Plans for 99 homes on greenbelt release site in Westoning approved

But the applicant was told to produce a "special development" for the site
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An applicant has been advised to return with “a special development” for up to 99 homes on land being released from the greenbelt in Westoning.

Connolly Homes submitted outline plans to Central Bedfordshire Council for the housing on a 12-acre site at Westview Farm in Park Road, with 30 per cent affordable and 10 per cent self-build.

The area “was allocated for about 85 homes through the adopted Central Bedfordshire Local Plan”, senior planning officer Lauren Rance told the local authority’s development management committee.

The approximate site location.The approximate site location.
The approximate site location.

“We’ve looked at reducing the number of homes, but there’d still be a 22 per cent biodiversity loss overall,” she explained.

“There are wildlife conditions attached to this scheme for great crested newts, bats, lizards and hedgehogs.

“The homes are set back from the boundary with the railway line east of the site, with access taken from Park Road.”

Ronald Stanbridge, whose home overlooks the site, asked: “What’s changed? They tried to build here before, but it was refused because of the access.”

Westoning Parish Council’s objections included overdevelopment, a lack of open space and high density, a lack of parking, limited bus services and access issues on to the A5120.

It also wants a footpath to Westoning Lower School, and the urgent development of a sustainable transport and cycle path from Westoning to Harlington, which CBC could be providing.

In a statement, Conservative Westoning, Flitton and Greenfield councillor James Jamieson mentioned residents are unhappy about the housing close to properties in Spensley Road.

“Westoning is desperate for more cemetery land and I’m pleased this would make a contribution,” he said. “A potential site is between this area and the railway line, which the parish council is investigating.”

Tal Nikan for the agent Woods Hardwick Limited said: “About a quarter of this land is delivered as open space, above the requirement for this scale of project.

“It’s a high quality and sustainable development, which can accommodate 99 properties in compliance with the Local Plan.”

Woods Hardwick Limited director Richard Murdock added this is the first comment about the cemetery, which could be a subject for the full application.

CBC principal highways officer Kevin Archard said: “This meets relevant design standards with a 40mph buffer zone being created between the 30mph and the national speed limit section.”

Conservative Shefford councillor Tony Brown described the density with a minimum garden size as “a retrograde step”, warning: “As for the 14 extra houses above the original concept of 85, you could provide a larger amenity area. Once you start building this, there’s no going back.”

Independent Leighton Linslade West councillor Victoria Harvey said: “There are some good things, but I feel a real sense of disconnect.

“The council has a good sustainability plan. But this goes against our Local Plan policy, which requires a mode shift towards sustainable transport.”

Conservative Cranfield and Marston Moretaine councillor Sue Clark referred to the proposals as “greenbelt release, which requires special circumstances”, adding: “We’d like a more attractive special development, if this land is being released.”

Councillors approved the plans with seven votes in favour, one against and four abstentions.