New 14-home scheme approved for Clifton

A plan to build 14 new homes in Clifton has been approved. File photo. Picture: Getty Images/iStockp

A plan to build 14 new homes in Clifton has been approved. File photo. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plans for 14 homes on the northern edge of Clifton have been approved, despite a claim that its “historic centre is being choked to death”.

The scheme at The Paddocks in Clifton Farm Barns is outside the village’s development area, according to a report to Central Bedfordshire councillors.

The outline proposals for seven detached and seven semi-detached properties were deferred at a previous meeting of the council’s development management committee.

Moves to both refuse and then approve the project were defeated, on that occasion, last month.

The report accepts there will be some visual impact locally from the housing, but said this is outweighed by the fact half of it is affordable.

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It described the site as a rectangular shaped field, previously used for horse grazing and which is undeveloped.

“This is a development too far,” Ray Dart, who chairs Clifton Parish Council, told a meeting of the committee last Wednesday.

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“The community is being damaged little by little,” he said. “The historic centre of Clifton is being choked to death.

“The shop doubles as a post office. The village surgery is overstretched.”

He added: “One development remains empty and unsold a year after its construction.

“We gave you our support for the Local Plan [for Central Bedfordshire]. This site wasn’t submitted for potential development land.

“We would expect the council to follow its plan and not regard this as convenient windfall.”

Conservative Arlesey councillor Richard Wenham, who does not sit on the committee, said: “We’re plagued with Clifton planning applications coming back.”

He asked: “What’s changed since last month?” and answered his own question, saying: “There are precious little extra comments about the access.

“There’s nothing which changes the issues from last month.”

Fellow Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno said: “Clifton has supported our Local Plan. The village has accepted its fair share of housing.

“This site was not one of them. Everything about this scheme is in reserved, including the access. There are access issues on both sides.

“But because 50 per cent of it is affordable housing, we’re all over it like a rash. I don’t like the way we’re doing it.

“It’s of benefit to The Hale Trust,” he added. “But it’s of harm to everyone else.”

But Conservative Toddington councillor Tom Nicols said the local authority has a housing target to meet, which has the potential to be increased further.

“That’s going to come our way sooner or later,” he warned. “There’s no likelihood we won’t have significant growth demand in the future.

“I’m going to lose a third of the land in my ward,” he said. “That’s all green belt.

“One of the villages is going from 220 to 3,000 homes, along with 200 hectares of industrial.”

Conservative Cranfield and Marston Moretaine councillor Sue Clark told the meeting: “I’m uncomfortable the access is not part of this application.

“The other element is the large houses are in the large field, and the smaller houses in the small field.

“It’s unattractive. We usually look for a pepperpot distribution.”

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