BBC’s Local Plan 2040 FAQs begin to address the OxCam question
Bedford Borough Council (BBC) has recently updated the information on the Local Plan 2040 section of their website in response to questions raised by CPRE Bedfordshire, local residents and other groups about the impact of OxCam on the Local Plan.
We reproduce the two questions and answers here in full:
What about the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and East West Rail?
Whilst there remain many uncertainties about planning for our borough area as a result of the emerging Oxford to Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework, the selection of a route for East West Rail following their recent consultation and indeed the timing of the introduction of a new national planning system following consultation by government on the ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper, the progression of this local plan will enable the Council and local communities to maintain control over the selection of locations for growth.
Could the number of dwellings required to be allocated increase when the Oxford to Cambridge Arc plans are finalised?
Councils in the Arc may reach agreement on how growth is distributed across the area. This may result in the number of new dwellings to be allocated in any given authority being different to the number reached by applying the standard methodology. Discussions about an Arc Framework are ongoing.
The CPRE Bedfordshire view
These responses seem to leave Bedford Borough residents with more questions than answers about the implications of OxCam for Bedford.
BBC say that the emerging Oxford to Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework and the selection of a route for East West Rail create many uncertainties about planning for the area. However, the Council are members of the Arc Leadership Group which has been established to steer and guide the Arc collaboration effort with the Government.
CPRE Bedfordshire would like to see greater clarity so that BBC can engage with local people through meaningful consultation, helping them to steer OxCam in a direction that is informed by the views of local people.
Read more – housing numbers
CPRE Bedfordshire has already called on BBC to challenge the government on the excessive numbers for additional housing growth put forward in the draft Local Plan 2040, derived from the governments housing needs formula, which is based on out of date data from the Office of National Statistics.
Read more – what does the OxCam expert advisory panel mean for the Bedford Borough Local Plan 2040 consultation?
In September CPRE Bedfordshire reported on the creation of an ‘Expert Panel’ set up to advise the Housing Minister on development opportunities in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.