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Council Attacked for 'Selling off the Family Silver' as Full Extent of Sites Planned for Development is Revealed - Please give us your views

August 31, 2008 4:54 PM

Bedford Borough Council is proposing to release vast areas of publicly-owned land across the borough for housing and commercial development. Following the news of controversial plans for housing developments on Mowsbury Park Golf Course and at Jackman's Farm, Brickhill, the Liberal Democrats have now revealed the full extent of the Council's proposals for new residential and commercial developments to appear at various sites across the Borough in both urban and rural areas.

The Council has put forward the plans following its own public invitation to landowners across the borough to propose sites to be allocated for development between now and 2021. The proposals include plans for at least 1,400 extra homes, despite the fact that there are already sufficient sites identified for the 16,000 new homes required for the borough over the next thirteen years. The proposed development sites include land currently used for a variety of public amenity and leisure uses including a rugby ground, fitness centre, a bingo hall, allotments and public parkland.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Dave Hodgson said: "The extent of the Borough Council's plans to sell off public spaces for development is truly shocking. Of course the land the Council holds is one of the Council's assets. However, it isn't just an asset in terms of the money that can be raised by selling it, it's an asset to the public for the leisure and recreation it provides. These proposals smack of selling off the family silver in a desperate dash for cash. If the plans are successful, valuable public land will be lost to unwanted and unnecessary developments. Urban sprawl will be the result and the quality of life of local residents will suffer.'

"There is no escaping the fact that this area will experience growth in the coming years, but there is no need for the council to be proposing more and more sites for development. More than enough sites are already allocated for the provision of the 16,000 new homes that are required to be built in Bedford Borough. Quite simply, there is no need for more and more land to be concreted over. "

Under the process under which the council has invited proposals for land to be allocated for development, private landowners have also submitted sites for consideration. A full list of these will be published by the council later in the year. These will be appraised, along with the council-proposed sites, according to the council's own criteria to determine whether they will appear in the council's Local Development Framework plans as sites to be developed by 2021.

The full list of sites proposed by the council, the type of developments proposed and the size of the site is as follows:

What do you think? Please email views@bedfordlibdems.org to give us your views on how the proposed developments will affect your local area.

- Mile Road Allotments (part thereof), Bedford - Employment or residential land (5.05 ha)

- Mowsbury Golf Course, Bedford - Residential (11.4 ha - 270 dwellings)

- Bedford Athletic Rugby Ground, Wentworth Drive, Bedford - Residential (6.69 ha - 160 dwellings)

- Land to North of Mowsbury Golf Course, Bedford - Leisure land (16.8 ha)

- Aspects Leisure Park, Bedford - Mixed use

- Cut Throat Lane, Bedford - Hotel/Office Site

- Manton Lane (land adjoining existing Manton Centre to north), Bedford - Employment land

- Freemans Common, Brickhill, Bedford - Residential (12.68 ha - 155 dwellings)

- Jackmans Farm (2 sites) , Brickhill, Bedford - Two Residential ((i): 2.22 ha - 55 dwellings and (ii): 5.85 ha - 12 dwellings on 3.67 ha))

- Melbourne Street Car Park, Bedford - Residential (0.56 ha - 23 dwellings)

- Windsor Road, Bedford - Mixed use land (0.8 ha - 28 flats plus 5,500 square foot retail)

- Cardington Road, Bedford - Hotel Site (1.74 ha)

- Meadow Lane, Bedford (adjacent to abattoir) - Employment land (3.81 ha)

- Berry Wood, Wootton (3 sites) - One employment land (10.4 ha), one residential (21.53 ha - 500 dwellings) and one mixed leisure use land (35.59 ha)

- Cranfield Road, Wootton - Residential (19.78 ha - 200 dwellings)

- Dog Farm, Cople - Leisure land and Travellers Transit Site (8.74 ha)

- Lodge Hill, Clapham - Leisure land (10.57 ha)

- Bunyans Mead, Elstow - Residential (0.46 ha - 15 dwellings)