Former ambulance site in Dunstable could be demolished to make way for 60 apartments

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Plans have already been approved for a new ambulance station on Brewers Hill Road

The former Dunstable Ambulance Station site is set to be redeveloped by Central Bedfordshire Council’s housing company, subject to planning approval.

New Vista Homes has applied to the local authority to demolish the Kingsway site and build 60 apartments on it.

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These would be in two blocks, including some affordable flats, parking and garden space, with 58 parking spaces and storage for 122 bicycles.

The former Dunstable Ambulance Station siteThe former Dunstable Ambulance Station site
The former Dunstable Ambulance Station site

Part of the site is vacant after the demolition of the former Dunstable Magistrates Court building, while the other section is occupied by the ambulance station, according to the planning documents.

The plans include eight one-bedroom and 34 two-bed apartments for market sale, 13 flats for social rent and five affordable properties.

A New Vista Homes design and access statement said: “There are a number of significant constraints on the site, which will have a severe impact on any potential development proposals for this parcel of brownfield land.

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“These include a number of mature trees around the boundary and within the land, as well as a public footpath along the outside of the north western boundary.

“Beneath the ground the site is constrained by the presence of a foul water sewer and a surface water sewer.

“The relationship between the two apartment blocks is considered to be satisfactory to avoid any adverse loss of privacy for future occupiers.

“The centrally located residential gardens are considered a positive feature and have been retained in the final design.”

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CBC’s highways officers note the parking provision is below that of its adopted minimum standards, but are comfortable with one space per flat with an extra couple for visitors.

This is because of the town centre location, with a good range of services within walking distance, as well as public transport connections and the availability of other car parks for visitor parking.

Plans were approved in December 2021 for a new ambulance station on Brewers Hill Road.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust applied for a change of use to put two temporary buildings on the vacant former CBC highways depot.

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A large warehouse and storage building and separate single story office were located on this site, although the offices were demolished in 2019.

Parking would be provided within the site for staff vehicles along with dedicated ambulance bays, while 32 staff would be employed, said the planning documents.

“There would be 18 ambulances which would be used to provide a patient transfer service taking them to appointments at hospital, treatment centres and similar facilities. It wouldn’t operate as an emergency blue light service.”

This area “was vacant for a significant period of time” following relocation of the highways depot to Thorn Turn at Houghton Regis.

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“The agent was asked to provide tree planting along the boundary to provide some screening from public viewpoints, but this wasn’t agreed,” explained the planning consent letter.

“This would have been beneficial but isn’t considered a reason for refusal.”

CBC’s development management committee is expected to consider the New Vista Homes project in the near future.