Progress – our Local Plan gets adopted at long last!

The Allocations and Designations Local Plan – Adopted
The Allocations and Designations Local Plan, which sets out new development allocations and designations for areas of land where specific policies will apply within Bedford Borough, was adopted by Full Council on 17th July. The document and the formal notice can be viewed on and downloaded from the council’s website using the following link.

An extract is here relating to the Bedford Rowing Lake:

115.The creation of the Bedford River Valley Park (BRVP), which lies to the east of
Bedford within the wider Forest of Marston Vale and encompasses the existing
Priory Country Park, is a long-standing and key part of the Council’s
endeavour to deliver appropriate green infrastructure. It falls within Green
Infrastructure Zone 3 (Lower Great Ouse River Valley) and is identified as one
of the key priorities for development. At over 800ha in size the park is
designed to provide multi-functional green space close to Bedford to serve the
recreational needs of an expanding population. It includes within its boundary a proposal for a 2000m+ long water-sports lake, a much-needed facility both locally and regionally. Having regard to these matters I believe that the BRVP proposal is a vital ingredient in the planning of the future of the Borough and merits strong support and endorsement.

The above was facilitated with a large degree of the Pubic support shown for the project going back to Public Consultations, our Open Day and Landmark Dinner in October 2012 and the subsequent Material Start in line with the Planning Permission.

More info on this history is below:

After a number of years of rallying support – which time after time showed in excess of 90% of respondents in favour of the project and not least the willingness of people to register their support again and again – we are once again at a critical point.

Yes, another critical point!

The Local Plan for Bedford has gone through due process and been reviewed by the Government Inspector – the lack of comment on the rowing lake and enabling development is a de facto ‘green light’ and progress is now largely in the hands of our own council and its officers. One Team pulling together as Chief Executive Phil Simpkins urged.

This multi-million pound project which will be largely paid for by the enabling development and not the taxpayer and significant milestones have been achieved:

  • Planning Permission for the lake was given in 2006
  • Public Consultation saw the project included in the Local Development Framework(LDF) – our Council’s Five Year Plan
  • The LDF was scrutinised by the Government Inspector and the lack of comment on the lake and enabling development is a de facto statement that the
    project is sound without requirement for amendment
  • Approximately 1/3 of the required water areas are in place via reinstatement from Mineral Extraction work on site.
  • The Material Start has taken place and a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’ is now expected.