Arlesey residents ‘disappointed’ after council adopts masterplan

Central Bedfordshire Council unanimously passed the Arlesey Cross Masterplan which will pave the way

Central Bedfordshire Council unanimously passed the Arlesey Cross Masterplan which will pave the way for large-scale development in the village - Credit: Archant

Residents have been left “disappointed” after a council formally adopted a masterplan which will pave the way for a large scale development in a town.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) executive committee unanimously voted in favour of a motion to fully accept the Arlesey Cross Masterplan on Tuesday. It will see at least 1,000 homes built in the area, as well as retail units, a small supermarket and a school.

The masterplan has been opposed by a number of Arlesey groups, with Arlesey Town Council voting against the proposal at a December meeting, amid concerns over when a relief road to ease traffic would be built.

Cllr Chris Gravett, spokesman for Arlesey Town Council, said: “At the meeting on Tuesday the town council and community groups have been able to get some of the concerns we have over the masterplan across to CBC.

“These are the timescale of building a relief road, which we believe should be built before any construction begins, the disproportionate size of the development, and the traffic problems to the south of the town.

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“We were also not happy about the consultation that took place. Telling somebody what is going to happen is not a consultation and I hope that CBC have learnt from this and will listen to people’s views in future.”

Community group the Voice of Arlesey, which represents residents, also attended the meeting.

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Spokesman Georgina Emery said: “Obviously we were disappointed by today’s decision, as we do not believe the statement of community engagement which accompanies the masterplan is truthful. This causes a great mistrust despite assurances from CBC that as a result of today’s meeting they will review their future consultation processes – particularly for the next phase of the Arlesey development.

For example, although planning documentation may convey that different ‘community’ parties have been involved in shaping this scheme - the reality is that many of the same people have had the opportunity to act as both judge and jury over this entire period. We have sought to evidence this, along with other concerns, in a report which we now intend to forward to the Department of Communities and Local Government.

“However, the reality is, without a rich benefactor to support and address them, the community doesn’t really have a voice. I feel that CBC know this, and this is why so many of these concerns have been dismissed and defiantly glossed over with future mitigation measures.”

Cllr Nigel Young, executive member for sustainable communities at CBC, said: These important plans will take Arlesey from being a linear village to a small town with a new heart and a raft of new facilities.

“It is vital that we create new homes and jobs to meet identified housing needs for the next generation and to stimulate economic growth in the area. The masterplan for this land will guide developers in proposals they submit for the site in the future and will help ensure that the eventual development is a real asset to people in Arlesey and the surrounding areas.

“We will continue to consult with local residents and work with developers to ensure the best deal for those living nearest to the development and for the community.”

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