**Local Plan UPDATE**

 

Message sent on behalf of Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business

 

Dear Chairman / Clerk

Central Bedfordshire Local Plan - Regulation 22: Submission of documents and information to the Secretary of State

 

I’m writing to inform you that the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan was submitted to government on 30 April 2018 and will now be subject to an independent examination by a Planning Inspector.

 

The examination is likely to include a series of hearings on what the Inspector deems to be critical issues affecting the Plan. Respondents who have made representations, proposing changes to the Plan in order to make it sound and legally-compliant, may be invited to participate in a hearing. The selected respondents will be contacted by the Programme Officer once the hearing timetable has been finalised.

 

During the examination period, the submission and examination material will be available to be inspected by the public.

 

What documents will be available and how can they be accessed?

 

The Regulation 22 Submission Statement of Availability outlines the submission documents available, where you can find them and any relevant opening times. All electronic documents and hard copy materials will be made available by 11th May 2018.

 

You will be able to download these documents at: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplan

 

A printed copy of the submission materials will also be available to view at the Council Offices at Priory House, Chicksands and the Local Plan will be at libraries around the authority area.

 

What happens next?

 

The examination of the Plan will begin with initial checks to make sure it meets regulatory requirements. After this stage, the hearing timetable will be finalised and published and any participants requested by the Inspector will be contacted.

 

The assigned Programme Officer will also be contacting all those who responded to the Regulation 19 Consultation, from January to February 2018, providing further detail on the examination process.

 

If you have any questions on the content of this email please call 0300 300 4353 or email localplan@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

Jason Longhurst

Director of Regeneration and Business

 

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In response to the last public meeting on 12th Feb 2018, a traffic survey was carried out on the A5120 between the camera and the delimit sign towards the M1.  The purpose was to understand and quantify the volume of traffic flowing in/out the village. 

 

A summary of the results are provided below:

  • Over an average 5 day period (24 hours), c.17,000 vehicles passed through the village
  • Over an average 7 day period (24 hours), c.15,000 vehicles passed through the village.

Please see link below for detailed results:

Traffic Survey

 

We are awaiting further information from CBC before we can review what action, if any, is required. 

 

If you have any further questions, please contact the clerk on parish_clerk_westoning@outlook.com

Keep up to date with all Local Plan news on the Central Bedfordshire website http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/local-plan/news-consult.aspx

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 LETTER TO CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE COUNCIL SENT 20 FEBRUARY 2018

 

 

19 February 2018

 

 

 

The Local Plan Team

 

Central Bedfordshire Council

 

Priory House

 

Monks Walk

 

Chicksands

 

Shefford

 

SG17 5TQ

 

 

 

Dear Sirs

 

 

 

Local Plan Consultation Process

 

 

 

Please accept this submission as the response of Westoning Parish Council to the Consultation Draft of the Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan published on 11 January 2018.

 

 

 

Westoning Parish Council (WPC) is aware that 2 sites have been identified for possible residential development on Green Belt land in the village of Westoning through the Local Plan process. HAS51 lies to the North of the village and is scheduled to accommodate 135 dwellings. HAS52 lies to the South of the village and is scheduled to accommodate 85 dwellings.

 

 

 

WPC is opposed to any new major residential housing development being located within the village, but if under the Local Plan this is deemed to be the case it does question the proposal

 

to allocate two sites in the village with an aggregate of 220 dwellings which would result in an increase of some 25% on the current number of dwellings.

 

 

 

The Local Plan defines 24 villages within Central Bedfordshire as being ‘Large Villages’, Westoning is one of these. No other Large Village within the Green Belt is scheduled to accommodate more than 141 dwellings, the average excluding Westoning being 33. Even outside the Green Belt only one Large Village, Houghton Conquest, is scheduled to accommodate more than Westoning but that development is a southern extension of the Wixams, distant from the village core. Excluding Houghton Conquest and Westoning, the average number of dwellings the other 22 Large Villages are scheduled to accommodate is 37. We believe the 220 dwellings scheduled for Westoning is totally disproportionate. We contend that this is not the ‘small-scale housing’ deemed appropriate for Large Villages in policy SP7.

 

 

 

Westoning has received a considerable amount of development over the past 50 years, including developments at:

 

 

 

Home Farm Way, Manor Park Drive, Newlands Road, Campion Road, Richmond Road, Tythe Barn Close, Kent Close, The Pygtle, Bryson Close, Howe's Lane, Bell Close, Highfields, De Sanford Court, Lovett Green, and Westoning Manor.

 

 

 

The cumulative effect of these developments has increased the number of dwellings in the parish by over 40% but, despite this considerable level of expansion, the new dwellings have been successfully absorbed and integrated into the community. WPC believes that this integration has been greatly facilitated by the fact that none of the individual developments exceeding 51 dwellings and none of the developments, with the exception of Lovett Green, being distant from or unconnected with the existing core of the village. The successful assimilation and integration of an additional 220 dwellings on sites that are on the perimeter of the village will be much more difficult to achieve.

 

 

 

WPC is concerned that the village of Westoning does not have the facilities or capacity to absorb any large scale developments and requests that the following issues are taken fully into consideration when site allocations and planning applications in Westoning are considered.

 

 

 

  • Westoning Lower School occupies a landlocked site and therefore has no opportunity for further expansion or extension. The school has inadequate outside play areas and has to make use of part of the adjacent Recreation Ground which is accessible by the public, constituting a potential risk to pupil safeguarding. Although Westoning Lower School has operated with a number of pupil vacancies in recent years, the school has enhanced its overall provision on the same site by taking over and running the village Pre-School. To safeguard Westoning Lower School as a sustainable centre of education for the village, a new school on a new site should be planned with the potential capacity to offer education for pupils 2 – 11 years.
  • Westoning Village Hall is the only community meeting place in the village, is over 170 years old, small, inflexible, costly to maintain and is in need of refurbishment. The charity that operates the village hall has considered the cost benefit analysis of a major re-furbishment of the current building versus a new build on another site. It is requested that a ‘significant contribution’ is made through Section 106 to the cost of the ‘full refurbishment costs of the existing village hall.
  • Westoning has a shortfall of outdoor playing fields. The village has an active football section but youth football is limited by lack of sufficient playing pitches.
  • Westoning is bisected by the A5120 which has some 20,000 vehicle movements each day. Developments in Ampthill, Flitwick and the Wixams are likely to increase traffic volumes through the village unless traffic management measures are implemented to reduce the impact of additional housing as a temporary measure, while representations need to be made to Central Government for the inclusion of a new road to bypass Flitwick and Westoning within the next 10 years.
  • The village burial ground has fewer than 10 burial plots remaining and the Parish Council has been actively searching for a suitable site for a new burial ground for over 10 years. The provision of a new burial ground in an accessible location in the village is now urgent.

 

 

 

If Westoning is required to accommodate a significant number of new dwellings through the Local Plan process, WPC would like to ensure that the following community benefits are included as a condition of including either or both sites as allocation sites.

 

 

 

  1. That any future development is located on a site that is well connected to the village to limit the need for car journeys to the school, sports and recreation facilities, village hall, village shops and pubs and to facilitate easier integration of the new residents into the community.
  2. Any new development should include access to and from the A5120 in such a way as to avoid queuing or interruption to the smooth flow of traffic through the village.
  3. That any future development does not exceed 80 dwellings.
  4. That any future development contains a good mix of housing, including some affordable housing and, if possible, some single storey and assisted living dwellings for the elderly.
  5. That the needs of the village in respect of a new burial ground, 2 junior football pitches and associated parking and that a significant contribution is made through Section 106 to the cost of the ‘full refurbishment’ costs of the existing village hall are included and made conditional on the selection of any site or sites as allocated development site(s).
  6. That traffic management measures are implemented so that Westoning residents in all parts of the village can gain access to and from the A5120 easily and safely, particularly during peak times, until a longer term solution to traffic flow through the village can be provided through the provision of a by-pass.
  7. That any decision takes account of any wildlife habitat that may be affected by such development.

 

 

 

The impact on traffic volumes through the village is a major concern for many residents. While a simplistic view might suggest that a site to the south of the village would allow traffic from the site to access J 12 without passing through the village, there are many factors that would tend to draw traffic north, including employment areas in Flitwick and Bedford, the supermarkets of Tesco and Waitrose, Flitwick mainline rail station, Westoning Lower School, village shops and the newly constructed Flitwick Leisure Centre. When taken together, the draw factors for north bound traffic probably cancel out any advantages of a site to the south of the village.

 

 

 

Bearing all the above matters in mind, should Westoning be required to accommodate additional housing through the local plan process, WPC would hope that any new housing in the village would be located on a site that has the greatest potential to meet all the needs and requirements of the village. Any proposal that did not include those provisions would be vigorously opposed.

 

 

 

WPC held a public meeting on 25 January 2017 to discuss potential growth in the village and to seek the views of the residents of the Parish. That meeting was attended by over 130 residents. Following the publication of the Consultation Draft of the Local Plan, WPC held another public meeting on 12 February 2018 which was attended by 92 residents. The position outlined in this submission reflects, and takes fully into account, the views expressed by parishioners at those meetings.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Barker

 

Clerk to the Council