We launched the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan 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.
Why are the sites being published?
We received 851 (46 for employment) submissions to our Call for Sites from both rounds (2014 and 2016). We have published the full list of sites that have been submitted with accompanying parish maps, so that everyone has the chance to see the sites that will be considered through the Local Plan process.
The submitted sites have been assessed to see whether they are "suitable", "available" and "achievable". They are assessed against a specific criteria.
It considers a number of factors including: how well sites are related to other settlements; the proximity of sites to services like schools, doctors, shops and public transport; accessibility from the existing road network; flood risk; and opportunities and constraints identified by internal experts from environment, heritage and archaeology teams for example.
We consulted on the assessment criteria in 2016 and are provided below.
Crucially, the sites that come through this process will not automatically become the draft housing allocations in the Local Plan. The assessment outcome is just one of a number of technical evidence documents which will be used to determine the most sustainable locations for growth.
207 sites are deemed worthy of further review following the assessment; however this includes some duplicate sites so in reality this is approximately 150 sites.
At this stage, sites are assessed on their individual merits and do not take account of other sites submitted nearby. However, although a site on its own might not be deemed worthy of further assessment, it may still be considered in combination with another site or group of sites to understand if the identified issues can be mitigated as part of a wider site at a later stage.
Review the assessment outcomes
The outcomes of the assessments are currently available for review and comment.
What happens next?
The Local Plan which sets out the strategy for growth and options for where the growth could go is being consulted on between 4 July and 29 August 2017. The feedback from this consultation will be considered and the next iteration of the Local Plan which will set out more specific locations and the relevant sites for growth will be published for comment in Spring 2018.