Marston Thrift Credit: Catesby Estates

A new 2,000 home community

There could be a new neighbour for Marston Moretaine. Catesby Estates has proposed building a new 2,000 home development off Beancroft Road.

As well as the new homes, ‘Marston Thrift’ will also have a 50-bed extra care facility, schools, healthcare facilities, shops, a countryside park and new community woodland.

Marston Thrift will not be combined with existing local villages. A countryside park will provide a buffer around the development.

Catesby Estates Senior Planning Manager, Ed Barrett, said:

“At the local level the site has excellent connections to the A421, which will form part of the express way between Oxford and Cambridge.

“It is also in the vicinity of the new east-west rail station at Brogborough. It is a very sustainable location from that perspective.”

Catesby Estates are not home builders, they act as the master developer and aline with national house builders to move the development forward.

“We completely control all the infrastructure. All the green spaces, the roads, etc. will be built by Catesby.
“Service plots will be created for the house builders. We would dictate the layout.

“The builders would be under a strict design code that we would establish. This would control materials, the sizes of the properties, etc.”

Not in the Local Plan

Unlike proposals near Lidlington, Marston Thrift is not reliant on significant new infrastructure. However, it was not included in Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) Local Plan.

“In 2017, we were invited to make a submission to them [CBC] for the site to be included in the Local Plan.

“We were surprised and disappointed to see that we weren’t included. Officers had told us that our site is a suitable location and that there are no significant constraints to its delivery.

“But for whatever reason, they chose not to allocate it.”

Two new lower schools and a local centre

Education facilities in the proposal include a 2 form entry (FE) lower school and a combined 4FE middle/2FE school. There is already a lower school close to the proposed envelopment, Shelton Lower School, which is under consolation for possible closure. Why would two new lower schools need to be built when one nearby might be closed?

“We would be willing to consider contributions to that school [Shelton Lower]. We were very much led by the local authority when preparing the education proposals.

“They were adamant that they wanted to see a new primary school. We were really just following the guidance we received from the local authority.”

The local centre would include a community building; health and social care facilities; small supermarket; café; 2 retail units; pub/restaurant; and parking for a ‘park and share’ facility. ƒ

A new community with an old name

Marston Thrift already exists, and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. The proposed site runs up to what remains of Marston Thrift. This is a now biological Site of Special Scientific Interest located between Cranfield and Marston Moretaine.

Its status gives it protection from development. How will this proposal ensure than the Thrift is maintained?

“Our site runs up to the existing Marston Thrift SSSI. We are proposing a significant extension to the woodland that exists at present.

“We had one discussion with the Community Forest, our hope would be that we could transfer the new area of woodland planting that we will create to them.”

Have your say on Marston Thrift

Planning has not been submitted yet, and Catesby Estates is still working with local stakeholders and action groups to finalise the plans. If anyone has feedback on the idea they can contact the planning team.

Catesby Estates marketing and communications manager, Katie Yates, said:

“We are very conscious that there are a lot of proposals for the area, we really do want to engage with people at an early stage. People’s feedback on this site is really key to us.”

Presentations on the proposal have not been arranged at this early stage, but Catesby representative are willing to visit locals to discuss the idea. Feedback can be given at the Marston Thrift website.