Woe for Marston Vale, joy for Aspley Guise in local housing plan

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There are winners and losers in the latest edition of Central Beds Council’s local plan.

Marston Vale has still been allocated 5,000 homes, in four villages, but planned villages around Aspley Guise have been put on hold.

The latest plan provides for up to 20,000 new homes and 24,000 jobs. Thousands of people took part in the consultation last year.

The pre-submission document was published on Wednesday, it goes before the council’s Executive committee next Tuesday.

In Marston Vale up to 5,000 new homes, community facilities and services, plus a minimum of 40 hectares of employment land are planned in two villages north of Lidlington and east of Brogborough, bounded by the new A421 and the Marston Vale railway line.

The proposed villages would deliver part of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park and a waterway linking Brogborough and Stewartby lakes. This would bring opportunities for leisure, tourism and wildlife says the latest report. The proposals include green open space within the new villages and tree planting for the Forest of Marston Vale.

The villages will include land provided for a health and social care hub with a financial contribution towards providing the facility, and community centres, a mix of retail and at least one drinking establishment “to serve the existing and new communities’ everyday needs”.

There will also be day nurseries, early years, lower, middle, upper school and sixth form facilities as well as indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilties.

There will be improvements at J13 of the M1 and the Marsh Leys roundabout, public transport routes through the development that link with key destinations including Ridgmont Train Station and employment areas improvements at Ridgmont Railway Station, including public transport interchange facilities and car parking, pedestrian and cycle links from the new and existing villages, country parks, a waterway connecting Brogborough and Stewartby Lakes, a cycleway from Stewartby Lake to Ridgmont Railway Station which will include appropriately designed crossings over the waterway and 30% tree cover across the villages.

The actual build will be phased and building is likely to take many years. The timing will be aligned with the supporting infrastructure and community facilities.

A council spokesman said: “We will continue to engage with central government to seek improvements to the A421 to support growth. The proposed East-West Railway and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway will also benefit this development.

The Local Plan also includes a site in Marston Moretaine for 63 new homes.

There are also small and medium allocations, including 37 homes on land off Meadow View in Aspley Guise, 63 in Cranfield, 251 on two sites in Flitwick, 30 in Haynes, a 650 home extension to the Wixams site, more than 105 homes on sites in Maulden, and 220 homes on two sites in Westoning.

A spokesman for Central Beds Council said: “Our aim is to deliver the growth in a way that respects and maintains the character of Central Bedfordshire, and delivers infrastructure and services to support it.

“Alongside the growth, we will plan for jobs, services, transport infrastructure and enhancing access to the countryside. The number of homes we need to plan for is calculated using a standard national approach.

“The government recently consulted on changes to this approach that, if implemented in March 2018, would see an increase in the number of homes we need to deliver in Central Bedfordshire.

“We are planning for up to 20,000 homes. In the draft Local Plan that we consulted on last summer we were proposing between 20,000 – 30,000 new homes.

“We know from the feedback that there was a lot of concern about delivering the higher end of this range.

“We believe we can deliver up to 20,000 new homes over the next 20 years and that this level of growth is sustainable.

“This is in addition to the approximately 23,000 homes that are already allocated or have planning permission.”

“In the draft Local Plan that we consulted on last summer we also proposed more new villages in Biggleswade, new villages at Aspley Guise, a new market town in Tempsford, and expanding Luton to the west. These are not included in this Local Plan.

“We believe these locations do have potential for growth but, as we said in the previous consultation, they are dependent on critical infrastructure (e.g. East-West Rail) to support them and you agreed with us in your feedback.

“They are however shown in the Local Plan as Identified Locations for Future Growth, which means that we will look at them further as part of any review of this Local Plan.”

If approved by the Executive on Tuesday and then full council on Wednesday, the document will go out for further public consultation from January 11.