Benefits of 32-house plan for Maulden 'don't outweigh the harm' says report

“This would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the village,” warned parish council
And a report on plans to build 32 homes on land next to Clophill Road says the benefits “don’t outweigh the harm identified”.And a report on plans to build 32 homes on land next to Clophill Road says the benefits “don’t outweigh the harm identified”.
And a report on plans to build 32 homes on land next to Clophill Road says the benefits “don’t outweigh the harm identified”.

One of “the very few countryside gaps Maulden has left” should be protected at all costs, a meeting heard.

And a report on plans to build 32 homes on land next to Clophill Road says the benefits “don’t outweigh the harm identified”.

Applicant Aldbury Homes (Maulden) Limited’s plans are “awaiting validation by the planning inspectorate over an appeal for non-determination”, according to a report to Central Bedfordshire Council’s development management committee.

“This site is a 4.8-acre field located next to but beyond the defined settlement envelopes of Maulden,” said the report.

“It’s within the open countryside for development purposes, which would be contrary to CBC’s Local Plan, and within the mid-Greensand Ridge landscape character area.

“If the appeal is validated, the scheme will no longer be before the local authority for determination. The non-determination of a “major” application needs to be reported to the committee under the council’s constitution.

“The development would result in a significant and permanent harmful impact on the landscape, as well as the character, appearance and identity of the settlement ends of the village. CBC can identify a five-year housing land supply with appropriate buffer.”

The benefits of the project include affordable housing provision of 11 homes and three custom build properties, public open space, building jobs and increased trade for local businesses, added the report.

“These don’t outweigh the harm identified. CBC considers insufficient up-to-date information has been provided to show the proposal would have an acceptable impact on protected species, habitats and ecosystems, or provide a net gain in biodiversity.

“There’s also an absence of a legal agreement to secure the necessary obligations identified.”

Planning officer Ben Tracy explained the application “seeks to ratify and agree reasons for refusal”, which would be used at appeal if this is validated. “If the appeal isn’t validated, the plans can be refused under delegated authority.”

Maulden Parish Council raised several objections, while acknowledging the number of properties has reduced from 42 to 32.

“This would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the village,” it warned. “The site is outside the village settlement envelope.

“And it would go against the pattern of development around this location, which is an important countryside gap.

“It would also have a significantly harmful impact on the Greensand Ridge and views from there, which would urbanise this part of Clophill Road and interrupt the wider views and positive landscape features locally.”

The site was absent from the housing allocations in the CBC Local Plan 2015 to 2035.

Parish councillor Philip Allen said: “It’s not just any old green space, but one of the very few Maulden has left. This deserves absolute determination to protect it.”

Conservative Ampthill councillor Mike Blair described the countryside gap as “an important part of this”, and mentioned “the absence of any legal agreement and a lack of satisfactory foul sewage arrangements, as well as the planning history and this area’s treatment by inspectors”.

Conservative Ampthill councillor Paul Duckett added: “We’ve a five-and-a-half-year land supply. Maulden has achieved almost three times its Local Plan quota.”

Councillors unanimously backed the refusal recommendation to form the basis of the grounds CBC would defend at an appeal.