Colworth Garden Village was a key allocation in the published plan. The proposed scheme would deliver 4,500 dwellings (2,500 before 2035) and new high quality employment land along with a parkway rail station and community facilities. The station would serve the local existing and new community, the extended Colworth Business Park as well as intercept traffic on the A6 heading for Bedford Midland Station. However the scheme relied on joint working between Wrenbridge (the site promoter) and the operator of Santa Pod Raceway to resolve concerns about noise. Despite ongoing negotiations it has not been possible to reach agreement about noise mitigation works on the Santa Pod site and without these a satisfactory noise environment is unlikely to be achievable. The operator of Santa Pod Raceway has objected to the plan on that basis and there is no sign that an agreement will be forthcoming in the foreseeable future
For that reason the plan as it stands is not ready to be examined. The Council must believe the plan to be ‘sound’ when it is submitted for examination and, as the garden village proposal is unlikely to be deliverable, this is not the case at the present time. This will be explained in a report to be considered by the Council’s Executive on May 16th. The purpose of the report is to explain that other options for meeting the required number of dwellings now need to be considered, the plan amended and a further period of consultation held before the process can move forward. The meeting on May 16th will not agree how the plan should be changed; more work is needed before that decision can be made. The papers can be viewed on the Council and Democracy part of the Council’s web site.
Bedford Borough Council have emailed Town & Parish Councils explaining that their Local Plan 2035 which has just finished its final public consultation is to be put on hold because the proposed New Town of at least 4,500 new homes (bigger than Ampthill) at Sharnbrook /Colworth will not be able to be developed due, the council say, to noise issues from the nearby Santa Pod Raceway.
Susan Walls, Branch Manager for CPRE Bedfordshire said:
“This is a great success for CPRE Bedfordshire – together with the campaign group Keep North Beds Green, local residents from Souldrop, Sharnbrook and the villages of north Bedfordshire, we have fought against the proposed Sharnbrook/Souldrop New Town which would have been built on beautiful open countryside.
We have always believed that this was a seriously flawed proposal which would have had a massive impact on Souldrop, Sharnbrook and the villages of North Bedfordshire.
There is a note of caution however – this is not the end of the battle – there is still an outside chance that the New Town may go forward and we remain very concerned about any potential alternative sites that BBC may choose to develop.”
She went on to say:
“The overall housing numbers proposed in the Local Plan are far too high – FOI requests have established that the housing needs of all the people of Bedford Borough can be met with just 50% of the number of homes proposed by BBC – the remainder are for people that will be encouraged to move into Bedford Borough from elsewhere in the UK destroying our countryside and urban green spaces.”
You can read the full text of the BBC email below.
It was an excellent site as well next to a railway station and the former Unilver Research Station. Its a Pyrrhic victory for the CPRE as it means inevitably 4,500 extra houses at Bedford and the Marston Vale. Ive long suggested the former Northampton Bedford rail line be developed as a BRT to facilitate growth South EEast of Northampton and North West of Bedford. This corridor is lacking any kind of vission being located off teh main spine of the Cam-MK_ox corridor.