the future of the Vale.”

One of the potential examples of this investment is a new stretch of navigable waterway linking Brogborough and Stewartby Lakes as part of B&MK Waterway Trust’s plans to link the Grand Union Canal and the River Great Ouse. The waterway would bring significant opportunities for leisure, tourism and wildlife. It is also an integral part of the site’s sustainable drainage network, so is seen as a vital component of the Marston Valley infrastructure. It would be the first new English waterway in over 100 years.

The Marston Valley site has a draft allocation in Central Bedfordshire Council’s emerging Local Plan which is currently being consulted on.

O&H has launched a website with details of the current ideas and a questionnaire.

In addition to O&H’s planned meetings with councillors, Parish Councils, local action groups and other community groups, it is also holding four public exhibitions for local people, to encourage them to offer their thoughts on the future of the area and O&H’s emerging proposals.

The exhibitions are taking place at:

Marston Moretaine Sports Pavilion on Monday 19 February from 2.30pm to 8.30pm

Lidlington Village Hall on Friday 23 February from 2.30pm to 8.30pm

Brogborough Village Hall on Monday 26 February from 2.30pm to 8.30pm

Millbrook Village Hall on Wednesday 28 February from 2.30pm to 8.30pm

Pippa Cheetham said: “This phase of engagement is designed to allow local people to discuss our proposals, and to provide ideas, comment and feedback on the long-term needs of the area. It should also provide a greater understanding of what’s planned in the Vale following the Council’s Local Plan consultation.

“We are keen to capture local people’s views on a wide range of issues as part of the first stage of our ongoing engagement process.”

The opportunity to comment on the Marston Valley plans will run until Friday 2 March, with ongoing engagement with the local community continuing over the longer term.

CBC’s consultation on its Pre-Submission Local Plan ends on February 22.