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Mayor Dave Hodgson Reverses Council Plans for Greenfield Developments

April 15, 2010 10:00 AM
Cllrs Wendy Rider and Charles Royden with Mayor Dave Hodgson (left) at Jackman's Farm

Mayor Dave Hodgson, pictured here at Jackman's Farm with Brickhill Ward Councillors Wendy Rider and Charles Royden, has halted a series of Bedford Borough Council plans for developments on greenfield sites

Mayor Dave Hodgson has reversed Council proposals, submitted back in 2008, for housing and commercial developments on a range of green spaces across Bedford Borough. The move means that important green spaces including the Bedford Athletic Rugby Ground on Wentworth Drive, Mile Road Allotments, Berry Farm in Wootton and Jackman's Farm in Brickhill have been saved from development.

Mayor Hodgson and the Liberal Democrats campaigned against the plans for vital greenfield sites owned by the Council to be developed at the time of their submission into the planning policy-making process in August 2008. They were successful in forcing the removal of plans to build housing over Mowsbury Golf Course, and now the Mayor has moved to withdraw proposals for developments at other important public spaces, ensuring they will not included in the land identified for development in Bedford Borough up to 2021.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Along with Liberal Democrat colleagues, I campaigned against the Council's utterly unsuitable proposals for development over vital green spaces and important leisure sites. I am delighted to formally withdraw those proposals, meaning that sites such as Mile Road Allotments, Bedford Athletic Rugby Ground on Wentworth Drive and Jackman's Farm in Brickhill will not have houses built over them.'

"Of course, as Mayor, I am very keenly aware that the land the Council owns is a vital asset. However, it isn't just an asset in terms of the money that can be raised through selling it, it's an asset to the community for the leisure and recreation it provides. If these important leisure sites and green spaces were built over, continuing urban sprawl would result and the quality of life of local residents will suffer. In my election campaign I pledged to work to make Bedford a great place to live, work and do business, and protecting vital green spaces within local communities is a key part of that."

The Council put forward the plans for housing and commercial development on land in its ownership in August 2008 following an invitation to all landowners across the borough to propose sites to be allocated for development between now and 2021. A Liberal Democrat campaign at the time was successful in forcing the withdrawal of plans for Mowsbury Golf Course to be built over, and now Mayor Dave Hodgson has removed a range of sites unsuitable for development.