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11. Infrastructure and Transport

11.1 The Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan recognises that sustainable growth cannot be fully realised without a range of supporting infrastructure. Infrastructure can include transport links such as roads, rail links, cycleways, footways and footpaths, green infrastructure such as sports facilities and open spaces, and community infrastructure such as school places, library services, places of worship, village halls, drainage, water, power, flood risk mitigation etc.

11.2 The Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan comprises policies to support the early provision of strategic infrastructure (Policy CP27), the Local Transport Plan 2 (Policy CP28), Accessibility (Policy CP29 ) and the provision of Developer Contributions (Policy CP30). Policy CP22 Green Infrastructure refers more specifically to green infrastructure provision.

11.3 On 1st April 2011 the borough’s first Local Transport Plan (Local Transport Plan 3) which runs to 2021 replaced the Local Transport Plan 2 (2006-2011) which covers the whole county. Local Transport Plan 3 sets out the long term strategy and contains an implementation plan.

11.4 The Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan identifies some infrastructure elements for the borough. The more detailed Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan identifies key transport infrastructure within the area covered by that plan. These include new river crossing and bus and rail interchange proposals. The Allocations and Designations Local Plan provides the opportunity for new infrastructure requirements in the wider borough to be addressed.

11.5 New infrastructure proposals are shown on the Policies Map and relevant village inset maps. These maps show existing key highway infrastructure proposals under construction and commitments (through planning permission or planning applications with a resolution to grant permission) for context. For example the context includes the route of the Bedford Western Bypass phase 2 A428/A6 link, the proposed park and ride site, and the railway station at Wixams.

11.6 A Local Investment Plan for Bedford for the period 2011-14 was approved in November 2010 as a statement of the Council’s priorities for infrastructure and regeneration. It may need to be reviewed at a future date to address changes in the Government’s approach and allocations arising from the Allocations and Designations Local Plan.

11.7 Bedford Borough Council is a member of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), one of the Local Economic Partnerships given approval by the Government on 28 October 2010. SEMLEP has the opportunity to make bids for funding from the Growth Fund which will provide support for projects, including infrastructure projects that offer significant potential for sustainable economic growth.

11.8 Site related infrastructure requirements, which relate to proposals of the Plan, are identified in the key principles for the development for each allocation. There may also be other infrastructure requirements in accordance with the Council’s policies and strategies not specifically mentioned in the policy as listed in paragraph 4.112 of the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan and the supporting text to the Policy CP30 Developer Contributions.

11.9 The Plan also includes designations. For example the concept route for the Bedford to Milton Keynes Canal (now known as the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park) shown on the Key Diagram in the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan is proposed as a designation and the proposed route is shown on the Policies Map (see Policy AD27 Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park in Green Infrastructure Chapter 7). Developer contributions through S106 agreements where appropriate (or through a Community Infrastructure Levy) may be required towards some of the following designations which are not site specific and benefit residents over a wider area.

  • Cycle network (including the Green Wheel)
  • Forest of Marston Vale
  • Bedford River Valley Park
  • Green Infrastructure Zones
  • Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park
  • Public transport infrastructure improvements including real time information provision for new developments.

11.10 The Council has adopted a Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document and expects to adopt a Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule in 2014.

11.11 Some infrastructure provision is outside the control of local authorities and the utilities involved are regulated by Government bodies. However the lack of capacity in their networks or costs of addressing capacity issues can affect the delivery of development. The capacity of the electricity network in particular has been identified as a potential constraint to economic development in the region. The utility providers have been consulted on the Plan’s proposals to try to identify issues, but individual site promoters should investigate the adequacy of infrastructure and services at an early date.

Water Infrastructure

11.12 The availability of water supply and the means of dealing with waste water are important considerations for the Council and developers alike. With the assistance of Anglian Water, it has been possible to identify site specific development requirements and constraints for the allocations in this plan. The details are contained in the table in Appendix 2. The intention is that by setting out the key issues in this way, developers will engage in early discussions with Anglian Water which in turn will assist the timely delivery of the sites.

Transport Policies

11.13 The following saved policies of the Local Plan will be replaced by this plan:

  • Road Schemes (saved Policy T2)
  • Pedestrian Routes (saved Policy T13)
  • Park and Ride (saved Policy T17)
  • Commercial Vehicle Parking and Motorists’ Facilities (saved Policies T5, T18).

11.14 Saved Policy T2 is replaced both through the Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan and this Plan. In the Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan the Prebend Street Area Relief Scheme and Batts Ford Bridge are supported by Policy TC19. The St Johns Street Area Relief Scheme which is the southern part of the Bedford Transport Development Plan (beyond the area of Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan) requires policy support (see below) and consideration should be given to incorporating a cycle route. The Ford End Road and Dallas Road links continue to be supported by the Council and the routes safeguarded.

Policy AD35 Road Schemes

The Council supports improvements to the local highway network including the St Johns Area Relief Scheme, the Ford End Road link and the Dallas Road link.

11.15 Saved Policy T13 (Pedestrian Routes) is replaced with a new policy reflecting the fact that the river crossing at Kempston Church End has been provided. The policy will continue to protect, enhance and promote pedestrian routes including new river crossings at Honey Hill Road / Hillgrounds, adjacent to the former Britannia Ironworks, at Batts Ford and in the vicinity of Fenlake Meadows / Priory Park.

Policy AD36 Pedestrian Routes

The Council will require the protection, enhancement and promotion of pedestrian routes and facilities. The Council will seek the provision of new pedestrian routes and facilities which are safe, convenient, attractive, and which link local facilities, particularly in association with major development and transportation proposals. The provision of routes which form part of the Green Wheel or other outdoor access routes, include safer routes to schools and include new river crossings at Honey Hill Road / Hillgrounds, adjacent to Britannia Ironworks, at Batts Ford and in the vicinity of Fenlake Meadows / Priory Park will be sought.

11.16 The existing Park and Ride site at Elstow at the junction of the A6/A421 serves traffic approaching from the south and east. The first phase of a park and ride site at Great Denham, west of Bedford, opened in spring 2013 (see the Policies Map). There is an ongoing policy commitment to a Park and Ride site to the north of the town at the southern end of the A6 Clapham bypass shown on the Policies Map as part of the committed development north of Bromham Rd, Biddenham.

11.17 Saved Policy T17 (Park and Ride Facilities and Town Centre Parking) is replaced with a new policy deleting the reference to town centre car parking as this duplicates policies in the adopted Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan. Reference continues to be made to the provision of park and ride services in association with public transport priority measures and bus ways, and where appropriate developer contributions, towards the cost of providing the site and bus services.

Policy AD37 Park and Ride Facilities

The Council will seek the provision of high quality car parking facilities at park and ride sites for long stay users as indicated on the Policies Map. Where possible the provision of such facilities will be in association with public transport priority measures and busways. In appropriate cases the provision of sites and developer funding towards the cost of park and ride facilities and services will be sought.

11.18 Saved Policy T18 (Commercial Vehicle Parking) is carried forward into this Plan as Policy AD38 and incorporates saved Policy T5. Where a need can be shown, the Council will support the provision of facilities for commercial vehicle parking and motorists’ facilities. There is potential need in the borough for a lorry park close to the strategic highway routes and this will be investigated further as part of the adopted Freight Strategy. Such provision could be made in association with an existing or proposed park and ride site, an employment allocation or elsewhere.

Policy AD38 Commercial Vehicle Parking and Motorists’ Facilities

The Council will determine any planning applications for commercial vehicle parking facilities and motorists’ facilities against the following criteria:

  1. The impact of the proposal on residential amenities.
  2. The safety and convenience of the proposed access arrangements.
  3. The effect of the proposals on the environment.
  4. The quality of the proposed design and landscaping.
  5. The degree of need.
  6. Site availability and location in close proximity to the strategic network.

11.19 Cycling policy is dealt with in Chapter 12.

East-West Rail

11.20 Policy CP27 of the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan states that the Council will support the early provision of the East-West rail scheme on a route that passes through Bedford.

11.21 Saved Policy T8 (Rail Networks) states that the Council will seek the improvement of existing cross country rail services and the development of new links. This saved policy is due to be reviewed as part of the next Local Plan. It is envisaged that the policy will be updated to reflect the latest position of the East-West Rail project and to confirm the Council’s continued support for the scheme.

East-West Rail

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