Development is “not considered to deliver a net gain for biodiversity”
A planning application for ten new dwellings in Lodge Road, Cranfield has been refused by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee (DMC) meeting held on 17 June 2019.
The application had been recommended for approval by the council’s planning department, subject to a Section 106 agreement.
Cranfield Parish Council had objected to the application. Speaking at the DMC meeting, PCllr Alan Bastable said that the application was “trying to put a quart into a very unsuitable pint pot”. He added:
“Cranfield has taken over 800 new houses in recent years it is not align with overdevelopment but to destroy one of the few remaining rural areas for just 10 houses is unfair to the people of Cranfield.”
Andrew Wright, from Kirkby Diamond (property consultants) on behalf of the applicant said:
“This application is the result of close collaborative working with officers over the last 18 months and a considerable investment by the applicant to ensure that the matters raised during the consultation process had been properly considered and suitably addressed.”
Addressing the DMC as a ward member, Cllr Sue Clark said that the application would have an “urbanising influence“on Lodge Road.
After discussion and the clarification of various points, the DMC voted that the application should be refused on grounds of:
1) The proposed layout, access arrangements and scale of development would result in a harmful urbanising impact to the detriment of the rural character and appearance of the site, wider landscape and local amenity. The development would also result in the removal of a non-designated heritage asset which is considered to be an important feature in the landscape and of historical significance in the wider setting. As such the proposed development is contrary to policies CS14, CS15, CS16, DM3, DM13 and DM14 of the North Core Strategy and Development Management Policies 2009 and chapters 12, 15 and 16 of the NPPF.
2) Having regard to the characteristics of the existing site, the proposed development will result in the loss or deterioration of existing habitats and harm to existing biodiversity with inadequate provision for mitigation. The development is not therefore considered to deliver a net gain for biodiversity and as such is considered to result in ecological harm contrary to policy DM15 of the North Core Strategy and Development Management Policies 2009 and chapter 15 of the NPPF.
The site is also part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan, which is currently under examination. A date for any decisions on the soundness of the Plan has yet to be set.