Introduction to the Local Plan
Why do we need a Local Plan?
We have a responsibility to look ahead and to plan for the future needs of our area and for everyone living here. In particular we need to make sure we are planning the right amount and type of homes and jobs to meet the needs of all sections of the community.
We need more homes because we have a growing population, however we don’t want to just build houses, supporting infrastructure such as roads, services and green space are just as important to us – that’s the difference between delivering houses and great communities.
We have a growing population, from young to old, which means we need more family housing and more homes where older people can stay independent. More people are also living on their own so we need to ensure that we plan for a range of new homes that can accommodate changes in lifestyle, affluence or choice. By developing a Local Plan together we can provide quality homes for all, for now and the future.
The Central Bedfordshire Local Plan will set out a vision for how our area will develop in the future, up to 2035, and makes sure growth happens in a structured way.
If we don’t plan for this growth then we will not be able to control where it happens and the quality of it.
What do we want it to achieve?
We want Central Bedfordshire to be a great place to live and work. The Local Plan will support our ambitions to strengthen our economy through new investment, jobs and better infrastructure, while at the same time preserving the varied character of our market towns and villages and our attractive landscape.
We will consider the following key themes through the plan making process:
Local character – how do we look after what you value about where you live? We need to balance development with protecting our villages, market towns and beautiful countryside. We want to use local character to inform development to ensure that we achieve the best we can.
Environment – How do we balance the need for growth with protecting our environment? By having quality developments that are sensitive to the environment, to climate change and to ensure growth is dealt with responsibly for the next generation.
Transport – How do we plan for growth that has good connections, not only to jobs and facilities, but also to recreation services and the countryside? We need to look at improving our existing transport networks and make the most of opportunities.
Jobs and business - How do we support the economy of your community and proposed growth in your area? We need to invest and attract business. Regenerating areas can help to attract new investment to improve job prospects.
Growth and infrastructure – Where can this growth go and how do we get the best opportunities for you and your community? We need to consider not only the locations for growth, but also what other facilities, services and infrastructure these areas will need for the next generation.
Homes – What type of housing does your community need? Looking at the local population, from young to old, we need to ensure that the area can accommodate changes in lifestyle, affluence or choice. Quality homes for all, for now and tomorrow.
How will we go about creating it?
Creating a new Local Plan is complex and will involve a lot of work over the next two years.
The process to develop a Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire started in February 2016 and the Call for Sites, which ran until April 2016, was one of the first steps. The Call for Sites was an opportunity for agents, landowners and developers to submit land which they believe could be developed to meet future demand for homes and jobs. The full list of sites which were submitted was published in May 2016.
Please note that these are sites submitted to the council for possible development. The sites have not been assessed for suitability or selected for development yet.
The plan will be underpinned by a range of technical studies. These include options for growth, a review of the greenbelt, a sustainability appraisal and economic market assessments.
We will also carry out public consultation at various stages during the process. We need your help to make the best Local Plan we can to ensure Central Bedfordshire is a great place to live and work in the future. You can see when and how you can get involved in the Local Plan on the news and consultation page.
Throughout 2016 and 2017 we will also be working closely with neighbouring authorities and partner organisations to make sure that we are moving forward in a united and cooperative way.
The Local Plan will take into account new housing need figures and will respond to changes to national planning guidance and so we will be keeping both of these things under close review throughout the plan making process.
The work programme for preparation of the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan is set out in the Local Development Scheme (PDF 835.3KB) . It was approved under delegated powers for publication on the 25 February 2016. (Please note: The Local Development Scheme will be reviewed in due course as the timetable has been changed).
We aim to submit the Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2017.
You can see when and how you can get involved in the Local Plan on the news and consultation page.
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