Marston Vale New Villages – an update on the Development Brief

O&H has now finished preparing the Development Brief for the Marston Vale New Villages. You can see the final version here, along with the Statement of Community Involvement:

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 is a key tool for Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) to inform its consideration of future planning applications for the site. It demonstrates how the development will address relevant national and local policy and guidance in order to achieve high quality, sustainable development.

In 2021, Central Bedfordshire Council requested that O&H Strategic Land carry out the public consultation on the Development Brief for the Marston Vale New Villages.

The public engagement that was carried out last year resulted in 134 written responses from local residents. The level of detail contained in each response was extremely diverse, addressing many different factors associated with a new development but also looking at issues that are dealt with at different stages of the planning process.

It has taken many months to scrutinise each comment, determine which stage of the planning process it pertained to and then agree with CBC whether a change would be needed to the document. It was only at this stage that the draft Development Brief could be edited and re-presented to the Council for consideration.

As you will see in the Statement of Community Involvement, 83 changes were made to the draft Development Brief as a direct result of the public engagement. Further edits to the Development Brief then continued to be made as revised drafts were presented to CBC’s Members Advisory Group and the Stakeholder Reference Group, up to February 2022. The comments and queries that flowed from these groups were reconsidered by both O&H’s consultant team and CBC officers and further changes made to either clarify or update the text.

The Council is now taking the Development Brief to its Development Management Committee on 16 March, asking for endorsement. Planning permission for the development of the site will only be granted following the endorsement of the Development Brief, but the Council’s determination of the Outline Planning Application does not happen at that meeting – that will be at the next stage of the planning process.

Any resident who wishes to speak at the Development Management Committee meeting can make a request to do so (up until 5pm on 15 March). See information about the meeting here.

O&H originally submitted its Outline Planning Application for Marston Valley in May 2018. We will soon be submitting an update to this application which will be subject to full public consultation in the usual way. This consultation will be handled by CBC, and we will post a link to that as soon as it starts.

In the meantime, please register for updates via CBC’s website.

Please note, a separate survey by the Council on its Design Guide is also taking place until 31 March. The Design Guide sets out design expectation for new developments such as defining a distinctive character and enhancing qualities of the local area. This Design Guide relates to the whole Central Bedfordshire area and is not specific to Marston Valley. O&H is not involved in running this survey.

You can take part in the Council’s survey here.