DLP Planning Ltd have submitted representations to Bedford Borough Council’s ‘Call for Sites’ and the accompanying ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on behalf of Marcol and Bedfordia to create a sustainable new village at the Twinwoods Business Park, located to the north of Bedford.
The submission was made as part of the response to the Council’s development plan review, and is well timed following the government’s Budget announcement on new settlements and the potential support it is proposing to make available to council’s where these are seen as a positive response to meeting local needs and increasing the supply of housing.
The landholding, which overall extends to some 900 hectares and is in the ownership of both Marcol and Bedfordia, currently comprises the Twinwoods Business Park, originally an MOD owned wind tunnel and aerodynamics research site acquired by Marcol out of receivership in 2015, and surrounding agricultural land owned and farmed by Bedfordia.
The ‘scheme vision’ is to create a self-sustaining new settlement on the under-used and previously developed land at Twinwoods Business Park and the surrounding land, which will make a substantial contribution to meeting the Borough’s long term housing and growth needs and provide a range of wider community benefits.
The submissions, supported by an initial ‘concept masterplan’ prepared by be1 Architects, Matrix Transportation and Infrastructure Ltd and the Landmark Practice provides for a fully self-supporting and sustainable new settlement providing up to 6,000 high quality homes, including affordable, starter and self-build housing, together with supporting community facilities, local shopping, medical facilities and schools, new business related development and a wide range of recreation land, public open and greenspaces.
The development concept extends over some 450 hectares of land, of which approximately 230 hectares comprises built development, a large part of which is previously developed land formed of the Twinwoods Business Park.
The scheme will also provide for extensive areas of new green infrastructure associated with the development, this extending to approximately 220 hectares of land and will be designed to including a wide mix of formal and informal recreational and play space areas, strategic and local landscape and amenity land, new public woodland zones and areas for biodiversity enhancement.
The balance of the land will remain in agricultural use but will be positively managed to provide both further landscape and amenity zones and green corridors that will contribute to the setting of the proposed new settlement.
A key element of the proposal is transport sustainability. The site lies close to Bedford and is accessed via the A6, a strategic transport route. The proposal provides for a diversion of the A6 around the villages of Milton Ernest and Bletsoe and thus will bypass for those communities and improve the traffic capacity/operation of the route.
Further off-site improvements will be planned in cooperation with the Highway Authority and local communities so as to improve local networks and provide amenity improvements in nearby villages. There will also be provision for public transport and a strategy for extending footpaths, cycle and bridleways.
The promoters have been in active engagement with a number of local parish councils and Members over the proposals and are working towards a series of planning workshops with community groups alongside technical consultants to develop the proposals.