Draft plan for new homes around Luton
PROPOSALS to build 14,000 new homes across Bedfordshire, with 4,000 planned for a clump of green belt land on the outskirts of Luton, could become a reality by 2014.
An initial draft of plans to build housing on four sites across the county are set to go to public consultation later this month, with a nearby rail freight interchange earmarked for Sundon.
Central Beds Council’s Draft Development Strategy includes an annex of Luton to the north of the town stretching from the A6 close to Keech Hospice Care to the M1 close to Lower Sundon and would effectively extend the town into the green belt.
Plans for the site, which also include undisclosed community facilities, are dependent on a proposed Luton Northern Bypass linking the A6 and M1 and the construction of Junction 11A on the motorway.
The proposed bypass would create a boundary ensuring that both Streatley and Sundon are not swallowed up by Luton according to the draft.
But the plans have already sparked anger among some local residents. A protest group lobbying against the plans has already been set up on social networking website Facebook by Streatley Parish Council chair Lynne Hammond along with a questionnaire sent out to local homeowners urging them to object.
Councillor Hammond said yesterday: “There’s never been a confirmed route for the bypass agreed. While one of the proposals is that it provides a solid boundary to the countryside, another proposal is for development on either side of the bypass. That would be my worst nightmare and further development could see Streatley become a suburb of Luton.
“I fully recognise that everyone has to live somewhere and people need jobs. I have no problem with the development where it is if I thought it was going to provide jobs and homes for local people who need them, but it won’t. The industrial part of the plans will provide low paid work so anyone who buys these houses isn’t going to work there – the income and the housing costs won’t go together.”
As well as plans for land north of Luton, the proposals, which were discussed by Central Beds Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee on Monday morning, could see a further 7,000 homes built to the north of Houghton Regis, 2,500 to the east of Leighton Buzzard and 500 affordable dwellings built further north in the county.
A total of 19 prospective sites were analysed by councillors with 14 deemed unsuitable.
Initial plans to build 500 new homes and infrastructure on one of the 19 sites to the north of Barton were met with outrage among village residents after going on public display last week – but look set to be excluded from the draft Development Strategy.
Scores of local homeowners gathered to see outline proposals for the development on the outskirts of the village at St Nicholas Church Hall on Thursday and Friday.
But many residents, some of whom said that the proposals came as a bolt out of the blue after leaflets were posted through doors a fortnight ago, were left unimpressed by what they saw.
Roger Taylor said: “They’ll promise everything but they’ll deliver nothing.
“When Grange Road was being planned I went to several meetings and they promised all sorts but all we got was houses.”
Barton resident of 40 years Tim Cox said: “It will increase the size of the village by 100 per cent. This is a village and we want it to stay that way.
“If a lot of these people have to commute to say Luton they’ve got to come into the existing part of the village to get to the train station or the main road.”
Although the draft Development Strategy says that the proposals could contribute to the housing needs of Central Beds, it deems the plans for the Barton development ‘not appropriate’ as they do not ‘reflect the current scale and character of the village.’
The completed draft strategy is expected to go to initial public consultation from June 20 until August 8 before going back to Central Beds Council ahead of final publication in December and submission to the secretary of state next May.
A final decision on whether the development will go ahead is expected to be made by December 2013 and building work could begin by February 2014.
An original ‘core strategy’ for 19,000 homes to be built to the east of Leighton Buzzard, north of Houghton Regis, north and east of Luton was scrapped last July after four years of work by Luton and Central Beds councillors.
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Weather for Luton
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west