Bedfordshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2023
So much can change in the space of 9 months in planning. Last autumn we were reporting on the potential of investment zones that were going to liberate us from planning restrictions with Bedfordshire Authorities keen to be part of the discussion. Much like recent prime ministers and indeed housing ministers that didn’t last long.
In its place we’ve since had a raft of planning reform consultations on what could on the face of it really shake up how the plan led system works. Thankfully implementation of said reforms appears far off for now and it is rather fitting that the Bedfordshire Authorities have up to date Local Plans and are all at various stages of reviewing them.
For Bedford Borough the Spring Budget announcement gave confidence on a preferred route update for East West Rail to be unveiled this May. Certainty on this will enable the project to press ahead, which is a key supporting piece of infrastructure for their own growth ambitions, all rather timely given their 2040 Local Plan Review will be under Examination in Public from June.
Luton’s Local Plan, (2031), will be 5 this autumn and it seems there are now shoots emerging this Spring for a potential review in the wings. No doubt such a review will be carefully considering what if any planning reforms are carried forward before anything is progressed in earnest. Housing Requirements and the Green Belt will be two critical factors for planning reform with the potential to effect how Luton progresses and indeed how they do so in consideration of their neighbour Central Bedfordshire.
Central Bedfordshire also a fully signed up member of the ‘Adopted’ club are underway on their Local Plan Review albeit ‘informal & non-statutory’ at present and have been very open about delaying progress given the potential transitional arrangements that may be subject to changes to the Local Plan led system under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB). Therefore, post elections and summer recess we should see more progress on statutory consultations for strategic land opportunities for 2024.
In conclusion it hats off to the Beds Authorities, they are working with what they have and are moving forward (at different paces) regardless of the uncertainties around them. It will however be interesting to see if this position changes following the May elections with significant changes afoot with CBC having no party in overall control and Bedford Borough with a new Mayor!
Five Year Land supply
As previously, all 3 Local Authorities in Bedfordshire have achieved their requirements as part of the Housing Delivery Test results from November 2021, with the 2022 results still awaiting to be published.
- Central Beds last reported position for the 5-year period starting 1st January 2023, is 5,37yrs supply.
- Bedford Borough’s position as of the 5-year period starting 1st April 2022, is 6.82yrs supply.
For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Bedfordshire please click on the map below.