Bedford Mayor’s ‘Vision-Free’ Housing Plan Slammed

Mayor Dave Hodgson’s Local Plan has postponed vital strategic decisions on housing and employment growth that will ‘adversely affect Bedford’s future prosperity’, according to Conservative Leader Cllr Stephen Moon.

Bedford Borough Council’s Local Plan 2030 was approved by Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors at a Council meeting on Wednesday 5th December.  It will now be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for review before it is formally adopted next year.

Addressing the meeting, Cllr Moon said the Local Plan is a ‘vision-free short-term exercise’ that will put huge pressure on rural infrastructure and fail to take advantage of brownfield sites.

After the meeting he said:

‘Astonishingly the Local Plan is not influenced by the emerging Oxford – Cambridge Corridor policy despite the Mayor covertly signing us up to its principle of 1m extra homes in the region by 2050. 

‘The region is being targeted as an area of disproportionate housing and employment growth because of the Oxford – Cambridge Corridor yet the Local Plan does not address this, meaning other areas will gain irreversible advantages in terms of infrastructure funding and employment opportunities at our expense.

‘The Mayor’s decision to dump 500 houses on green field sites in each of Bromham, Clapham, Great Barford and Sharnbrook will increase those villages in size by up to 50% or more.  This will change their character forever and overwhelm road networks.  The Conservatives will continue to oppose these allocations and to press for greater use of brownfield sites in the urban area and appropriate housing allocations to meet the needs of our villages.’