Controversial plan for 165 new homes in Ravensden, near Bedford, set to be finally decided on Monday

A controversial plan to build up to 165 new homes in a north Bedfordshire village is set to be decided one way or another next week.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 6:15 pm

At their meeting on November 25, members of Bedford Borough Council’s planning committee deferred their decision for a visit to assess the potential impact on Ravensden’s roads.

Now, the plan by Rosconn Strategic Land, which includes adding to the next door country park, is back on the agenda for Monday’s committee.

Council officers are recommending that permission be granted for the three arable fields on about 18 hectares of land at Graze Hill, subject to a range of conditions.

The site lies close to Bedford's northern edge

These conditions include archaeological investigations as there have been historic finds nearby.

Homes would be built on 5.46 hectares, with a 9.40 hectare extension to the country park, among 11.58 hectares of so-called green infrastructure.

Although 54 objections to the plan were lodged with the borough, Ravensden Parish Council and others did not object to the principle of development.

Their objections centre on an increase in the number of homes from 100 originally proposed for the site, and the impact of rat-running and lots more rush hour traffic on the B660 close to Bedford’s northern edge.

A proposed lit up new roundabout would also be bad for the area’s rural character, the council’s report reads.

Council officers say the land has been identified as a housing site in the new local plan, which they understand to be just months away from adoption.

And, even though housing is proposed for 1.76 hectares more of the site than they may wish it does not provide strong enough grounds for throwing it out.

This is because, until the local plan is formally approved, the council cannot prove it has a five year supply of land for housing.

And they advise that in these legally required circumstances, decisions have to be tilted in favour of developments.

As there has already been a debate on the application in November the item will involve a report back from those who visited the site on December 9, and a decision based on its findings.

> A separate application to demolish existing buildings and build up to 80 homes on land east of Luton Road, Wilstead, has been recommended by officers for refusal.

The planning committee will meet to consider both these and other items at Borough Hall in Cauldwell Street on Monday, December 16, from 6.30pm. It is a meeting held in public.