Local Plan 2035
WCCPC's response to the BBC's Local Plan 2035 Consultation can be found under 'WCCP Files' in the 'Local Plan 2035' folder.
E-mail from Sonia Gallagher @ 24th February 2017
Executive approved the document for consultation on the Local Plan 2035 at its 22nd February meeting. This was subject to a very minor delay (only from 8th Feb to 22nd Feb – papers are published 7 days before hence you had 1st Feb in your mind) . The report can be viewed on the website here - http://www.councillorsupport.bedford.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=116&MId=4337&Ver=4
I am not clear about what or when you consider a delay has occurred. The local plan consultation is still proposed to take place in April / May 2017, as was published in the local development scheme (Appendix 5) in April 2016. This has not changed.
This consultation was always going to be about new settlement options and reconsidering the development strategy, as published in the Local Development Scheme (link above). It will however include a technical report which will include an initial site assessment of the four potential new settlements. There will only be certainty about which if any, of the new settlements is to be pursued when the local plan is adopted (following the Examination) currently programmed for Spring 2019.
Sonia Gallaher, Senior Planning and Transportation Officer
Planning Policy, Bedford Borough Council
((01234) 718570 (ext 47570) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail from Mayor Hodgson @ 22nd February 2017
Thank you for your letter following the call for sites process and the possibility of a new garden village at Wyboston. The council is in the process of preparing its local Plan 2035 and the steps in that process have been a matter of public record since the latest version of the Local Development Scheme was published. The timetable includes a consultation exercise in April and May this year to gauge public opinion on a draft development strategy that the council has identified in response to identified needs and known opportunities. Whilst I note that your council is unanimously opposed to the garden village proposal at Wyboston this consultation exercise will give you the opportunity to express and explain those views, along with local councils and the residents across the whole borough. It will also give you the opportunity to explain how a different way of achieving the necessary levels of growth could be considered.
Once we have received the responses to the consultation our officers will assess them and produce a draft plan for consideration by the council and a further round of consultation in February and March 2018. I do appreciate that the current situation imposes uncertainty for the local communities around the borough, both rural and urban, who find major development options being put forward close by. Nevertheless we are engaged in a process that must be kept transparent. At this stage it is not appropriate for the officers to be expressing any preference for one or more of the new settlement proposals until residents have had the opportunity to consider the strategy and have their say.
Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP
Tel 01234 718620
Notice from Gill Cowie, BBC Planning Policy @ 14th February 2017
The next stage of the preparation of the Local Plan 2035 is a public consultation to invite comments on the Council’s preferred development strategy, potential development sites and a number of updated background documents. Your responses to this consultation are important as they will help to shape the plan itself. No decisions have yet been made about the issues that are covered in this consultation paper.
Preliminary dates for the consultation are Tuesday 18 April to Friday 2 June 2017 but Members of the Council’s Executive must first agree that the consultation can go ahead. The matter will be considered at the Executive meeting on 22 February 2017 and the main reason for writing to you at this stage is to let you know that the Executive papers (including the draft consultation paper as an appendix) will be published today (Tues 14 February 2017) and will be available on the Council’s web site in the ‘Council and Democracy’ section. We will also put a link on the main planning policy web page www.bedford.gov.uk/localplan2035
With the exception of those that are already published (e.g. the Strategic Housing Market Assessment) background papers will become available when the consultation starts.
During the consultation we will be asking those local councils preparing neighbourhood plans to confirm their intentions when it comes to allocating development sites and designating Local Green Spaces. Hopefully this prior notification and early sight of the consultation paper will give sufficient time for this to be discussed locally. It is an important decision.
For those local councils who are not preparing neighbourhood plans or choose not to allocate sites we undertook to take on board your comments on the selection of development sites for your area. This consultation is the opportunity for you to tell us which sites you prefer and why. You will see that for the larger villages we have prepared some options for comment (though you may have others of your own you want to put forward) and for the smaller villages we have prepared a shortlist of potential development sites for you to comment on. Specific urban and edge of urban sites have also been identified for development and comments on them will be invited.
All consultation material will be available electronically on the Council’s web site and we would prefer those responding to use the on-line response facility or send responses by email. We will provide packs for local councils containing maps and information for local notice boards and parish offices as we have in the past. These will be available before the consultation starts.
You may also wish to put information in local or parish magazines to make people aware that the consultation is happening. If that’s the case and you would like another pair of eyes on what you have written then please let me know, we would be very happy to help.
We are currently considering the consultation arrangements to see if we can put in place more flexible options for people to raise queries with us during the consultation period. Drop-in sessions held previously have had mixed success with very low attendance at times. More information about the different ways that local councils and others can take part will be given at local council briefing sessions that will be organised in due course.
Gill Cowie, Service Manager (Planning Policy and Housing Strategy)
Notice from Paul Rowland - Assistant Director, BBC Planning @ 15/11/2016
Proposed new settlements - update
I am receiving regular questions about progress and I am writing to let you know the latest position regarding the assessment of the four new settlements that have been proposed to help meet the Borough Council’s future growth requirements.
The four locations - Lee Farm Sharnbrook; Thurleigh Airfield; Land at Twinwoods and Wyboston Garden Village, were submitted for consideration at the end of 2015. Since then the timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan 2035 has been amended to make time for additional information to be gathered and a first stage assessment of the proposals to be progressed. That work continues and as new information is provided by the site promoters it is being added to the Council’s web site so that local residents and other interested parties can view it. Direct links to the individual folders for the four sites are given on the Borough Council’s main Local Plan 2035 web page (www.bedford.gov.uk/localplan2035).
Meanwhile I am aware that some of the promoters are adding information to their own websites and may choose to begin discussing their proposals with stakeholders. We have no control over those decisions and the activities of the promoters are in no way a reflection of any decisions being made within the council.
A consultation in Spring 2017 will provide the opportunity for comments to be sent to the Council both on the principle of including a new settlement in the Local Plan and on the individual proposals themselves. At the present time no decision to include one or more of the new settlement options has been made. The plan’s development strategy will not be finalised until after the consultation has closed and comments have been evaluated. Only then will the Local Plan be drafted with a view to publishing a submission draft plan in early 2018. More detail about the plan’s timetable can be found in the Local Development Scheme.
Inevitably there is great interest and in some cases concern about the prospect of one or more new settlements being taken forward by the Council. As a result speculation about the proposals is inevitable but I hope this brief update clarifies that no preference for one or more of the new settlements will emerge from the council for some months. Their evaluation is still very much work in progress.
Paul Rowland, Assistant Director (Planning)