An update on the current planning situation

As many visitors to this website know, the planning consultation process for the Marston Vale New Villages started in 2018, and this process helped to inform the outline planning application for the development which was submitted in May 2018.

Detailed information about this outline planning application is available on the Central Bedfordshire Council website.

An additional public consultation carried out earlier this year (Feb-March 2021) was for a different stage of the planning process – the Development Brief.

The Development Brief doesn’t go into lots of detail on things like highways and homes, but is an important strategic planning document that sets out the overall vision for new development proposals.

The Development Brief will become a key tool for the Council to inform its consideration of future planning applications. A Development Brief must be in place before planning permission is granted for the development. It will be used by Central Bedfordshire Council as technical guidance to help them decide whether our proposed new development will satisfy the policies in the Local Plan.

Central Bedfordshire Council requested that O&H Land carry out the public consultation on the Development Brief for the Marston Vale New Villages. This is standard procedure and in complete accordance with the Council’s own adopted guidance on Development Briefs.

The consultation ran for five weeks, from Wednesday 24 February to 31 March. Requests for additional time were received from parish councils, ward members and other stakeholder groups, and consequently any responses received by 9 April were also included in the consultation report.

The full report on the public consultation and its results (a ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ or SCI) is being prepared by O&H Land and will be published on the CBC website alongside all other information. A summary will also be published on this website.

The SCI includes full details of the communications with local residents, and all their responses to the consultation (with personal details redacted where legally required because of data protection regulations).

The responses to the latest consultation were very detailed. Most comments were not necessarily linked to the detail of the Development Brief itself. However, comments did cover a wide range of other issues, questions and reserved matters, some of which will need to be subject to future discussion and consultation.

In particular, transport assessments and all highways and rail-related planning details are not, and were never meant to be, included in the Development Brief consultation earlier this year. The Development Brief stage of the planning process does not deal with such matters.

However, they will be dealt with at future stages, and each and every comment received from local residents and community groups in relation to transport issues will be carried forward to inform those next stages of decision making.

Every single comment, suggestion and query has been recorded and assigned to the relevant stage of decision making in the planning process, and all items relating directly to the Development Brief are now informing the final revisions to that document. This work is taking longer than initially expected, simply due to the volume of responses and the very detailed work needed to analyse each one.

Central Bedfordshire Council will be publishing the SCI, including all residents’ responses to the recent consultation, and this will be made available to everyone, through the normal channels and at the usual time. Central Bedfordshire Council will also be meeting with the Marston Vale Stakeholder Reference Group to keep them informed.

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