MMAG asks Inspector to kill of Northern Marston Vale Zombi Strategy

MMAG have submitted their concerns relating to the proposed housing site allocations affecting the village of Marston Moreteyne in the following letter:

Simon Osborn BA
TechRTPI Programme Officer
1 Lower Farm Cottages
Belchamp Walter
Sudbury
Suffolk CO10 7BA

Representor reference number – 10/00202

September 14th 2010

Dear Simon,

EXAMINATION INTO THE SOUNDNESS OF CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE (NORTH) SITE ALLOCATIONS DEVELOPMENT PLAN DOCUMENT

Representation by the Marston Moreteyne Action Group (MMAG)

(1) MMAG are a group of volunteers who have combined together to campaign for sustainable development within and around the Parish of Marston Moreteyne and oppose development that threatens our essentially rural and village way of life. As such we wish to bring the following points to the attention of the Inspector Mr Robert Yuille, Msc DipTP MRTPI. In so doing we hope to assist in making the plan more sound.

(2) The summary notes of the Central Bedfordshire (North) Site Allocations DPD Pre-Hearing Meeting (PHM) held on August 13th state (Para 30,2nd sentence) that the revocation of the Regional Spatial Strategy will not be a major issue at this Examination as the plan’s housing targets come from the Core Strategy and that the Council confirmed at the PHM it had decided to abide by these figures and not to review them. MMAG believes that for the Parish of Marston Moreteyne the revocation of the RSM is a major issue as the rational for proposed and potential development derives directly from the RSM. If the RSM has ceased to be then likewise so do much of the planning assumptions.

(3) The Core Strategy and Development Management Policies are driven (Para 1.3.2) by the 3 key policy drivers of the East of England and South East Plans and crucially the Milton Keynes & South Midlands Sub Regional Strategy (MKSMSRS). The MKSMSRS) in turn designates the Northern Marston Vale (Para 3.8.1) as part of the Bedford/Kempston/Northern Marston Vale Growth area and as such sets targets for housing and economic development. In Central Bedfordshire the largest settlements in the Northern Marston Vale are Marston Moreteyne, Houghton Conquest and the new settlement of Wixams. Crucially (Para 3.8.3) the Northern Marston Vale is described as a rural area and, in isolation, it would not be a priority location for growth. In the absence of a (MKSMSRS) then there can be no planning justification for its identification as a growth area unless Central Beds Council consult with both residents and surrounding communities as to their preferred economic futures.

(4) Marston Moreteyne is also identified as the most appropriate location for the Northern Marston Vale ‘contingency allocation’ to be determined through the Site Allocations DPD (Para 12.7.2). This contingency allocation is required to ensure the MKSMSRS (revoked)housing allocations are met as the Wixams is unlikely to contribute to housing delivery prior to 2021. Surely the Wixams is either viable or not and if not why should additional housing in Marston Moreteyne be any more so ?

(5) Therefore the plan should delete every reference to the Northern Marston Vale. Furthermore the future housing needs of Marston Moreteyne should be redefined in consultation with local residents (if necessary through referenda) and Central Beds Council and not through zombi strategies continuing to smear the countryside with development driven by the housing needs of Bedford and Milton Keynes.

Yours sincerely

Hugh Roberts
Chair
MMAG

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