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New housing development equivalent to twenty cities the size of the city of Cambridge proposed for Oxford – MK – Bedford - Cambridge Corridor.

Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:30


Environmental campaigners warn that completely unsustainable plans for one million new homes and infrastructure across a swathe of countryside along the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Bedford - Cambridge Corridor will lead to massive and unacceptable damage to the Bedfordshire countryside - concreting over huge areas of the county.

The proposals were published last week by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). They called for massive investment from government to create a "brain belt" from Oxford to Cambridge, enabling the development of 1 million homes across the corridor that includes Milton Keynes, Bedford, Luton and large areas of Bedfordshire's countryside.

This is equivalent to building twenty cities the size of Cambridge (50,000 homes).

It is estimated that development on this scale will increase the population across the corridor by +1.6million people (+25%) the majority of whom will be encouraged to move into the area from elsewhere in the UK.

The report proposes that some of this massive growth in housing will be concentrated in the Marston Vale between Milton Keynes, Aspley Guise and Bedford, focused around a few key rail nodes in the area. 

Major development of new towns around Bedford is also proposed, alongside new towns in and around the Sandy/Tempsford area and massive urban extensions along the A1 corridor.

In the report, Bedfordshire is treated in the plans as 'travel to work areas' – commuter dormitories for the great metropolises of Cambridge, Milton Keynes and London.

In his budget The Chancellor has agreed to these poorly thought through plans, pandering to developers and land owners. Local people are totally unaware of them and have never been consulted by their Local Authorities.

A spokesman for CPRE Bedfordshire said:

“We have been warning about this for the last year.

The Mayor of Bedford and the Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council have been pushing these unsustainable plans without informing or consulting with their residents.

There will not be a town or village, urban area or rural, across Bedfordshire that will not be adversely affected by these plans.

It simply does not make sense to pile all this development into the already overheated south east where house prices are already high for local people, infrastructure of all sorts road, rail, health services, schools, etc. are at breaking point, horrendous air pollution.

The proposed infrastructure improvements will not improve the lives of ordinary people when linked with this extreme level of housing development.

This is not about building the affordable homes so desperately needed by local people.

Already we’ve seen from the Local Plans being developed by Bedfordshire’s Local Authorities that around 60% of the houses planned are for people who will be encouraged to move into the area from elsewhere in the UK keeping house prices high.

What we need from government is a housing strategy linked to an industrial strategy the purpose of which is to distribute growth more equitably across the UK.

These plans will cause huge environmental harm to Bedfordshire and do nothing to encourage development where it is most needed in the UK.

They will only lead to the Quality of Life of the people of Bedfordshire being irreversibly damaged.


CPRE Bedfordshire urges concerned residents to write to their MP’s and district councillors voicing their concerns.”

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