Thumbs up for massive expansion of Houghton Regis
Councillors gave the go-ahead for an ‘urban extension’ of 7,000 homes to the north of Houghton Regis at a meeting this morning.
Despite concerns from the public about over-development and the infrastructure required, members of Central Beds Council’s executive committee agreed the ‘framework plan’ for development.
The decision followed a consultation over the summer, in which the Houghton Regis Development Consortium, made up of Lands Improvements Holdings and AXA Real Estate Management, put forwards its vision for developing the area.
The plans show a swathe of land between the M1 and A5 proposed for housing development and employment areas. Also included are new roads, roundabouts, ‘community hubs’, new schools and ‘nature and ecology areas’.
It is anticipated the development will take place over the next 20 years, and the first planning application is expected this month.
Central to the success of the scheme will be the Woodside Connection link road, approved in principle at the same meeting, and the A5-M1 link road, a government announcement on which is expected by the end of this year.
Councillor Susan Goodchild, who represents the Houghton Hall ward, said there was “no doubt” that the area needed more housing.
“We’ve got to give our young people the opportunity to become home owners,” she said.
“The biggest issue is getting the assurance that the infrastructure will come before housing.
“The traffic situation in Houghton Regis is extremely onerous, particularly if there’s a problem with the motorway.
“We also need adequate health provision. We are no longer sleepy Houghton Regis, we are likely to become a big town.
“We have to hope that the developers listened to what our residents said during the consultation.”
Concerns were raised during the consultation by Natural England and English Heritage over features such as the Thorn Spring Scheduled Ancient Monument and the Houghton Regis Chalk Pit.
Comments from residents included concerns about flooding, Green Belt land being built on, that the new homes would not be affordable for local people, that it would increase traffic congestion in the area and that valuable countryside will be lost and the character of the area destroyed.
>Click here to see what’s planned for Houghton Regis.
>What do you think of the development proposals? Have your say below or email us at email@example.com
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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