New flats at Aspects could mean traffic chaos for Bedford

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Plans for 128 new flats at Aspects Leisure Centre could lead to major traffic chaos on the edge of town, it is claimed.

The proposals, which have been submitted to Bedford Borough Council, would 
see four new blocks of flats built, along with an upgrade 
to the existing leisure park buildings, and two new restaurants.

But Cllr Lucy Bywater is concerned by the sheer number of new homes, the impact on the environment, and traffic.

The Green councillor, who represents Castle ward, told the T&C the site had the potential for something “imaginative and fantastic” – but this was not it.

She added: “It would be a nice place for a sensible development – but this is too much.

“Even at the moment, with people driving in and out for the cinema and takeaways, the road can be chockablock.

“Personally I thought that the design of the flats was out of proportion.

“And I’m not fond of the idea of more takeaways – we already have McDonald’s there and people leave so much litter.”

Cllr Bywater said she was not opposed to new housing in principle, and this had the advantage of not building on greenbelt land.

Aspects Leisure Park has been the subject of numerous planning applications over the last 20 years which have either been rejected or been granted permission-only to then not take place.

As a result the site has been seen as something of a white elephant on the edge of town, although it 
continues to host a cinema, gym, bingo hall, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut.

Fellow councillor Hilde Hendrickx (Lib Dem, 
Newnham), said that developers needed to win over
 residents’ “hearts and minds” – but so far, they had failed to do so.

She pointed to the public consultation earlier this year which many residents had not been aware of, and added that there needed to be work on access to the site, not just for cars but for bikes and public transport.

Developer Kennedy 
Wilson Asset Management was unavailable for comment.