Where is the CBC Local Plan?
Despite the Public Inquiry into Central Bedfordshire’s much needed Local Plan ending in July we are still no nearer having a final version.
The Council and the Inspectors have been exchanging at times what seems to be a heated war of words as can be seen from recent correspondence between them.
In the meantime this policy vacuum is resulting in an increasing number of unwelcome speculative planning applications across the Borough – including those on land which the Inspectors’ recommended removing from the proposed allocations.
This mess most stop.
Residents of Central Bedfordshire have been in limbo for three years whilst the Council have spent hundreds of thousands of tax payers’ money continually failing to deliver us a Local Plan which would control where development will occur in the future.
There can’t be many other Councils across the Country with such an appalling record of failure.
Having sat through the Public Inquiry it was quite clear to us that there were some fundamental flaws with the Council’s evidence base. These were highlighted in the Inspectors’ initial findings. But rather than work constructively with the Inspectors to resolve this the Council seems determined to take actions which, in their view, will mean they can just carry on regardless ignoring the Inspectors’ initial recommendations.
Progress on the Local Plan is now linked to the Council first issuing planning permission for the M1 A6 road link – a development which crosses through Green Belt and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This link road was not even included in the Local Plan and has attracted wide scale opposition; the Inspectors have stated they have “serious concerns regarding the justification for the route of the link road as part of the overall strategy for housing and employment growth around Luton”.
The Council claim they can issue this permission very shortly despite Highways England ongoing objection to the application and their advice to the Council that no decision should be made before 9th January 2020.
How long do we have to give the Council before we are able to see some positive action to try and work with the Inspectors to finally and quickly deliver our much needed Local Plan?
(This article was originally published in November 2019)