The land we are proposing to develop for new homes and public open space covers a total area of approximately 7.9 hectares (19.5 acres). The new homes we are planning to build will occupy less than a third of this land.
The site is located to the south-east of Beauchamp Mill, accessed off Taylor’s Road, and to the east of existing housing in Silver Birch Avenue. The River Ivel runs alongside part of the site’s eastern boundary while playing fields are situated to the south.
Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) does not presently have an up-to-date Development Plan and cannot demonstrate an objectively assessed five-year housing land supply. These are requirements set by Central Government and confirmed by independent Planning Inspectors. In the absence of an up-to-date local Policy Framework there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, as set by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The site is immediately adjacent to an existing settlement boundary and is enclosed by residential development on two sides and the town recreation area to the south. This indicates the site’s sustainability in the context of recent planning permissions and access to Stotfold and key facilities such as the town recreation area. Stotfold is identified in CBC’s existing and proposed Planning Policies as a ‘service centre’ for the district and a sustainable location for housing development.
The proposed development is located within the visual context of the existing residential development. The retention of the open space to the east of the development offers opportunities to improve the visual setting of the existing urban edge.
The proposals would also represent the final development in this part of the town, creating a defensible settlement boundary reinforced by the River Ivel flood plain and extent of proposed public open space created for enhanced access and use of the town’s inhabitants.
The proposed development site will provide much-needed affordable and market homes for Central Bedfordshire to help meet its growth needs to 2031. There are no material considerations which indicate that the site is not suitable for residential development and it meets the national planning tests regarding the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account in our design. All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown here.
This plan shows how the characteristics of the site and its surroundings are being considered in the design of our scheme.
Flood risk and drainage
The developed area of the site is designated as being at low probability of flooding (Flood Zone 1) with the eastern half of the site bordering Flood Zone 2 and 3 (medium to high risk of flooding). This area is proposed to remain as green space.
Consultation with various agencies including Central Bedfordshire Council and Anglian Water confirm the risk of flooding from other flood risk sources (e.g. groundwater, surface water, sewers) is low. A number of highway flood issues have been reported at The Green in close proximity but there are no historical flood records for the site.
The site is bordered by three watercourses. The River Ivel borders the southern half of the eastern site boundary and WC137 the northern half. Both are managed by Bedfordshire and River Ivel Internal District Board. There is a drainage ditch which runs parallel to the southern site boundary and outfalls into the River Ivel.
Our proposed surface water drainage strategy seeks to replicate the existing rates of surface water run-off for the current ‘greenfield’ site. The drainage strategy will incorporate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to mitigate the impact of the increase in impermeable areas resulting from the development. An initial review of ground conditions suggests there could be some potential to discharge surface water directly into the ground. The surface water run-off will be controlled at source and restricted to existing greenfield run-off rates.
The following SuDS features are being considered:
- Infiltration drainage directly into the ground, where possible, via soakaways, permeable paving, swales or a mixture of all suitable options
- Attenuation storage (e.g. ponds, basins) within permeable paving throughout the site or in dry attenuation areas, located within the lowest parts of the developed area
The attenuation areas (at the end of the drainage system) will outfall to existing watercourses adjacent to the site, if infiltration directly into ground is not feasible. The proposed attenuation areas will be located along the eastern extent of the developable area, within the public open space.
The on-site drainage system including SuDS will be offered for adoption by Anglian Water or Central Bedfordshire Council, or alternatively a maintenance agreement will be put in place for the SuDS features. Any water features will be designed to provide amenity value, wildlife habitat and encourage biodiversity.
Environment Agency flood mapping of the site and its surroundings.
Our proposed drainage strategy for land off Aspen Gardens.
The majority of open space will be to the east of the housing. There will be a ‘buffer’ between the proposed housing and the open countryside. This area could include planting, a local area of play and a formal footpath/cycleway connecting the adjacent Beauchamp Mill development and Taylors Road to the Multi Use Games Area and public open space to the south of the proposal site.
Beyond this ‘buffer area’ will be a more natural area, including a potential wildflower meadow between the development and the River Ivel. It is the intention to keep this area informal in nature.
The indicative masterplan shows the residential part of the site adjacent to the existing housing. This area will have residential landscaping potentially including a small area of open space at the entrance of the site and the majority of landscaping within private gardens, to the front and rear of properties.
Our landscape strategy for the proposed development.
An Ecological Appraisal of the site has been conducted to assess its ecological value and identify habitats and their potential to support notable and protected species. A summary of findings are set out as follows:
- The majority of the site is comprised of an arable field with negligible ecological value.
- No potential for roosting bats was identified. Whilst the boundary hedgerows provide potential commuting/foraging habitat for bats, these are largely protected, with additional green infrastructure providing new opportunities for bats.
- Water voles and otters may utilise the River Ivel and associated habitats beyond the site to the east. However, this corridor will be buffered from development by the flood plain and public open space.
- A range of enhancement opportunities are available as part of development, particularly associated with the proposed green infrastructure, including the use of a ‘wildlife friendly’ planting scheme which incorporates native species.
Transport and access
Vehicular access to our proposed development will be via Aspen Gardens and its existing junction with Taylor’s Road. Preliminary analysis indicates that the existing site access, and the junction between Taylor’s Road and Astwick Road, will have ample capacity to accommodate forecast development-generated traffic with no queuing on any of the approach roads.
There have been no personal injury accidents on Taylor’s Road over the three-year period from 2012 to 2014. The nearest recorded accidents are shown to have occurred on Astwick Road to the west and the A1 dual-carriageway to the east, which are remote from the junction with Taylor’s Road. It is therefore concluded that the adjacent Taylor’s Road has operated safely over the recent past.
Footways will be constructed on both sides of the internal site access roads, except where these are provided as shared surfaces, and connect with existing (and yet to be constructed) footways on Aspen Gardens. Connections will also be provided to existing public rights of way FP7 and FP15. Continuous footway links will therefore be provided between the site and town centre.
The internal site access roads will be sufficiently traffic-free to allow cycling without any requirement for formalised cycle facilities. Cycling trips will be further encouraged by the 20mph zone covering all roads within Stotfold.
The new residential development will be within 2km walking distance of all of the town’s facilities. Local shopping facilities are available within 800m walking distance of the site and the town’s schools are between 600m and 1.7km from the site.
Stotfold is served by seven bus services, with the closest bus stop to the development site being located on Regent Street. The closest railway station is approximately 3km to the west at Arlesey.
Parking for the proposed development will be provided in accordance with Central Bedfordshire Council’s minimum standards, which are set out within Policy P7 and Appendix B of its Local Transport Plan Parking Strategy.
The location of our proposed development in relation to key local facilities and pedestrian/cycle links.