Central Beds Council hits back at criticism over Local Plan

PUBLISHED: 08:36 06 May 2018

Central Bedfordshire Councillor Nigel Young, who is responsible for regeneration.

Central Bedfordshire Councillor Nigel Young, who is responsible for regeneration.

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Central Bedfordshire Council has hit back at criticism from a councillor over its newly-approved Local Plan.

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

Independent Potton councillor Adam Zerny accused the council of failing to properly reviewing more than 6,200 comments on the plan, and said 94 per cent were objections against a new 1,500-home village east of Biggleswade.

In response, the council’s regeneration portfolio holder Councillor Nigel Young told the Comet: “Our officers have analysed every single one of the 6,303 comments received, recommended modifications and published these on our website for transparency – so we are confident we have the complete picture when it comes to the concerns raised.

“It’s misleading for Councillor Zerny to highlight objections against approximately 1,500 new homes in a few locations across Central Bedfordshire out of the 20,000 we have proposed.

“I trust he took the opportunity to not only provide his views via the pre-submission consultation, but also provide alternative sustainable locations for these homes to be built, alongside access to new jobs, schools and health, leisure and community facilities, plus a range of other infrastructure.”

Central Beds Council has also responded to claims from Luton Borough Council that both authorities had failed to agree to the duty to co-operate,

The Local Plan specifies that around 4,000 homes need to be built in Central Bedfordshire to help meet Luton’s needs.

Luton council also said failure in this duty is what caused Central Beds’ Local Plan to collapse four years ago.

Mr Young was keen to stress CBC has made “extensive efforts” to co-operate.

“To clarify, a duty to co-operate is not a duty to agree, but to engage constructively and on an ongoing basis with other authorities on cross-boundary issues,” he said.

“Within the Local Plan, we have comprehensive and robust evidence of the extensive efforts we have made to cooperate with Luton Borough Council – and our plan includes the delivery of circa 4,000 homes to meet Luton’s need.

“In April, we thought we had agreed with Luton that the duty to co-operate had been met. However, since that last meeting, Luton have amended their stated position.

“Clearly this is very disappointing, but we intend to continue working proactively with Luton to reach a common agreement.”

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