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3. Growth Area Allocations

Housing and Mixed Use Sites

3.1 This part of the Allocations and Designations Local Plan allocates sites in the Growth Area for residential and mixed use development.

3.2 The Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan sets out the approach to be taken to the allocation of housing sites in the Growth Area. The Growth Area comprises the urban area of Bedford, Kempston and the northern Marston Vale and is shown on the Key Diagram of the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan.

3.3 Policy CP6 states that in the period 2001 to 2021 16,270 new dwellings will need to be provided in the Growth Area. The Council’s 2009/10 Housing Monitoring Report shows that sites have been identified which largely meet the requirement. The map below shows the main strategic sites which were identified in the Bedford Borough Local Plan 2002 and through planning permissions which will contribute to meeting the target.

Figure 3

3.4 The monitoring of housing completions in the first nine years of the Plan shows that although there is a good supply of housing, delivery has lagged behind the annual housing target. Monitoring indicator C2a of the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan states that if delivery varies by more than 20% of the dwelling requirement, reasons for this should be established and appropriate responses considered. This response could include the decision to make further allocations.

3.5 The research undertaken by the Council into the issue of the provision of flexibility in the housing supply 1 showed that landowners and developers were positive about the prospects of sites in the current trajectory being delivered. Further research for the 2009/10 Annual Monitoring Report showed that whilst the estimates of delivery given by landowners and developers were slightly less ambitious than the previous year, the assessments remain very positive for the next five years. For the remaining years of the Plan as a whole however the estimate of housing delivery has fallen reflecting the impact of the economic downturn on a number of schemes particularly those proposed for the town centre. From this it remains clear that the most critical factor in determining what can be achieved will be one of housing demand including the uncertainties about lending and the knock on effects for market capacity in a small Growth Area with many competing sites. In this context increasing the supply of housing sites is likely to have little impact on the number of houses which can be delivered by 2021.

3.6 Any additional allocations should therefore be limited to those sites which could help to increase delivery in the current market and would not prejudice the delivery of the existing sites, many of which are large and complex. Such sites might include smaller sites offering family housing rather than flatted accommodation for which there is less demand at the present time.

3.7 Where sites are allocated, no housing capacity is specified. Housing capacity will be determined through the development management process having regard both to the relevant Council policies and standards contained in its adopted development plan documents and also to the site-specific constraints imposed by aspects such as location, setting, urban design, topography, access and availability of infrastructure.

3.8 Sites for fewer than 10 dwelling units in the Growth Area have not been identified through the Allocations and Designations Local Plan process. Sites of that size can more appropriately come forward through the development management process without the need for an allocation or specific policy.

Proposed Developments
Sites Providing Flexibility

3.9 Land at Hall End, Wootton, and Old Ford End Road, Queen’s Park, Bedford are allocated on the basis that they could provide flexibility through early housing delivery in the present market without impacting on the delivery of the key strategic sites.


Policy AD3 Land at Hall End Road Wootton

Land at Hall End Road, Wootton will be developed for a mix of residential and education uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. Provision of a range of housing types and sizes on two hectares of land located on the eastern part of the site adjoining the existing village.
  2. At least one hectare of land in close proximity to Wootton Upper School to be reserved for education use. This to be located in the western part of the site.
  3. Access into the site to be opposite the current entrance to Wootton Upper School or in its vicinity.
  4. Buffer planting and landscaping to assimilate the development into the landscape and provide separation for the properties on the eastern edge of the site.
  5. Contributions to the delivery of the objectives of the Forest of Marston Vale.
  6. Improvements to transportation networks, including:
    1. Improvements to the footway on the eastern side of Hall End Road.
    2. Pedestrian links through the residential part of the site to connect to adjacent development, including a shared use pedestrian/cycle link with Studley Road.
    3. A pedestrian/cycle (toucan) crossing of Hall End Road to serve the school.
  7. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  8. Submission of a heritage statement setting out the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of any heritage assets affected.

3.10 The allocation land includes at least one hectare of land for education uses to be located in the western part of the site. This will facilitate the expansion of the school in response to an anticipated rise in pupil numbers resulting from planned housing development in Wootton and other settlements in the vicinity of the school.

3.11 Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.

3.12 Development on this site will have an impact on the surrounding historic environment, which will include the setting of designated heritage assets. A heritage statement will be required in order to understand the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of any heritage assets affected.


Policy AD4 Land at Old Ford End Road, Queens Park, Bedford

Land identified at Old Ford End Road, Queens Park, Bedford will be developed for residential use. Key principles of development include:

  1. Dwellings to be integrated with existing development in terms of size, scale and design.
  2. Assessment of the nature and extent of ground contamination and preparation of a remediation strategy for the site including methods of disposing of contaminated material, measures to prevent the pollution of surface and ground water and provisions for future monitoring, to be approved by the Council.

3.13 This site formerly used for employment is in an established residential area where redevelopment for employment would be difficult to achieve without adversely affecting existing nearby residents.

Other Allocations

Wixams

3.14 The land north of Wixams is allocated on the basis that it will help to support and accelerate the delivery of the infrastructure programme for Wixams as a whole including the railway station and help prevent the development of the new settlement becoming stalled.

3.15 It will be important to ensure that the effect of the allocation is to enable the continuation of development at the main Wixams site and not divert investment from its progress. The completion of the railway station and the release of village 2 land to the market are crucial to maintaining momentum on the main Wixams site.


Policy AD5 Wixams Northern Expansion

Land to the north of Wixams will be developed for a mix of residential, employment, school and community uses conditional upon there being no delay to the delivery of key infrastructure on the main Wixams site.

In the event that an application comes forward before


  • the delivery of the railway station, or
  • the completion of the remediation of village 2 on the core Wixams settlement area, or
  • the release of village 2 to the market, or
  • the completion of 2201 dwellings

the application must be accompanied by a statement setting out a detailed programme for the delivery of all key infrastructure and community provision in the core Wixams site that generally accords with the principles in the original S106 in particular for the timing of the railway station and community facilities in the town centre.

The key principles of development include:


  1. Provision of a mix of dwelling types and sizes.
  2. Provision of a site for approximately 80 extra care units.
  3. Provision of 5 hectares of B1 employment uses to integrate with the committed employment area to the east of the allocation site to create a gateway employment site.
  4. A 2 hectare primary school site and funding including provision for early years.
  5. Contribution to cost of education land and buildings for children of secondary school age.
  6. On site community provision including village hall or meeting room(s), children’s centre accommodation possibly in association with but additional to school provision.
  7. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan, design guide and design principles, to be agreed by the Council, with the objective of achieving a high quality, sustainable residentially-led mixed-use environment that incorporates a satisfactory relationship between the site and adjoining land uses. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.
  8. Having regard to (vii) above, the provision of a layout for the development which takes full account of the noise and air quality environment relative to the railway line, rail aggregates depot and any other adjoining uses.
  9. Strategic/integrated approach to surface water management.
  10. Contributions to the delivery of the objectives of the Forest of Marston Vale.
  11. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  12. Noise and air quality assessments to inform item (vii) above.
  13. Improvements to transportation networks, including:
    1. Pedestrian and cycle access to the A6 cycle route.
    2. Contribution towards the provision of traffic lights on A421 junction to facilitate pedestrian and cycle movement.
    3. Contribution to Wixams station.
    4. Identification and safeguarding of a route for shuttle buses from the parking area on the A6 to the NIRAH site.
  14. Preparation of a Community and Leisure Facilities Strategy (CLFS) for the Northern Expansion Area (NEA) that sets out the provision of services and facilities within the NEA (including the facilities outlined above) and including an explanation of the relationship to the adopted CLFS (dated 5 April 2005 and any subsequent amendments thereto) for the Wixams New Settlement.

3.16 Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site. In the latter stages of this Plan’s preparation, a small amount of additional employment land (1.1ha) was proposed to the north and east of the 5ha of employment identified in allocation AD5, between the haul road and the existing Wixams site boundary. This land is in a different ownership to AD5 but may also be suitable for employment uses. Applications for employment uses on this land will be considered on their merits and in the context of the committed and proposed employment developments in this general location.


Figure 4

3.17 To the north of the Wixams northern expansion area lies the Elstow rail head facility that is of strategic importance to Bedford and adjoining authorities. The Elstow facility includes a rail head for the importation of aggregates and a coated roadstone plant. Vehicular access to the highway network is via a road that runs along the northern boundary with the Wixams allocation. This facility and its access are currently remote from sensitive receptors to allow it to be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The placement of residential development in close proximity to the rail head and access road without appropriate mitigation by the developer could lead to longer term amenity issues. The emerging Minerals and Waste Local Plan seeks to ensure the safeguarding of strategically important rail head facilities with a presumption against any development that could prejudice existing railheads used for the transportation of minerals into or out of the Plan area. The Council will require any future planning application to be accompanied by noise and air quality assessments. Prior to determination the Council will need to be satisfied that the proposed housing can be developed without impacting upon the longer term continuity of existing uses. Appropriate mitigation measures will need to be put in place to ensure the long term continuity of the existing rail head and associated uses to the north. These could include a combination of vertical (e.g. acoustic fencing/bunds), horizontal (separation distances), on-plot (enhanced noise insulation in buildings, location of habitable rooms etc), and land use/layout (locating less sensitive uses closer to noise sources) measures.

Sites in the urban area

3.18 In addition, the sites south of Ford End Road, Queen’s Park, Bedford, to the east of Eastcotts Road, Bedford, Dallas Road, Kempston, St Bede’s School, Bedford and Lansdowne Road, Warwick Avenue and Dynevor Road, Bedford are allocated on the basis that whilst they are already in the trajectory as sites known to have development potential, allocation makes clear the Council’s intended approach to the development of the sites which in some cases will include a change of use.


Policy AD6 Land South of Ford End Road, Bedford

Land south of Ford End Road, Bedford will be developed for a mix of residential and employment uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. Provision of a mix of dwelling types and sizes.
  2. 0.4 hectares of employment provision to be provided as managed workspace and located to the north west of the Ford End Road link.
  3. Assessment of the nature and extent of ground contamination and preparation of a remediation strategy for the site including methods of disposing of contaminated material, measures to prevent the pollution of surface and ground water, and provisions for future monitoring, to be approved by the Council.
  4. Submission of a comprehensive planning brief, to be agreed by the Council in consultation with relevant property owners.
  5. Provision of a layout which takes full account of the noise environment relative to both the railway line and the brewery.
  6. Submission of a site specific Flood Risk Assessment along with appropriate mitigation proposals.
  7. Retention and enhancement of the land adjacent to the railway to improve biodiversity value.
  8. Improvements to transportation networks, including:
    1. Provision of a cycle and pedestrian link between Sustrans Route 51 along the riverside and Ford End Road and provision for the safe crossing of Ford End Road.
    2. Provision of a bus drop off point adjacent to Ford End Road on the eastern side of the site (in accordance with the Council’s Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan) to include bus shelters and real time information (or equivalent).
    3. Provision of the Ford End Road link (alternative vehicular access between Havelock Street and Ford End Road).
    4. Contributions to improvements at the Prebend Street junction.
  9. ix. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.

3.19 The comprehensive planning brief to be submitted with any planning application should include a master plan showing the distribution of uses on the site, access arrangements, design principles and a delivery plan. In the event that different land parcels come forward independently of a comprehensive scheme, applicants will need to demonstrate that any proposals do not prejudice the principles of the planning brief, the ability of adjoining land to come forward in accordance with the brief and compliance with the key principles set out in Policy AD6.

3.20 Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Policy AD7 Land East of Eastcotts Road, Bedford

Land identified east of Eastcotts Road, Bedford will be developed for a mix of residential and employment uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. A mix of dwelling types and sizes to be accessed from Eastcotts Road.
  2. Re-provision of employment floorspace in the form of up to 4 Class B1 and/or B2 units on part of the northern section of the site, with access from Arkwright Road (subject to confirmation that satisfactory access can be achieved).
  3. Delivery of the remainder of the northern part of the site to be maintained and managed for public open space, with associated landscaping, to secure a buffer between the employment and residential uses within and adjoining the site.
  4. Dwellings to be integrated with existing development in terms of size and scale.
  5. Improvements to transportation networks, including:
    1. A travel assessment to determine the impact of the development on roundabouts at the junction of Eastcotts Road and Cardington Road and the junction of Eastcotts Road, Harrowden Road and Cambridge Road.
    2. Provision of a cycle and pedestrian link between Eastcotts Road and the northern boundary of the site and contributions to a link between the site and Cardington Road.
  6. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.

3.21 Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Policy AD8 Dallas Road, Kempston

Land identified at Dallas Road, Kempston will be developed for residential use. Key principles of development include:


  1. A mix of dwelling types and sizes.
  2. Provision of a layout which take full account of the noise environment in relation to adjacent noise sources.
  3. Improvements to transportation networks, including:
    1. Pedestrian links to the bus stops and footways on Bedford Road.
    2. Provision of real time information (or equivalent) at bus stops in the vicinity of the site.
    3. Improvements to Dallas Road and construction of a new road corridor between Dallas Road and College Street, including all necessary and associated engineering works and landscaping to achieve an adoptable standard.
  4. Revised access arrangements to the self service car wash.

3.22 There are a number of outstanding highway concerns about the impact of the development of this site on a range of junctions with Bedford Road and beyond including Hillgrounds Road/ Spring Road and Walcourt  Road/Marlborough Park to the west and Palgrave Road/hospital turn and Cauldwell Street/Britannia Road to the east. Further consideration will need to be given to these matters as part of a Travel Assessment for the site.


Policy AD9 St Bede’s School, Bedford

Land and buildings identified at the former St Bede’s School, Bromham Road, Bedford will be developed for residential use. Key principles of development include:


  1. A mix of dwelling types and sizes which could include the provision of extra care housing for older people.
  2. Retention of open space and trees fronting Bromham Road.
  3. Retention of existing buildings of local importance.
  4. On site layout and building design to have regard to existing buildings of local importance and respect their setting.
  5. Dwellings to be integrated with existing development in terms of size and scale.
  6. Site to be accessed from Conduit Road or Conduit Road and The Avenue.
  7. Archaeological investigations will be required as a condition of planning permission.
  8. Submission of a heritage statement setting out the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of any heritage assets affected.

3.23 The archaeological investigations will need to include fieldwork, assessment, analysis, publication and archiving.

3.24 Development on this site will be required to preserve or enhance the character of the Bedford Conservation Area. A comprehensive assessment will need to be undertaken to understand the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of the Conservation Area which shall have regard to the Bedford Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan. The assessment shall be used to inform the appropriate form of development on the site to include proportion; height; massing; bulk; use of materials; use. Any application for planning permission must be adequately detailed to enable full understanding of the impact on the character of the Conservation Area.


Policy AD10 Lansdowne Road, Warwick Avenue and Dynevor Road,
Bedford

Land at Lansdowne Road, Warwick Avenue and Dynevor Road, Bedford will be developed for residential and open space uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. Provision of a mix of dwelling types and sizes potentially including the provision of extra care housing for older people.
  2. Delivery and enhancement of public open space on the former tennis court land parcel at Dynevor Road.
  3. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  4. Submission of a heritage statement setting out the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of any heritage assets affected.

3.25 Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.

3.26 Development on this site will be required to preserve or enhance the character of the Bedford Conservation Area. A comprehensive assessment shall be undertaken to understand the potential impact of the proposed development on the significance of the Conservation Area which shall have regard to the Bedford Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan. The assessment shall be used to inform the appropriate form of development on the site to include proportion, height, massing, bulk, use of materials and use. Any application for planning permission must be adequately detailed to enable full understanding of the impact on the character of the Conservation Area.

Employment

3.27 This part of the Allocations and Designations Local Plan allocates sites in the Growth Area for employment development. In this context, employment sites are those which fall into classes B1 (business, including office), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution).

3.28 The allocation of employment sites has been guided by the following local policy and strategy documents.

3.29 The Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan sets out the new jobs requirement from 2001 to 2021 (Policy CP10). Based on the findings of the Bedford Employment Land Study 2006, the Plan identifies that up to 75ha of predominantly class B1 employment land will be required 2001 to 2021. Taking account of completions and extant planning permissions (should they all be delivered), around 21ha of class B1 land remains to be allocated with a focus on high quality office/business park space. Policy CP11 identifies that the Council will allocate sites specific to B1, B2 and B8 classes to achieve a mix and range of sites and a balanced economy. However, in the light of the National Planning Policy Framework, policies will need to be more flexible than anticipated. The preferred location for strategic employment sites is the Growth Area in accordance with Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan Policy CP5.

3.30 The Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan is a key part of the Bedford Development Framework. It provides a policy framework to facilitate and control the renaissance of the town centre. The evidence base supporting the Area Action Plan identifies that Bedford struggles to compete with nearby centres such as Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambridge, in part because of its ageing economic structure and poor quality business accommodation. The Plan allocates a number of sites for development. In accordance with national, regional and local policies, offices are recognised as a main town centre use and are incorporated into the allocation policies for Bedford Station Quarter (TC13), The Kingsway Quarter (TC15) and Lime Street (TC16).

3.31 The Bedford Economic Assessment 2008 undertaken by consultants GWE Business West Research provides background and support for the borough’s policy approach. The study recognises that the town centre is the main focal point for economic output generation in the borough and that the ongoing development of the town centre infrastructure is essential in ensuring the borough is competitive as a place for people to live, work and visit and for business to start and invest. However, it also recognises the need to consider broader issues and development opportunities. Amongst other things it identifies the need for:


  • Development to be sustainably located so as to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Support for sectors that have been successful in recent years such as technical testing and analysis, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles, call centre activities and construction involving special trades.
  • Promotion and provision of ICT infrastructure.
  • Growth in the tourism industry.
  • Bedford’s central location between Oxford and Cambridge to be exploited.

3.32 The Council has already made progress on many of the study’s recommendations. Of particular relevance to the allocation of employment sites is the need to select those that can deliver sustainable development across a range of employment sectors in order to support housing delivery. Whilst town centre locations are important in providing additional office accommodation, the recently improved A421 corridor is emerging as a key business location for those sectors that require close proximity to the strategic road network.

3.33 The first Bedford Local Economic Assessment was approved in 2010. The assessment presents a detailed insight into Bedford’s economy and it (and future revisions) can be found on the Council’s website. In summary the assessment explains that:


  • Bedford is a relatively self-contained area in economic terms albeit with some important links with some neighbours.
  • Job growth 2001-10 is on-target but growth has focused on public rather than private sector jobs.
  • There has been a decline in higher skills occupations. Average earnings have gone down in recent years.
  • The ‘do nothing’ forecast suggests under-recovery in job growth and production.
  • Growth sector strengths include food, automotive, health and biotech, electronics.
  • Some high value sectors are growing well including aerospace and advanced manufacturing.
  • Mixed findings found as far as innovation is concerned. However, research and development strength is evident in places.

3.34 With particular reference to land and buildings supply and infrastructure, the assessment notes the following:


  • Existing supply is dominated by second hand lower quality premises across industrial/ warehouse and office sectors. If Bedford is to compete with neighbouring locations to attract inward investment, restrict out-commuting and retain existing occupiers, the delivery of new sites and buildings is essential.
  • Future demand is forecast to be in the class B1(a)(offices), class B1(c)(light industrial) and class B8(storage and distribution) uses.
  • 50% of the current development pipeline is controlled by two landowners/developers which dependent upon their strategies, could restrict deliverability of new buildings over the next 10 years.
  • There are immediate pockets of undersupply and in some cases evidence of demand outstripping supply even in the current climate.
  • Despite a good supply of office units below 50 square metres there is a low availability against a backdrop of consistent demand. Within the same size band the supply of small workshop units is extremely limited with very limited availability. Incubator/follow on/start up space is required in both sectors.
  • In addition, relative to the profile of demand against current availability and supply, shortage also exists in the warehouse sector between 5,000 square metres and 10,000 square metres and in the office sector for buildings in excess of 500 square metres.

3.35 In view of the above, the following sites are allocated for classes B1, B2 and B8 employment uses.


Policy AD11 Land at Medbury Farm, Elstow

Land at Medbury Farm will be developed for class B1 business park use. Key principles of development include:


  1. Business park with three clusters of development totalling no more than 31 hectares.
  2. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.
  3. Support for hotel associated with business use.
  4. Design to respect local landscape priorities, with particular regard to retaining and enhancing key views of Elstow Abbey.
  5. Delivery of Forest of Marston Vale planting on land south of the A421 (Master Plan to be prepared and agreed with Forest of Marston Vale team).
  6. Provision of a green corridor incorporating a pedestrian and cycle route south of the A421 west/east from the A6 to Bumpy Lane and the A600.
  7. Submission of a site specific Flood Risk Assessment along with mitigation proposals.
  8. A strategic/integrated approach to surface water management.
  9. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  10. Improvement to transportation networks and specific highway concerns to be addressed:
    1. Pedestrian and cycle links required from south of A421 and A6 into Bedford (north/south).
    2. Detailed information on connection to Wixams Northern and Central Gateway roundabouts on the A6.
    3. Details of measures that will be implemented to prevent development related traffic from using village roads in Elstow to access the site.
    4. Contribution towards the provision of traffic lights on A421 junction to facilitate pedestrian and cycle movement.
    5. Assessment of capacity at Cow Bridge junction.

3.36 This is a business park site of a significant scale that is expected to take several years to complete. It will make provision for business park space throughout the plan period and perhaps beyond, depending on market conditions. It is well related to and visible from the strategic road network. The design and location of buildings within this site will be important in order to minimise landscape impact and coalescence with Wixams and Elstow. Three distinct development clusters are proposed in order to avoid one built mass of development.

3.37 A key design consideration will be to ensure that sufficient separation is provided between the proposed employment development and Elstow village. For this reason, land between the development allocation and the village is identified on the Policies Map as urban open space. This complies with criterion (vi) of Policy AD43 Urban Open Space. Proposals for development within the urban open space will be determined in accordance with Policy AD43.

3.38 Within the allocated site the Policies Map shows the general location of three distinct clusters of development. In accordance with criterion (ii) of the policy the precise location of built development, internal road layout, structural landscaping and detailed design of the open spaces between the three clusters of development, including hard and soft landscaping, vehicular, footpath and cycle connections will be determined through the preparation of a Master Plan for the site. Once the spaces between the clusters have been determined through the master planning process, they will be protected as urban open spaces in accordance with Policy AD43.

3.39 Significant green infrastructure benefits outside the allocated site will be delivered in association with the development, such as pedestrian and cycle links, recognising the objectives of the Bedford Green Wheel and Forest of Marston Vale projects. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Land at Medbury Farm

Policy AD12 Land at Bell Farm, Kempston

Land at Bell Farm will be developed for a mix of classes B1(a)(b) & (c), and B8 uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. Approx 18 hectares employment site.
  2. Contribution to the delivery of the objectives of the Forest of Marston Vale – particularly enhancing Bedford’s Green Gateway.
  3. Deliver a section of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park incorporating canal, cycle and pedestrian paths (possibly Sustrans Route 51) through the site.
  4. A strategic/integrated approach to surface water management.
  5. Enhance/strengthen important gap between Bell Farm and Wootton.
  6. Design to reflect site topography.
  7. Provision of a high quality landmark/gateway building at A421 junction.
  8. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  9. Improvements to transportation networks, including
    1. Pedestrian and cycle access to facilities west of Kempston and Wootton.
    2. Direct left in/left out access to Bedford Western Bypass.
    3. Junction design to facilitate dualling of Bedford Western Bypass in the future.
  10. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.

3.40 Bell Farm lies adjacent to the Bedford Western Bypass and has excellent links to the strategic road network. Its development provides the opportunity to deliver a stretch of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park along with high quality waterside business units. The site slopes, rising south to north which should be a major consideration in the design of the site. Particular attention should be paid to the impact of additional traffic movements on the Ridge Road/bypass junction and the A421/Cemetery Road junction. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Policy AD13 Marston Vale Innovation Park Phase 2, Wootton

Land adjacent to the Marston Vale Innovation Park will be developed for a mix of classes B1(a)(b) & (c) and B2 uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. 10 hectares employment site.
  2. Delivery of a section of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park in association with Phase 1, incorporating canal, cycle and pedestrian paths (possibly Sustrans Route 51).
  3. A strategic/integrated approach to surface water management.
  4. Contribution to Forest of Marston Vale.
  5. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  6. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.

3.41 Phase 2 of the Marston Vale Innovation Park is unlikely to come on-stream for a number of years as it relies on the completion of Phase 1 for its pedestrian, cycle and vehicular connections. Depending on market conditions, it is likely that development will begin towards the end of the plan period. It is allocated in this plan to allow the planning of Phase 2 to take place alongside that of Phase 1, including the delivery of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Policy AD14 Land at Cardington Cross, Bedford

Land at Cardington Cross will be developed for a mix of classes B1, B2 and B8 uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. 7 hectares employment site.
  2. Submission of a site specific flood risk assessment.
  3. Access via the old Cambridge Road only.
  4. Support for hotel associated with business use.
  5. Archaeological investigations will be required as a condition of planning permission.
  6. Improvements to transportation networks and specific highway concerns to be addressed
    1. Improve pedestrian links including access to bus stops on A603.
    2. Assess impact on A5134/Wallis Way/site access roundabout.
    3. Assess impact on A5134/A603 roundabout.
    4. Assess impact on A603 & A600 grade separated junctions with A421.
  7. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.
  8. Retention of existing landscaping where appropriate.

3.42 This site is close to the existing Priory Business Park. The re-allocation of the former park and ride allocation for employment increases the viability of the site and its prospects for delivery. It also affords the opportunity to maximise the value of the frontage to Cardington Road for business purposes at this key junction. Archaeological investigations will be required as a condition of planning permission.


Policy AD15 Manton Lane Reservoir Site, Bedford

Land at Manton Lane will be developed for a mix of classes B2 and B8 uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. 1.6 hectares employment site.
  2. Design to link into green access route around north/northwest of the town.
  3. Improvements to transportation networks and highway concerns to be addressed.
    1. Assess impact on Manton Lane/Brickhill Drive signal controlled junction.
    2. Assess impact on A6/Clapham Road/A5141 Shakespeare Rd/Manton Lane Roundabout.
    3. Investigate possibility of cycleway provision on Manton Lane.

3.43 This part of Manton Lane is an existing traditional employment area. Site AD15 lies within the existing built-up area and is surrounded by existing employment uses. This site was granted planning permission in February 2012 for a national police/government firearms training facility (including offices, armoury, canteen, training rooms and stores). As a result, there is some uncertainty about whether the proposed B2/B8 use will be delivered however the policy is retained in the Plan in order to provide the basis for determining any future applications for employment use.


Policy AD16 Land West of Manton Lane, Bedford

Land west of Manton Lane will be developed for classes B1(a)(b) & (c) and B2 uses. Key principles of development include:


  1. Development area restricted by ridgeline – estimate about 6 hectares of the site can accommodate development.
  2. Landscape enhancement required along ridgeline to screen development. Height of development close to ridgeline restricted to single storey (4.5m maximum).
  3. Compensate for loss of hedgerow required to create access.
  4. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  5. Improvements to transportation networks and highway concerns to be addressed:
    1. Create new footway/verge on west side of Manton Lane to afford safe pedestrian access to site.
    2. Provide section of green access route (for pedestrian and cyclists) around north west of town.
    3. Assess impact on Manton Lane/Brickhill Drive signal controlled junction.
    4. Assess impact on A6/Clapham Road/A5141 Shakespeare Rd/Manton Lane Roundabout.
    5. Investigate possibility of cycleway provision on Manton Lane.
  6. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.

3.44 AD16 lies on the very edge of the town and its development will allow landscaping and pedestrian access improvements to be delivered. There is a current on-street parking problem on this part of Manton Lane and on-street parking controls may be needed to afford two-way traffic movements. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.


Policy AD17 Land West of the B530, Kempston

Land west of the B530 will be developed for a mix of classes B1, B2, B8 employment use. Key development principles include:


  1. 3.4 hectares employment site.
  2. Submission of a site specific flood risk assessment.
  3. High standard of building design and landscaping to reflect importance of this gateway location.
  4. Access from the old A421.
  5. Pedestrian links to the Interchange Retail Park.
  6. Contribution to the delivery of the objectives of the Forest of Marston Vale.
  7. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.
  8. The development of the site to be guided by a Master Plan to be agreed by the local planning authority. The Master Plan should be for the whole of the site and be submitted to support the planning application.

3.45 Site conditions have prevented this former Local Plan allocation (Policy E4) from being developed; the majority of the site lies within flood zone 3. However, balancing ponds south of the A421 have recently been constructed which will allow the necessary flood compensation to be delivered and the site brought forward. For this reason the site is retained as an allocation. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site.

3.46 Additional employment space will be available at the Wixams northern expansion, land to the east of Eastcotts Road, Bedford, Land south of Ford End Road, Queens Park, Bedford and Bedford River Valley Park allocations.

3.47 Sites AD11, AD12, AD13, AD14, AD17 and AD23 support the concept of the A421 business corridor. Whilst the Manton Lane sites are more secondary in terms of location, they help to provide a range of affordable employment opportunities.

3.48 In addition to providing class B1 land, the proposed allocations also make provision for high quality class B2 and class B8 space and provide space on the larger sites for beyond the 2021 plan end date. The advantages of this approach are:


  • It lowers the risk of non delivery.
  • It allows for a greater range of sites to be allocated to meet the needs of different sectors of the market.
  • It allows greater flexibility to respond to changing economic circumstances.
  • It reinforces the message that Bedford is serious about delivering high quality employment locations to boost the recovery of the housing market and the growth agenda in general.
  • It builds in capacity for the emerging post 2021 period, recognising the lead in times associated with such strategic provision.

3.49 As part of this Plan, four existing employment sites are allocated for alternative uses either in whole or in part. These are sites where class B2 (manufacturing) uses have been carried out in the past. In some cases buildings have already been cleared. In all cases there are benefits to supporting the change of use of the land. At land south of Ford End Road (Policy AD6) and Dallas Road (Policy AD8), new highway infrastructure will be delivered in association with housing. At land south of Ford End Road, a small amount of replacement employment space will also be delivered. At land east of Eastcotts Road (Policy AD7) new public open space will be made available over and above that required by the proposed housing development and a small amount of replacement employment space is also proposed. At Old Ford End Road (Policy AD4) the difficult relationship between any replacement employment buildings and adjacent residential uses will be resolved as a result of the site’s allocation for housing.

3.50 In total this loss of employment land amounts to 10ha (based on total site areas). The amount of new employment land allocated in the Plan is sufficient to compensate for this loss.

Hotels

3.51 During the early part of 2009, the Council worked with East of England Tourism and consultants Hotel Solutions to assess the potential for the future development of hotel and visitor accommodation in the borough. The resulting report ‘Bedford Borough Hotel & Visitor Accommodation Futures’ is available as a background document to the Allocations and Designations Local Plan.

3.52 Several sites have been proposed through the ‘call for sites’ process for hotel accommodation. As part of the study, Hotel Solutions assessed the submitted sites purely in terms of their locational suitability for hotel use and without reference to other material planning considerations. Their assessment can be found at Appendix 16 to the consultants’ main report.

3.53 Hotel Solutions also undertook an assessment of quantitative and qualitative need for hotel accommodation. They identified current market potential for all of the following:


  • 3 or 4 new budget and upper tier budget hotels.
  • A large branded 3 star hotel; 100-120 rooms linked to a business park or office development.
  • A small 30-50 room boutique hotel.
  • Existing 3 and 4 star hotels to expand/upgrade.

3.54 The Bedford Town Centre Area Action Plan already makes a number of proposals for large scale mixed use development. These sites, along with other redevelopment opportunities in the town centre, could include new hotel provision. Because of this and in the light of the consultants’ findings, the Council is not making allocations for stand-alone hotels in the town.

3.55 For qualitative reasons the provision of hotels is supported in the allocations for employment development at Medbury Farm and Cardington Cross (see earlier in this chapter). An alternative hotel location to replace the committed hotel site at Land North of Bromham Road (Policy H8 in the Local Plan) is also proposed (see Policy AD18). These sites will cater for business demand. A hotel also forms part of the Bedford River Valley Park proposals which are included in the Plan (see Chapter 6).

3.56 In taking this approach, it is recognised that these four new hotel sites may not quite meet the identified need. Planning applications for hotels on other sites will be considered in the light of the required sequential test undertaken and submitted at the time of the application, the impact on the viability of key town centre schemes where appropriate, any qualitative justification and any other material planning considerations.


Policy AD18 Land North of the A6-A428 Link Road, Bedford

Land north of the A6-A428 link road will be developed to provide a hotel. Key principles of development include:


  1. Single hotel building in a parkland setting to replace the hotel site approved in the saved H8 development brief.
  2. Landscape appraisal will guide the location and design of the building.
  3. Hotel to come forward in association with the adjacent employment development. If brought forward ahead of the employment development, an assessment will be required to determine impact on the delivery of sequentially preferable town centre hotel commitments.
  4. Financial contribution towards the delivery of the western bypass phase 2.
  5. Financial contribution towards the park and ride facility.
  6. Financial contribution towards establishment of the proposed country park.
  7. Planning application to be accompanied by a transport assessment and travel plan for the site.
  8. Retention of a wildlife corridor beside the river, to be kept free from development.
  9. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation.

3.57 The proposed hotel site north of the A6-A428 link road will replace the hotel site contained in the adopted ‘Land North of Bromham Road’ development brief (see also saved Local Plan Policy H8). An assessment by hotel specialist ‘Hotel Solutions’ of the hotel site in the development brief concluded that it would be inappropriate for hotel use. The site now proposed presents the opportunity to bring forward a hotel in association with the planned employment area and in a high quality parkland setting. As a new development area within the Policy H8 boundary, contributions towards associated infrastructure will be required. Pre-determination archaeological evaluation work is required due to potentially significant archaeological remains on this site. This will establish the nature and complexity of the surviving archaeological deposits and must be undertaken prior to the submission of any planning application. It will allow due consideration to be given to the archaeological implications of development and may lead to proposals for mitigation and/ or the need for further investigation.




1. Background Paper: Flexibility allowance for housing provision in the growth area 2010.

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