Susanna Gillman, PlanningResource, 6 February 2009
The developers behind the Marston Vale eco town project in Bedfordshire have pulled out of the government’s programme in favour of going through the regional planning process.
O&H Properties said that it will pursue planning permission for a sustainable new settlement through the review of the East of England Plan and relevant local development frameworks.
Proposals will follow the established, plan-led route for obtaining consent, rather than the current eco-town evaluation process, it explained.
As a major landowner in the Marston Vale, O&H insisted that it remains resolutely committed to sustainable, mixed-use development in the area”.
Director David Reavell said: “After a searching review, we have made the decision to withdraw from the current eco-town evaluation process.It is clear to me that sustainable development in Marston Vale will be best achieved through the plan-led system.”
He added that the masterplan the company will take forward is likely to be different to the vision plan that formed the basis of its bid to DCLG.
“Sustainability will remain a central focus, but we want to have an open mind on the shape of the settlement we propose. In doing so, we want to be free to develop our plans with the community without the time constraint of the current eco-town process,” he said.
“O&H Properties Ltd remains a keen supporter of the rationale behind the eco-town concept, but after significant consultation, we feel that timely delivery of the development, and best use of investment, lie in adopting an alternative planning strategy.”
The company will begin the preparation of its planning application once decisions are made by national, regional and local government and sufficient clarity around growth plans for the region emerges.
“The preparation of the application will be a matter for public comment and debate, and we will continue to ensure that meaningful dialogue is held with local residents and stakeholders,” Reavall said.
O&H’s withdrawal means there are now 11 on the shortlist.