Report ‘illustrates’ five new settlements around Sandy, Biggleswade and Potton

PUBLISHED: 17:43 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:26 19 December 2017

A map in the report, illustrating potential expansion of Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton. Picture: 5th Studio

A map in the report, illustrating potential expansion of Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton. Picture: 5th Studio

Archant

Five new settlements could be built in the countryside around Sandy, Biggleswade and Potton, a report suggests.

Sandy town centre. Picture: Danny Loo Sandy town centre. Picture: Danny Loo

The National Infrastructure Commission, an independent body that advises the government, makes the suggestion while outlining opportunities for the Oxford-to-Cambridge corridor amid the new East West Rail link.

Planners 5th Studio produced the report, which describes how a million homes could be built by 2050 along an East West Rail route passing to the north of Sandy.

It is the latest study to describe a new out-of-town Sandy railway station near Tempsford, replacing the existing stop.

A map published in the National Infrastructure Commission report, showing a East West Rail line north of Sandy and a new replacement station north of the town. Picture: 5th Studio A map published in the National Infrastructure Commission report, showing a East West Rail line north of Sandy and a new replacement station north of the town. Picture: 5th Studio

It also includes a map showing the RSPB Sandy Lodge nature reserve as a ‘green heart’ in the middle of a Sandy-Biggleswade-Potton conurbation.

Potton’s Councillor Adam Zerny, who sits as an independent on Central Bedfordshire Council, has expressed horror at the report.

He said: “The process is completely undemocratic.

Councillor Adam Zerny of Central Bedfordshire Council and Potton Town Council. Councillor Adam Zerny of Central Bedfordshire Council and Potton Town Council.

“Residents should be properly consulted by their local authorities so they know what is being planned.

“It’s ridiculous to have schemes like this running alongside local authority housing plans.

“How can the public trust local authorities when they discover millions of houses are being planned, but they aren’t being told about it?”

Central Bedfordshire Council said in response that the NIC report was illustrative and merely put forward “opportunities” for central government to consider regarding economic growth between Oxford and Cambridge.

A council spokeswoman said: “We await the government’s response to that NIC report – it is for the government to decide what aspects of the report they wish to give further consideration to.

“In the meantime, we will continue to focus on the delivery of sustainable growth through our Local Plan, which is due to go out to public consultation in January.”

Central Beds Council is already proposing 32,000 new houses over the next 20 years, with a contingency of 3,200.

Central Beds Council’s executive is set to approve its Local Plan on January 9, before public consultation sometime between the middle of January and the end of February. It could recommend changes to the inspector, based on feedback.

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