Local Plan Examination Hearing discusses Cranfield sites

Hearing session was to investigate the site’s suitability for development in principle

Just days after a planning application for ten new homes on a site in Lodge Road, Cranfield was refused, it was discussed again in Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) Chambers (19th June 2019).

This time it was as a site allocated for development by CBC’s Local Plan.

At the time of the Hearing, the Development Management Committee’s (DMC) decision had not been published, so the team representing CBC wasn’t entirely sure of the issues.

Between them, the CBC team said that the application was turned down for biodiversity and character reasons. Also, that the decision was taken politically as the planning officer had recommended the application for approval.

Martin Pickard, a Cranfield resident, was at the DMC meeting to speak against the development. He told the Hearing:

“As someone who was there, the debate centred around a flawed assessment of the site.

“It failed to include the recognition of the tree preservation orders on the site.

“It failed to include the recognition of the quiet lane that adjoins the site.

“It failed to include any recognition of the fact that the quiet lane is a natural boundary of the village.

“It failed to recognise the historical landscape and non-designated heritage assets that there are on that site as listed in the landscape heritage assessment of 2006.

“No councillor voted in favour of the development.”

Mr Pickard said that for 25 years the council had supported the residents over the site, but “this time the council has let us down badly.”

Andrew Wright, from Kirkby Diamond (property consultants) attended the DMC meeting on behalf of the applicant. He told the Hearing that the application was revised during the consultation process to take the tree preservation orders into account. He added:

“The council did acknowledge that it intended to treat Lodge Road as though it was a quiet lane, but this development did not conflict with that informal designation.”

CBC said that it does not have any records of the road being a quiet lane.

Mr Wright said:

“We are satisfied that we can accommodate changes to deal with the technical issues that have been identified.
“The purpose of this examination hearing is the matter of principle of the site.”

CBC reminded the Inspector that the DMC decision was not objecting to the development of the site in principle. The Inspector asked CBC to send him all the relevant information from the DMC meeting.

Lodge Road Cranfield Image: Google

East End Farm

The development at East End Farm was also discussed at the hearing.

The boundary for this site had been changed since the planning application was approved. One change was over ownership issues, the other was for topology reasons. Although during the Hearing there was some confusion to which version of the boundary plan was the correct one.

The Inspector asked to be sent information to clarify the reasons for the changes.

There were no questions or comments on this site from the landowners or Cranfield residents.

The Examination Hearing Programme is to run over five weeks. There are two weeks remaining:

  • 16-19 July 2019 – Week 4 hearing sessions
  • 23-26 July 2019 – Week 5 hearing sessions

A date for the final ruling has not been set.

Visit the CBC website for more information on the Independent Examination of the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan.