Council approves fresh approach for Local Plan

Central Bedfordshire Council will start afresh with a new Local Plan after agreeing to withdraw the Central Bedfordshire Development Strategy, the draft plan for the area up to 2031.

Work on this new vision will begin immediately after full Council formally agreed the proposal last night (19 November), while legal proceedings with the Secretary of State have now been discontinued.

The new plan will outline how the Council will deliver sustainable growth in the right locations with the necessary supporting infrastructure, meeting future demand for homes and jobs, while protecting the natural and built environment.

Since receiving a letter from the Planning Inspector in February, stating that the Council had not met the ‘Duty to Cooperate’ with other local authorities, Central Bedfordshire Council has been proactive and used the time to review the evidence underpinning the Development Strategy.

This has ensured that the transition towards a fresh approach can begin in earnest. The refreshed evidence base of the new plan will therefore take into account the Government’s revised household projections and the significant changes made this year to national planning guidance.

Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is not a decision which has been taken lightly but it is necessary, in light of new planning policy changes, for us to reset this process.

“However, that does not mean that we are starting from scratch, but have already begun to work sympathetically with the new national guidance, while listening to the views of local people and neighbouring authorities, many of whom find themselves in a similar situation.

“Of course, our focus now is on finalising a new, sustainable Local Plan that best serves our communities, manages growth and continues the significant progress that is ensuring Central Bedfordshire is a great place to live and work.”

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