Bedfordshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2021
The publication of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Strategic Framework in February 2021 notes Bedfordshire to be an area of opportunity and identified growth. Alongside the implementation of the East West Rail scheme, opportunities are arising for employment, housing and infrastructure within the borough.
- The 12-month window following adoption has now passed for the submission of the identified Neighbourhood Development Plans that were subject to housing allocations within the adopted Bedford Borough Local Plan 2030. Of the 11 NDP allocated housing requirements, only seven have come forward for submission for Regulation 16 consultation within this time frame.
- Whilst previously anticipated for March 2021, Bedford Borough’s report on their Local Plan will now be considered by the Council’s Executive in June 2021, with the Draft Plan consultation taking place July to September 2021.
- Central Bedfordshire’s Main Modifications are out for consultation until 5 May 2021. Should Central Bedfordshire’s be found sound, adoption of the Local Plan is expected by September 2021 with the potential for an early review mechanism for an immediate review.
Bedford Borough Local Plan 2030 was adopted on 15 January 2020. In accordance with Policy 1, a review had to commence within a year of adoption. This review is now underway, and a Call for Sites and Issues and Options consultations closed on the 14 August and 4 September 2020 respectively.
The Local Development Scheme for Bedford Borough (February 2021) states that it has not been possible to complete all technical and evidence-based work in order to report to the Council’s Executive in March 2021 as planned. Instead, the report will be considered on 9 June 2021 with the Draft Plan consultation taking place in July-September 2021. At present, The Council has set out that this change to the timetable will not affect the submission of the plan by the deadline set out in the current adopted Local Plan of January 2023.
Policy 4S required some 2,350 homes to be delivered through NDP, progress of which is to be monitored annually. Except for Roxton, if a Neighbourhood Development Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order (Regulation 16) has not been submitted to the Council within a period of 12 months from adoption (January 2021), the Council will allocate additional sites under the LP review.
The emerging Local Plan was submitted for examination on 30 April 2018.
The inspector’s letter (dated 29 January 2021) commented on the latest additional hearings, which took place in December 2020, regarding specific sites and policies. Subject to the main modifications now under consultation, the inspectors appear confident that there is a way forward for the plan to be found sound. A public consultation on the Main Modifications commenced on 19 March 2021 and runs until 5 May 2021.
Should the Plan be found sound, adoption could be expected by September 2021. The original submission included the provision for a partial review within six months of adoption and the extent of an early review mechanism will be defined within the inspector’s final report this summer.
On 7 November 2017, Luton Borough Council adopted the Luton Local Plan (2011-2031).
Luton originally intended to progress a new Local Plan in 2019 with submission in 2021. At this point in time, no steps have been made to progress with this review.