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      Bedfordshire Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2021

      29 Oct 2021 2 MINUTE READ

      A County of up to date adopted Unitary plans, but not for long, as pending immediate reviews the whole process will begin again and create new strategic opportunities.

      The swift impending review of the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan due by January 2022 creates an immediate opportunity to promote strategic land.

      Whilst they will no doubt revisit some of their future larger scale strategic sites, which were removed from the current plan at Examination, there will be a requirement for new housing and employment sites across the district.

      The review of the Bedford Borough Local Plan 2030 is already underway with the call for sites consultation closing earlier this year, the publication of the Draft Plan will outline opportunities for growth across the urban area and the identification of new housing and employment sites.

      Future opportunities for growth will likely be focused to the north-east of the County, as a result of improvements to rail and road infrastructure through East-West Rail and the A1/A428.

      Luton’s Local Plan will be five years old next year (2022) and the Borough should be considering its review. This might provide new opportunities for the region, although these may be limited given Bedfordshire’s tight administrative boundaries and the Green Belt beyond.

      Whilst all adopted, these Local Plans are subject to immediate or pending reviews and each will be influenced by the Spatial Plan for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and strategic infrastructure improvements to rail and road.

      The future housing numbers for both Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire are set to increase, unless the Government reforms the Standard Methodology as part of any future planning reform.

      In summary, there are opportunities within the next six to twelve months across Bedfordshire for strategic land promotion.

      Market Analysis

      As with the majority of areas in the region, the market for residential development sites in Bedfordshire is extremely buoyant. The County benefits from close connections to London and the East Midlands by rail and the M1 motorway, and is home to London Luton International Airport. Lying within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, Bedfordshire is a key growth area for homes and employment with a particular focus on science and technology.

      The UK House Price Index reports growth of circa 10% in Bedfordshire over the 12 months to July 2021, compared to the UK average of 8%. The growth in the average house price in Bedfordshire of circa £28,000 to £29,000 over the same period far surpasses the UK average of £18,848. As of July 2021 the average price for a residential property in Bedford Borough is £309,120 and in Central Bedfordshire is £332,205, compared to the UK average of £255,535.

      Property values in Bedfordshire tend to be slightly lower that than those in the neighbouring areas of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire. As such, there may be an influx of buyers to Bedfordshire looking to make the most of their budget as they reconsider their living arrangements during the pandemic - the so-called “race for space”.

      Bidwells is seeing strong demand in Bedfordshire for residential development land from house builders hoping to capitalise on the strong property values and good sales rates within the county.

      For detail on emerging Local Plan position in every authority please click on the map below.

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