Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/18/02458/OUT (Biggleswade North)


Address:       Land to the East of Baden Powell Way Biggleswade SG18 8SD


Outline planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings and development of up to 1,500 dwellings (Use Class C3), up to 2ha of commercial development (Use Classes A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1 a, b, c, B2 ,B8), up to 5ha of primary school development (Use Class D1) and up to 4ha of other leisure and community development (Use Classes D1 and D2), up to 60ha of open space including, play space, allotments and a country park, infrastructure including site access, internal roads, car parking, footpaths, cycleways, drainage and utilities.

This planning application is for EIA development as defined by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 and is supported by an Environmental Statement.


Applicant:     UK Regenerations Ltd







Prior to consideration of this application the Chairman reminded Members that it was necessary for any report to the Committee to be published five clear working days in advance of the meeting.  This deadline had not been met with regard to the report for this Item (Planning Application No. CB/18/02458/OUT) and so it was necessary for him to decide whether the report should be considered by the Committee as a matter of urgency.  The Chairman advised that information submitted to him indicated that the applicant’s funding agreement would expire on 26 February 2019 and so the funding would be lost if the application was not determined by that date.  Given this situation the Chairman deemed the report to be a matter of urgency and that it would be considered by the Committee.


The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/02458/OUT which sought outline planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings and development of up to 1,500 dwellings (Use Class C3), up to 2ha of commercial development (Use Classes A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1 a, b, c, B2 ,B8), up to 5ha of primary school development (Use Class D1) and up to 4ha of other leisure and community development (Use Classes D1 and D2), up to 60ha of open space including, play space, allotments and a country park, infrastructure including site access, internal roads, car parking, footpaths, cycleways, drainage and utilities on land to the east of Baden-Powell Way, Biggleswade, SG18 8SD.


In advance of consideration of the application the planning officer drew the Committee’s attention to an error regarding informative no. 14 and informed the Committee that the Design Code was the subject of condition 4 to the report and not condition 5 as was stated.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received representations from Mr Sansom, an objector to the application, and Ms Sadek, representing the applicant, under the public participation scheme.  Both parties responded to Members’ requests for clarification.


A ward Member set out a number of major concerns regarding the application including the absence of a stopping bus service on Baden-Powell Way, the location of the site outside the development envelopment and its immediate proximity to the existing King’s Reach development, the requirement by Network Rail for upgrade works at Lindsell’s Crossing given the rail crossing’s distance from the application site, the impact of the local water table on the construction works and the failure to consider the strain placed on an existing inadequate transport, utilities, health and education infrastructure.  She concluded by stressing the need to ensure that the application that was approved was the right one for Biggleswade and, therefore, for Central Bedfordshire Council.


The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         Points raised by the objector regarding emerging Local Plan Policy SA4 and the suggestion that the application was premature was dealt with within the officer report.  A planning application made to the Council had to be determined.

·         The process was democratic and extensive consultation had been carried out and the views addressed as far as was possible.  It would be elected Members who would decide on the application.

·         He continued to support the statement in the report that significant weight should be given to the contribution by the development towards affordable housing delivery.

·         Whilst the Council had a five year land supply the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) did not suggest that the securing of additional supply from appropriate sites should cease.

·         He drew Member’s attention to paragraph 9.9 of his report and how arguments that an application was premature were unlikely to justify a refusal of planning permission other than in the limited circumstances set out in both sub-paragraphs a. and b.  With regard to the content of the sub-paragraphs he did not believe the application would undermine the planning-making process or that the emerging Local Plan was at an advanced stage.

·         Whilst not able to comment on the applicant’s consultation process the Council had consulted widely and in line with its obligations.

·         The site was outside the settlement envelope and conflicted with Policy DM4 but, on planning balance, the planning officer believed the benefits of the application outweighed the Policy conflict.

·         The design code would need to address the relationship between the built development and the electricity pylons on the site and he was satisfied there was a design solution.

·         The relevant officers were satisfied that there were existing or developing projects that, with the proper funding (through financial contributions from the developer), could mitigate the impact of the development.  If they had not been then the officer recommendation to approve the application would likely to have been different.

·         The distance between the existing roundabout on Baden-Powell Way and the nearest proposed block was approximately 100 metres which provided a reasonably sized buffer.  An increase in this distance would have likely resulted in a range of compensatory action but he believed the proposed balance between a range of factors was the right one.

·         Planning permission was sought for up to two hectares of employment land in total across the range of potential uses.  He viewed the proposed range of employment opportunities as positive whilst being subservient to the residential character of the site.  The amounts and location of each use and the types of building were matters for the design code. 

·         Conditions relating to drainage and archaeology would ensure these matters were addressed to the satisfaction of the relevant bodies prior to the start of development.

·         The height of the buildings would be dealt with under the design code which would be drawn up as a collaborative effort with input from various parties including Members and specialists.

·         The planning permission would be subject to a build rate timetable to ensure the delivery of at least 500 units in the first five year period.

·         The NHS and education authority had been closely involved in the process and were satisfied that the proposed measures were appropriate.  The s106 agreement would secure the provision of primary school places as early as was possible.

·         The Council’s sustainability policy requirements would be covered by the conditions imposed on the application.

·         He acknowledged the distance between the application site and Lindsell’s Crossing but Network Rail’s position was that the upgrading work was essential in relation to further development work in Biggleswade.

·         The need for improved parking provision at Biggleswade railway station and the town centre was recognised and a contribution of £250k would be made available for town centre enhancement works.  It was anticipated that the spending programme to address local priorities would be developed in consultation with the Town Council and other parties.

·         There was a comprehensive assessment of the submitted transport assessment and the results were that, subject to the mitigation set out in the report, the impact on the road network would be acceptable.

·         He agreed that it was important the sustainable transport initiatives were enhanced.  The permission would secure an early contribution of £225k to support existing sustainable transport measures in addition the application would need to deliver a sustainable transport scheme by the point it reached 250 occupations.  The value of the scheme could be up to £2.25m and would be developed by officers and other interested parties.

·         He fully accepted the need to ensure that the application was the right one and he stated he was comfortable and confident that a combination of the development brief, the design code, the design guide, the recommended conditions, the parameter plans and the s106 agreement would enable the Council to do so.

·         He understood the preferred site for the NHS hub in Biggleswade was the existing hospital site.  The site had not yet been secured but the aspiration for a hub in Biggleswade existed and he believed the proposed contribution could help to deliver the hub on an alternative site if the hospital site did not progress.  If there was a change in approach the contribution could be used by the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide capacity in another form.


The representative from Ringway Jacobs Ltd, the Council’s highways contractor, responded to the points raised as follows:


·         The company had gone to considerable lengths to ensure that it was fully satisfied with the transport assessment for the application and the data within it regarding traffic generation and how it routed to and from the development, that the local highway network could cope and that, where it would be stressed, mitigation measures were taken.

·         Great effort had been made to ensure the junction for the development at Baden-Powell Way was of the appropriate type and size that could deal with the traffic levels.

·         With regard to bus routeing, the company would ensure that the development was appropriately served by buses.

·         There was an existing issue regarding the stopping of buses on Baden-Powell Way because of the impact on traffic.  Laybys would be necessary to allow buses to stop safely.


The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:


·         Whilst the application dealt with 1500 homes it could not be regarded as premature and could not undermine an emerging Local Plan which dealt with well above 20k dwellings.

·         Having a five year land supply was not a reason to halt development otherwise the supply would quickly fall below the required figure.

·         Delegation was sought purely to agree that the conditions associated with Highways England’s requirement for mitigation were satisfied.  It was not to rehear the application in private.

·         The consultation with ward Members would only deal with impacts at the A1/Hill Lane and A1/London Road junctions and at no other point.

·         The conditions were comprehensive in nature.

·         The Town Council was supportive of the application and the applicant’s representation stated that they had worked with the Town Council and cleared any issues.  The Town Council’s support carried great weight on the matter of prematurity and so it was less of an issue.

·         There was a decent separation for the majority of the site from existing development whilst being close enough to bring the advantages of commerce and trade to Biggleswade.

·         That the application had come forward before the Local Plan had been adopted though this reflected, to a degree, the complex task of getting such Plans processed.

·         Concerns regarding the capacity of the road network, the electricity supply and flood risk and the possible impact of future road improvements.

·         The use of a condition regarding a construction traffic management plan and how the plan would protect early occupiers of the development.


On being put to the vote 10 Members voted for approval, 0 voted against and 2 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/18/02458/OUT relating to land to the east of Baden-Powell Way, Biggleswade, SG18 8SD be supported subject to withdrawal of the Highways England holding objection, the conditions as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes and the satisfactory completion of a legal agreement securing the obligations described in the officer’s report attached to these minutes and thereafter authorises the Assistant Director – Development Infrastructure in consultation with the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Executive Member for Regeneration and Business and relevant Ward Members (the relevant ward Members to be determined by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Executive Member for Regeneration and Business) to grant outline planning permission providing that no new material changes to the planning application arise as a result of the measures proposed to mitigate the impacts of the development on the strategic highways network.




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