Planning approval for 1,850 Green Belt homes in Bedfordshire

28 July by


Plans have been approved for up to 1,850 homes to be built on a166-hectare, green belt site in Bedfordshire.

The planning report from the central Bedfordshire council states that; "The application site is located within the Green Belt and would be harmful to the Green Belt due to its inappropriateness and its impact on openness."

"There would be a degree of related harm due to the loss of agricultural land within the historic landscape setting of the Thorn Spring Scheduled Monument. In line with national planning policy, substantial weight is to be attached to any Green Belt harm and the other harm identified."

However, due to the urgent housing and economic need for growth within the area and the significant contribution which the development would make towards the urgent housing and employment need in the area the proposed construction has been given special permission to go ahead; the report states; "a multitude of factors weigh substantially in favour of the proposal."

"the significant contribution which the development would make in supporting the delivery of a sustainable urban extension including the provision 30% affordable housing and support for essential infrastructure and services within the wider growth area; the wider benefits for the local economy;"

Houghton Regis Town Council, Luton Borough Council and Sundon Parish Council had objected to the application.

The Chiltern Society insisted the development did not represent the exceptional circumstances required under the National Planning Policy Framework.

But the officer's report said that the applicant had made its case for very special circumstances in favour of the scheme on the basis of six points, including that the site was "identified within the emerging Central Bedfordshire Development Strategy for allocation and removal from the green belt for development for an urban extension of Houghton Regis to meet urgent need".

The scheme was approved subject to various conditions and a final green light from the secretary of state.