New housing will be equivalent of ‘five Ampthills’

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New figures released by countryside campaigners have revealed that more than 40 per cent of the new homes planned by the council are for people moving to the area from elsewhere.

CPRE Bedfordshire, the local branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England, has revealed that more than two-fifths of the 19,000 planned new homes that Bedford Borough Council claims it needs, are for incomers to Bedford Borough .

The borough council’s draft Local Plan 2035, currently out for consultation, states that it needs to build thousands of new homes over the period 2015 to 2035 – equivalent to building five new towns the size of Ampthill in the borough.

Plans include huge increases to villages such as Sharnbrook, Great Barford and Wilstead plus the creation of massive new towns in the north Bedfordshire countryside.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said: “The 19,000 new homes that are needed take account of population changes in accordance with the government’s requirements and there is already sufficient land for employment identified to provide the 11,400 jobs alongside these new homes.”

However a CPRE Bedfordshire spokesman added: “We accept that new homes need to be planned for those moving into the area, but 40 per cent is simply unsustainable.

“These numbers will turn north Bedfordshire into a series of commuter towns, and the local road and rail infrastructure is already struggling to cope at peak times.

“This over-development of the countryside is unsustainable and not fair on the people of Bedford Borough.”