Borough planners have voted to approve a controversial application for up to 165 new homes in a north Bedfordshire village after hearing a final plea to throw it out.
Councillors went to visit the site to assess the potential impact of the development on Ravensden’s roads before reporting back to Monday’s meeting of Bedford Council’s planning committee.
Ward councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant (Cons, Great Barford) asked the committee to refuse the plan submitted by Rosconn Strategic Land for the 18 hectare of arable fields off Graze Hill.
Planning officers had recommended it for approval.
“The road is the worst for speeding in Bedfordshire,” said Cllr Martin-Moran-Bryant. The site has been allocated for housing but she felt that the details weren’t adequate.
She feared that Ravensden would be used as a rat run by new residents.
“Residents of Woodlands Park and Ravensden accepted that there would be houses here, but they simply wanted to protect the rural skyline and roads, and ensure that existing drainage, flooding and security issues aren’t exacerbated,” she told the Bedford Independent.
“Planning should be a collaborative process between the Council, and residents who care deeply about their environment, but it currently feels very antagonistic.”
Newly elected MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Richard Fuller told the Bedford Independent, “This misguided approval means that local residents again are suffering from the failure of Mayor Dave to get a Local Plan approved, creating loopholes that developers are using with impunity.
“In addition to the potential negative impact on the nightscape for residents in Ravensden, this approval will worsen existing concerns about access and surface water.
“Unless the Mayor ups his game, these loophole-based planning permissions will continue to cause distress and unease to villages across the Borough.”
But Cllr Wendy Rider (Lib Dem, Brickhill) proposed accepting the application, which will also see an extension to the nearby country park.
She said that a new roundabout, plus speed cameras, would see traffic slowed down. Her motion was supported by Cllr Abu Sultan (Lab, Cauldwell) and passed by six votes to nil, with one abstention.
by Local Democracy Reporter David Tooley
with additional reporting by Erica Roffe