A JTP-led masterplanning team have secured planning consent for a 325-home development on a Green Belt site in Central Bedfordshire.
Currently known as ‘Chaulington’, the scheme, for clients General Motors, will be divided into two hamlets to maintain the integrity of the ‘string of villages’ which sit between Luton and Dunstable, on the site of a former GM test track and engineering centre.
The masterplan was developed through an extensive community participation process, led by JTP, including a highly successful Community Planning Weekend, which created an initial Vision for a sustainable and connected community on the site.
Julian Lyon, General Motors UK Head of Real Estate, said: “The workshops brought together many local people from a wide range of ages and found a real sense of what was possible and what needed to be solved in order to achieve it. The principles developed at the workshops remained throughout our planning and sale process as the fundamental values and parameters for the development.”
The local parishes have been developing their Neighbourhood Plan and the GM planning team, led by CBRE, worked closely with the steering group, the Parish Councils and Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority to align objectives, to ensure continued engagement throughout the process, and to help GM put in place an innovative Community Trust for the benefit of the wider collection of villages in the two parishes and Neighbourhood Plan area.
The site has now been purchased by Redrow and the first phase of homes are expected to be on the site later this year. A Section 106 Agreement has safeguarded the provision of road improvements, health and education contributions and other local services – including the upgrading of the public footpath network to provide pedestrian and cycle access between the guided bus way, the new settlement and Caddington. A Community Trust (CASE) has been established, and GM has ‘gifted’ approximately 35 acres of woodland and open land for local amenity space. Redrow will be developing a low carbon community centre, multi-use games and play areas, a duck pond and a trim trail around the woodland edge (doubling as protection for the tree roots).
30% of the overall development will be affordable homes, and the innovative part of the development plan is for 46 of these houses to be given to CASE in perpetuity to generate rental income. The revenue will be used to fully fund a community bus and other community services. This will enable a bus connection within the wider community seven days a week. This should all help create a sustainable community as envisioned by the local community at the Community Planning Weekend.