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Local Plan Adoption to Strengthen Planning Committee’s Hand

January 16, 2020 4:00 PM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Cllr Jon AbbottThe Chair of Bedford Borough Council's Planning Committee has hailed the adoption of the Bedford Borough Local Plan as a major boost for its work in supporting, protecting and enhancing local communities. Councils are required to produce a Local Plan to show where and how development will take place.

The plan was approved at last night's Full Council meeting without a single vote against it. It comes into immediate effect, establishing the scale, nature and location of development in Bedford Borough in the period to 2030.

The Council is required by law to plan for the "Objectively Assessed Need" for 14,550 new homes in its area. The plan also includes a comprehensive array of policies covering issues including the local and wider environment, the economy, transport and community facilities.

The plan's site allocations and policies provide the framework for decisions of the Council's Planning Committee whose Chair, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jon Abbott, has welcomed the plan's adoption and the high standards it sets for local communities.

He said: "The adoption of this plan gives us control of our own destiny again. The government's imposition of its own impossible five year supply left communities across the borough vulnerable to inappropriate and unsuitable development. We now have an excellent plan which strengthens our hand in the task of ensuring the good quality, sustainable development that the Borough needs can be delivered."

The adoption of the plan also means the Council now has a demonstrable 'Five Year Supply' of new homes. Without one, there is a tilted balance in favour of new developments unless there are overwhelming reasons for the Planning Committee to refuse them and that has resulted in developments gaining planning permission that would not now be allowed - a very frustrating situation for local communities.

This has been the situation locally since the government's decision that despite having submitted its local plan to the Planning Inspectorate under the local Objectively Assessed Need, Bedford Borough had to be subject to the Government's own centrally-determined formula while it awaited approval and then adoption of its plan.