500 new homes plus 3G sports pitch approved for Clapham site

Professional worker using pan knife for building brick walls with cement and mortar planning new homes builder building Image Adobe Stock:aboutmomentsimages
Image: Adobe Stock/aboutmomentsimages

Plans to build 500 new homes north of Bedford have been approved following an agreement on the location and funding of a sports pitch.

In March, Bedford Borough Council’s Planning Committee deferred the decision on an outline planning application for the new homes and a school on land off Milton Road, Clapham, as a request was made for an all-weather sports pitch off-site.

This was instead of having a sports pitch within the new development.

Greg Logan, principal planning officer, told yesterday’s Planning Committee (June 17) that discussions had taken place between Clapham Parish Council, the applicants, and borough council planners for the off-site pitch.

And he said the applicants had agreed to provide a financial contribution of £825,000 (to be index-linked) for an all-weather 3G pitch at the King George V playing field.

“A direct approach made to the Football Foundation by officers does suggest that this amount might not fully deliver the facility,” Mr Logan said.

“However, the applicant still insists that based on their involvement with the similar project coming forward at Wixams,  a 3G installation could nevertheless be delivered at the King George V playing field within [that] budget.

“Clapham Parish Council is on record as stating that if there were to be any shortfall in funding that this would be covered by potential match funding obtained from the Football Foundation or other associated bodies.

“Any 3G pitch installation at the King George V playing field would require planning permission, and any application made by the parish council would have to go through the normal planning consultation and assessment,” he said.

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Councillor Jim Weir (Conservative, Great Denham) said:  “It’s good to see that parish councils and developers and planning officers can actually get together and shift and shape and change for the greater benefits.”

Committee chair, councillor Jonathan Abbott (Lib Dem, Clapham & Oakley) said: “This has been very heartening to see, parish councils not being sidelined but actually being included in discussions to come up with something which is right for the local community.

“A lot of the time parish councils can feel very cut off from the process, and don’t see anything until it feels like a done deal,” he said.

All the eligible to vote members were in favour of approving the planning application.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter