Back to the drawing board for Central Beds Council as Local Plan challenge withdrawn

Central Bedfordshire council offices

Central Bedfordshire council offices - Credit: Daniel Wilson

Central Bedfordshire is to have a completely new Local Plan put together, after a full council meeting yesterday voted to drop its legal challenge to a planning inspector’s rejection of the old plan.

The council’s Central Bedfordshire Development Strategy, submitted to the Secretary of State in October last year, proposed to create 31,000 new homes and 27,000 jobs by 2031 – but in February the planning inspector concluded that the council had not co-operated sufficiently with neighbouring authorities.

The Court of Appeal rejected Central Beds Council’s bid to mount a High Court challenge to the planning inspector’s decision in June. Yesterday’s full council resolution follows the recommendations of an executive meeting last month.

Councillor Nigel Young, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “This is not a decision which has been taken lightly but it is necessary, in light of new planning policy changes, for us to reset this process.

“However, that does not mean that we are starting from scratch. We have already begun to work sympathetically with the new national guidance, while listening to the views of local people and neighbouring authorities, many of whom find themselves in a similar situation.

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“Of course, our focus now is on finalising a new, sustainable Local Plan that best serves our communities, manages growth and continues the significant progress that is ensuring Central Beds remains a great place to live and work.”

The Comet asked how much it cost the council to put the original Local Plan together and to take the legal challenge to the Court of Appeal, but a spokesman was unable to confirm a figure at this time.

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