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Our letter to Bedford Mayor on local plan housing numbers

4th December 2023

CPRE Bedfordshire has written to the Mayor of Bedford, Tom Wootton regarding the Inspector’s post examination hearings advice on the Bedford Local Plan 2040.

The Inspector has reached the conclusion that due to the uncertainty regarding the delivery of required transport infrastructure, and the feasibility of the build out rates required to deliver the Plan, there is an overall shortfall of 2,000 homes that will need to be provided in a different way.

We believe that the Inspector’s suggestion that the Council should explore the potential of Key Service Centres (Bromham, Clapham, Sharnbrook and Great Barford) and Rural Service Centres to deliver additional housing to make up the shortfall, should be resisted at all costs. In defining the rationale for the spatial strategy for the 2040 Plan, the Council made a reasoned judgement that the development expectations placed upon rural communities in the 2030 Plan should not be added to within the lifetime of the 2040 Plan.

CPRE Bedfordshire believe it is important that the Mayor responds urgently to the Inspector’s advice, with support from local MPs, by prevailing upon the government to allow the housing growth target for the Plan to be revised and reduced. This is the only way of achieving a plan which can be delivered in an environmentally sustainable manner and better reflect the future needs of Bedford Borough and its residents.

You can read the letter from the Inspector in full: Inspector letter Bedford Local Plan 2040

You can read our letter in full: CPRE Bedfordshire letter to Mayor re post hearings advice LP 2040


Bedford Borough Council’s response

Bedford Borough Council have responded to the Inspector’s advice. You can read their letter here: BBC response to Inspectors letter_Dec 23

Having considered the response, CPRE Bedfordshire has written to the Mayor. The key issue we raised was:

It is of particular interest to us to note that in Gill Cowie’s reply of 8th December to the Inspector’s advice letter, Gill states that in regard to the work the Council intends to undertake with National Highways; ‘One outcome of this work might be that we ask you to consider the most up to date Standard Methodology figures, should the additional highway modelling work show this to be necessary.’

The question in our minds is to wonder why, in the current circumstances, the Council would not do that anyway, regardless of what transpires in regard to your work with National Highways?


We will post any replies we receive.