Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan torn apart by Examination Inspectors

24th February 2020

Following Freedom of Information requests by CPRE Bedfordshire, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has now released the formal letter written to them on the 30th September by Inspectors examining their Local Plan 2035.

CPRE Bedfordshire was obliged to submit FOI requests because CBC had refused to release the letter to the public.

The highly critical letter (which can be downloaded here) which was written to the Council following the Public Hearings into CBC’s Local Plan 2035 was finally released by the Council in an email to stakeholders dated 14 October.

A CPRE spokesperson said:

“We have many years of experience working within the planning system and we have never seen an Inspectors formal letter which is so damming in its criticism of a Local Plan and the way in which it has been constructed.

Many key policies of the Local Plan have been rejected out of hand and others have been so heavily criticised that they will have to be completely reconsidered.

The Inspectors just fall short of rejecting the Local Plan completely and have ordered CBC to undertake what is effectively a wholesale review.”


'The areas of the Local Plan that the Inspectors have criticised are precisely those which CPRE Bedfordshire has highlighted from the very outset '
CPRE Bedfordshire


Key criticisms:

  1. Unsustainable development within the Green Belt
  2. The A6-M1 Link Road that will slice through the Bedfordshire Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  3. Very large scale housing developments proposed (new towns) without any detailed analysis of the impact on infrastructure or evidence of need
  4. A proposed review of the Local Plan which would have increased housing numbers by a further +20,000 homes

The list goes on, with over 16 different areas of serious concern noted.


CBC’s response to the Inspectors letter can be downloaded here.

CBC do not currently have a Local Plan and so the fact that this one has now been significantly delayed until at the earliest, June 2020 is very bad news indeed for the people of Central Bedfordshire.

Developers will now have a field day rampaging around Central Bedfordshire in search of potential areas for development and local communities will be unable to defend themselves against them.

CBC now has a history of failure when it comes to getting Local Plans approved and it raises the question – is this a deliberate policy?


(This article was originally published in November 2019)

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