Petition launched as developers eye up Bedford farmland for up to 1,100 new homes

A residents’ petition has been launched after developers approached the council for expert opinions on the impact 1,100 new homes near Shortstown would have on the local area.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 10:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 10:20 am

Proposals are being pieced together for a new settlement – including a primary school, childcare, a pub, and sports pitches – in an area known as College Farm, off Canberra Road.

A formal planning application has not yet been lodged and members of the public are currently excluded from officially responding.

But the Cotton End Residents Group has launched a petition on the council’s website against more development in the area.

Could this farmland near Shortstown be a development site (Google)

“The proposed development would massively overshadow our current surroundings at the north of Cotton End, and completely alter the desirability of the area, with its main feature being its rural setting,” says the group’s statement.

More than 240 people have signed the petition which runs until April 1 and calls on the council to stop the proposed development.

It has easily passed the 30 signature barrier that is needed to get the petition discussed at a meeting of the full council.

The petitioners are also worried that the development would close the green gap between Shortstown and Cotton End and have a “significant impact on Cotton End in terms of increased traffic and footfall, both in general and to the village Forest School.”

Planning agent Barton Willmore has applied to the council for a what is called an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Opinion on behalf of its client Gallagher Developments.

The site is identified as 67.75 hectares and is made up of large, open arable fields.

The agents have submitted their assessment of the impact the development would have on farmland, heritage, transport, human health and climate change among others.

The council is going through the process of getting responses from a range of experts before coming to its own opinion on the issues that the developers will need to mitigate as a part of any forthcoming official planning application.