Bedford planners reject calls for review of controversial warehouse application

Wixams G-Park

Calls from a campaigning resident, for a review of a highly contentious plan for massive warehouses near Wixams, have been rejected by the Bedford Borough Council’s Planning Committee.

The committee was told that discussions are continuing with the developers over the details of what will be built on the site and it would not be right to comment on a ‘live’ application.

Bedford Borough Council’s planning committee agreed to the principle of building the new G-Park in October last year.

But resident Leon Staszak said: “The actions of the planning department have acted directly against the wishes of the community.”

He claimed that there were “at best, misleading statements to our ward councillor.” The allegation provoked no response from council officers present.

Mr Staszak said an application for “reserved matters”, which fill in the gaps of the approved principle, was “very different” to that which the committee agreed to in October.

He said the proposed distances from homes to the warehouses had reduced from 120m to 90m, and most recently to just over 80m.

He also claimed that a noise assessment was proved wrong after residents employed their own acoustics engineer.

There are also issues with public consultation, and other details of the plan, including proposed housing which he said are “not honoured.”

Claiming that planning approval had been based on “unfair or misleading statements or data” he asked if the committee would commit to carrying out a full review.

Committee chairman Cllr Jon Abbott (Lib Dem, Oakley) said: “We don’t generally comment on live applications which are currently being considered.”

And Jon Shortland, the chief officer for planning and infrastructure development said: “We don’t comment on live applications. The principle of development here was agreed by the committee last year.

“We’ve been working with the applicant since then to try and work out if there is a reserved matters application which can be approved or not.

“That has taken some time and negotiations been ongoing, and as I speak tonight are still ongoing.”

He said that from his point of view he “can’t see the need for” a review.

And Cllr Abbott concluded: “At the moment I am happy with the process that our planning department is currently taking.”

Mr Staszak was told that he could submit detailed concerns which would be “taken into consideration” before the council makes up its mind on any of the plan’s details.

By David Tooley
Local Democracy Reporter

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