Family’s home to move from a hamlet to a large village
Rebecca Turner was one of two members Lidlington Action Group attending the January’s Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) meeting. They were there to remind CBC that there is opposition to the four Marston Valley villages planned by the council’s Local Plan.
Ms Turner took this opportunity to tell a personal story of how building 5000 new homes would change the lives of a Lidlington family.
“My fellow villager purchased his ‘forever home’ for his young family in a hamlet called ‘Office Cottages’, a neat row of 19th century houses bordering a quiet country lane just outside the village centre.
“The cottages are surrounded by beautiful farmland stretching off into the distance and enjoy amazing views over the Greensand Ridge.”
She added that the planning application put forward by O&H Properties, and supported by the Local Plan, would mean that Office Cottages will no longer be surrounded by productive farmland with “amazing” views. She said:
“In fact they will no longer even be in the village of Lidlington.
“Without packing a single cardboard box the families of Office Cottages will be moved to a new village named Lower Boughton.
“I use the term village loosely as, in the Vision for the Marston Valley, Lower Boughton actually looks like Milton Keynes.”
New home numbers set by the government
Ms Turner asked the councillors to imagine how they would feel if their rural home-for-life was thrust into the middle of a huge building site for years, to emerge in an urban landscape.
“This story is repeated with many families in many of the Marston Vale villages and further afield.
“We are witnessing the destruction of this countryside and indeed the death of rural Bedfordshire and it is happening on your watch Councillors.”
In response, Cllr Nigel Young, CBC Executive Member for Regeneration said:
“We don’t want to see the death of rural Bedfordshire, and one of our primary motivations in having a local plan is that we will be able to control the quality of development and the benefits, not only for the new residents, but also for the existing residents.
“But that isn’t going to be the case for everybody.
“We can do this by preventing coalescence, but in your specific case I know that Sheep Tick End will be affected and you will make that points to the inspector [at the public hearings].
“If we don’t build the number of homes the government tells us to build then essentially we will find ourselves back in position where developers are carrying out raids into Central Bedfordshire and we would lose control of the place that we are trying to create.”
Local Plan Public Hearings
Members of the public opposed to any aspect of CBC’s Local Plan will get the chance to voice their feelings at the public stage of the plan’s examination.
Following another request for additional information by the planning inspector, this stage has been delayed until May 2019.
The next full CBC Council meeting is at 18:30 on 21 February 2019.