Action Group and CPRE Bedfordshire win battle of Harrold Lake in North Bedfordshire
Harrold Village Action group, supported by CPRE Bedfordshire, has won their battle to protect Harrold Lake, north of the village of Harrold from the development of over 90 new homes.
The new homes were proposed to be built in an unsustainable location on the edge of the Lake in a location which had previously been rejected by the Harrold Parish Council Neighbourhood Development Plan Group for such a large development.
The developer, Catesby Promotions Ltd., took their application to Appeal because Bedford Borough Council was too slow in reaching a decision on the application.
The applicant relied on the government’s now totally discredited “Transitional Arrangements” for Local Plans submitted for Examination prior to 31 December 2019, to suggest that Bedford Borough Council could not demonstrate a 5 year forward land supply for housing and that therefore the decision making balance should be tilted in favour of their application.
In recent months, many developers and landowners across Bedford Borough have been using this bizarre loophole in government planning legislation to win Planning Appeals.
The Action Group, which had strong support from the local community, worked hard to obtain the support of their local MP, Alistair Burt who spoke against the application at the Appeal Inquiry which took place during November.
Paul Jenkins who led on this application for CPRE Bedfordshire and also spoke against the Appeal at the Inquiry said:
“This Action Group demonstrated that “People Power” can win the day when well organised.
The Harrold Action Group encouraged many concerned local people to attend Day 1 of the Inquiry demonstrating to the Inspector the strength of local opposition to the application. Members of the Action Group were also present on each day of the Inquiry with a very strong presence again on the final day during the summing up from both sides”.
He went on:
“CPRE very much hope that government will take note of this decision and “People Power” and think again about the newly introduced “Standard Method” for determining new housing numbers which will result in Bedford Borough Council having to increase the housing in their new Local Plan 2030 by a massive and unsustainable +30%!”
The Appeal Reference is: APP/K0235/W/19/3234032
Note: This Lake is not at Harrold Country Park but one of slightly smaller size on the northern edge of the village and to the west of Odell Road, Harrold.