An outline planning application has been submitted by O&H Properties Ltd to Central Bedfordshire Council for a series of linked new villages in the Marston Vale.
Located right in the heart of the Oxford to Cambridge arc, the Marston Valley development will bring significant new infrastructure, community facilities and up to 5,000 homes for the local area, built over a 20-year period.
One of the highlights of the Marston Valley proposal is a major new waterway park connecting existing lakes. It would be the first new English waterway in over 100 years.
The development will also deliver new jobs, new schools, leisure facilities, better public transport and health facilities.
Approximately 45% of the 566 hectare site will be for built development, and over 55% (more than 300 hectares of the site) will be green open space, allotments, orchards, nature areas, lakes and water. No Green Belt land is affected.
More than 20% of households in the area attended exhibitions and meetings in February and March this year as part of a public engagement programme.
O&H has refined its plans for Marston Valley following feedback from the engagement programme and these are reflected in the application material. Changes include providing greater woodland buffers to the east of Lidlington to put more distance between the existing village and the new housing, and introducing a limited extension to the village of Brogborough for some smaller family homes.
Pippa Cheetham, head of planning at O&H, said:
“O&H is excited to be submitting this application, which represents a long period of local engagement and will allow the company to demonstrate its commitment to building the high-quality places sought by central government, community leaders and local people alike.
“The engagement from local residents was very helpful and while some are opposed to development, we have benefitted from many others’ openness and suggestions as to how the Marston Valley proposal can work for them.
“We have made changes to the original plans in the light of those suggestions. We hope the Council recognises the efforts made by all involved to make the Marston Valley work for both existing and new residents.
“Our vision is to create an exceptional living environment in the Marston Vale where people will be proud to live and work, and will want to visit. Our scheme will promote healthy lifestyles with an emphasis on footpaths and cycle routes, and can provide housing to meet wide-ranging community needs.
“Marston Valley is about taking a strategic, long-term approach to planning for the wider needs of the area, not just building houses.
“Releasing the land for up to 5,000 homes over the next 20 years not only provides much-needed homes for an expanding population, but also generates funding to pay for new facilities and strategic improvements in the Marston Vale which couldn’t otherwise be considered.
“Delivering Marston Valley as a comprehensive development is crucial to secure significant investment in infrastructure. Smaller scale or piecemeal development does not provide the same level of coordinated infrastructure. That’s why we need to have a bold vision for the future of the Vale.”
The planning application will now be reviewed by planning officers at Central Bedfordshire Council and a formal consultation is being held by the council. The consultation period is for five weeks and letters to residents will be issued from this week onwards.
All comments on the application should go directly to the council.
The application reference number is: CB/18/01969/OUT, and a dedicated area has been created for the Marston Valley outline planning application on Central Bedfordshire Council’s website.