Bedfordians have expressed concern, after it was revealed the Bedford Blues ground on Goldington Road has been listed in a ‘call for sites’ that could be used for development.
A ‘call for sites’ is an exercise to identify potential sites that could be assessed for their suitability for housing and economic development needed in the Borough.
Anyone can register a site for consideration whether they own the land or not.
The listing, proposed by the Bedford Blues, who lease the land from the House of Industry, suggest it could be used for 154 privately owned, affordable housing and rental properties.
The ground at Goldington Road was recently named as the 6th best ground in the rugby world by Stephen James of The Times.
Bedford Blues did not want to comment, but this isn’t the first time the land has been earmarked as a potential site for development.
For the past five years the land has been submitted as a site that could help support the housing needs of the Borough, it has also been listed in Bedford Borough Council’s Local Plan 2030.
“The Council has commenced a new Local Plan process,” said a Council spokesperson.
“As part of this, the recent issues and options consultation included a ‘call for sites’; an opportunity for land owners, developers and others with an interest in land to put forward sites that they would like to be considered for allocation in the plan.
“Around 450 sites were submitted to the Council, and the site in question [the Bedford Blues Ground] was one of them.”
The council also confirmed that a planning application has not been submitted to use the ground for housing and its suitability is still being assessed.
Local residents will be able to have their say on proposed land allocations and the draft Local Plan in 2021.
The House of Industry Charitable Trust is run by Bedford Borough Council and owns land including the Bedford Blues ground at Goldington Road and St Peter’s car park.
It uses rent from the land it owns to support other charities. The trust has around £5 million in investments, held mainly in endowment funds.