Farmer's shock as family land is included in Central Bedfordshire Council's '˜call for sites'
A farmer was shocked to find his fields have been included as possible development land in Central Bedfordshire Council's Local Plan.
Richard Infield’s family have been farming on land near High Field Farm in Tempsford since 1938.
Proposed plans for a new town and employment site at Tempsford Airfield and surrounding land have been take out of CBC’s Pre-Submission Plan currently out to consulation but could be revisited at any time.
Mr Infield said he had not submitted his own land for consideration.
“I am not very happy,” he said. “I’ve had so many letters from developers I could paper a wall with them.”
He said two parcels of land he owns had been included in the council’s scheme.
“It’s worrying that developers can earmark ground and not discuss it with landowners,” he said.
“I am very happy farming here.”
Mr Infield joined residents at a meeting of more than 50 residents on Tuesday who are opposed to the threat to Tempsford airfield.
Campaigner Jesse Lawrence said: “This local plan has massive implications for our area and the Tempsford project could make it a town the size of Clacton or Welwyn Garden City.
“Adding this to the growth of Biggleswade, Marston Vale etc and combining these with the expansion to MK, Bedford and other settlements close by, local green fields will soon largely disappear.
“The lack of transparency of Central Beds Council, the undemocratic way in which this local plan has ignored locals’ opinions and the secrecy of the Oxford-Cambridge arc plans, now only just coming to light, appeared to concern everyone in the hall.”
There were also concerns that homes could be subject to compulsory purchase after some resudents found their own houses had been covered in maps within the CBC document.
“Ultimately our council’s unseemly race to bring their ill thought out local plan forward by about six months has resulted in CBC becoming increasingly unpopular with its public,” said Mr Lawrence.
The meeting was also attended by Independent CBC councillor Adam Zerny and Potton CBC Cllr Doreen Gurney who guided residents through the plan, and Mary Walsh from environment charity CPRE Bedfordshire also explained how residents could approach the planning inspector at the next phase of the Local Plan.
The Plan calls for 20,000 new homes and 24,000 new jobs for Central Bedfordshire by 2035.
Cllr Adrian Besant, chairman of Tempsford Parish Council which is opposing the Plan, urged residents to register their objections to the pre-submission document to Central Beds Council by 22 February.
Those who have difficulty responding via the computer will be helped by the Parish Clerk. People can also email objections to: [email protected] centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.
If you responded to the draft proposals, these will not be included in the latest consultation.
A CBC spokesman said: “The land at Tempsford is not allocated for development in the latest version of the Local Plan. Rather, it forms part of a wider area which has been identified as having potential for future growth.
“This site in question was put forward to us in the council’s Call for Sites in early 2016: this was an opportunity for agents, landowners and developers to submit land which they believed could be developed.
“If the land doesn’t belong to them they have to acknowledge they have the consent of those with an interest. We have checked and this was completed.”
“This land was published a number of times over the last couple of years during our consultation process, in May 2016 and again in summer 2017 on our website.
“We would ask anyone who believes that their land has been put forward without their agreement to contact us.”
>Fairfield and Arlesey councils call on residents to respond to consulation. See page 7