Greenfield campaigners stage protest in Houghton Regis

They are fighting plans for housing in Windsor Drive

By Lynn Hughes
Monday, 14th February 2022, 2:56 pm
Campaigners protesting on Sunday
Campaigners protesting on Sunday

Campaigners fighting proposed plans for housing on Windsor Drive in Houghton Regis turned out on force at the site on Sunday as part of the CPRE Bedfordshire’s Save our Greenfield Protest Walk.

Organised by The Friends of Windsor Drive Community Open Space Group, around 60 people braved the wind and cold weather in support of the national petition demanding an end to private house building targets, a ban on large scale housing development on greenfield sites and a call for all new homes to be built to the highest environmental standards.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) wants to build up to 100 new homes on Windsor Drive, one of the last green open spaces in Houghton Regis, according to campaigners.

Campaigners are opposed to housing plans on the green belt site

A spokesman for the group said: "The town has already seen huge amounts of rural and agricultural land lost to building 8,000 plus new homes. The residents have had enough and want to keep the land at Windsor Drive as an open space for all to enjoy. Use of the land is so important to mental health and wellbeing, particularly during the pandemic.

"CBC are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to justify their proposals to build, commissioning site surveys, inspections, and so-called Listening Events, when the reality is they are not listening at all.

"The Friends of Windsor Drive are in the process of trying to set up a meeting with Julie Ogley, Director of Social Care, Health and Housing at CBC. Unfortunately, she wants to wait until her team have spent the hundreds of thousands of pounds on site assessments and investigations, before speaking with us, the residents, to whom the land actually belongs. CBC have totally lost sight of the fact that they are only custodians of the land and that their wages are paid by taxpayers. Their arrogance and blatant disregard for the voice of the community is staggering unfortunately."

Speaking after a listening event on Windsor Drive in November last year, Cllr Eugene Ghent, Executive member for Housing & Assets, said: “We are exploring whether we could develop much-needed affordable housing on some of the land at Windsor Drive, while improving the remaining open space for community use. We are still at a very early stage and we really want the public to get involved in the process and we have committed to listening to the views of local people before taking the idea any further.

“I would like to encourage anyone who wants to stay up to date with how the ideas develop and opportunities to discuss this with us to sign up for our email bulletins at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/windsor-drive

CBC has approved a budget of more than £20million for Windsor Drive but has said no proposals will be developed until it has listened to the views of residents.