Consultation on Central Beds draft Local Plan branded a ‘farce’

Marston Vale
Marston Vale

Residents at Central Beds Council’s first airing of its draft local plan have branded the exercise a ‘farce’.

The much-vaunted public consultation failed to reveal exactly where up to 5,000 homes in four new villages could go in Marston Vale – despite residents affected being expected to give their views on the plans before the pre submission plan is published next year.

The first drop-in session was held at Marston Sports Centre in the village on Tuesday with council 
officials answering questions about the proposals.

But residents were unimpressed,saying the answers did not address their concerns about increased traffic, the heightened pressure on the current infrastructure, claims that public transport would adapt to cater for the extra residents, and fears that the ‘villages’ would merge into one massive conurbation across Brogborough, Lidlington and Marston Moretaine.

“It was an absolute farce,” said one resident.

“How are we expected to comment without appearing to be NIMBYs, without a single fact in the whole consultation.

“What we all wanted to know was where these four villages were going, and no-one would or could tell us.”

The plans for Marston Vale include three villages near Aspley Guise of around 3,000 homes and employment land and four villages in Marston Vale between the A421 and the Bedford to Bletchley rail line, plus 40hectares of employment land.

There is also the possibility of a Bedford to Milton Keynes canal going through the area along with the East-West Rail using the Bletchey line.

After the meeting residents took to social media to describe it as a PR exercise.

One objector said: “It seemed full of propaganda. I spoke to the chief planning officer and it was a waste of time. They’ve not actually got any plans to show anyone or suggest quantity locally.”

The next drop-in session will be held in Biggleswade on July 20.

Residents have until August 29, 2017 to submit their comments to the council.