Beds, Herts & Bucks

Barton-le-Clay 'not appropriate' for large development

Residents of a Bedfordshire village say a council pledge over green belt land will almost certainly stop major expansion plans.

A proposed development in Barton-le-Clay would include 500 houses, a shopping centre and school.

However, Central Bedfordshire Council has told a public meeting the village green belt will remain until 2031.

Villagers were told the council did not consider it an "appropriate place" for building on that scale.

The current population of Barton is about 5,000 with approximately 2,000 homes.

Residents received a leaflet in May outlining the development proposal and an exhibition of the plans was held in the village.

Plans also included land for offices and businesses, a retirement village, gym and leisure facilities, allotments, and a 200-bedroom hotel.

Following the exhibition, the residents of Higham Gobion Road, next to where the new development would be, asked the council for confirmation that the proposal could not go ahead because it was a green belt area.

At a public meeting called by the council this week, the planning officer confirmed that the boundaries of the green belt would be maintained.

'Uphill struggle'

Resident Sheila Exall said: "The developers can always go to the council but they would have to put forward an exceptional case.

"What we are being told is that the council do not consider Barton an appropriate place for building on the scale the developer was requesting."

Councillor Nigel Young said the developer had not discussed plans with the council.

He said that it was "impossible to say" whether or not development could happen on that site until an application was received but that it was unlikely.

"I can confirm that we have not, in the local development framework, recommended that site for development so it would start from a position of not being an approved site and in the green belt," he said.

"My judgement would be that it would face an uphill struggle."

The council has asked for individuals to register opposition to the development in writing.

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