Bedford Borough targets south of Bedford / A421 for housing growth

MMAG have consistently warned of coalescence of Milton Keynes and Bedford into one huge sprawling urbanisation. Bedford Borough’s proposed local plan 2040 includes four development sites on the south side of Bedford concreting up to the Central Bedfordshire Council border. This includes a new settlement ‘Stewartby Hardwick’ to the north of Stewartby.

In light of the ongoing challenges of the Marston Valley New Villages proposal the move by Bedford Borough is a real concern. The cumulative impact of this volume of people and traffic will be unmanageable on the existing road network. So either we’ve heading for gridlock or large scale road building and/or road enlargement programme. Bedford Borough itself is arguing for dualling of the Bedford western bypass, something we all knew was needed at design and concept stage years ago, all a bit late to be pushing for it now.

The consultation ends Friday 29th 5pm, so please do take a moment to add your views.


-with most relevant points highlighted

Bedford Borough Local Plan 2040

The consultation will run for 6 weeks until 5pm on Friday 29 July 2022

We would prefer you to use the online consultation system which allows you to save comments as you go along, and return to your response at a later time before you submit it. It also retains a copy for your records. Responding on-line will help to improve the efficiency of the plan-making process.

Summary of the South of Bedford strategic concept

Click to view South of Bedford Area- Topic Paper – April 2022

A key part of that strategy is that in the context of the forthcoming East West Rail (EWR) project and the soon to be provided new station at Wixams, the area around Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick and the Wixams has been identified as a focal point for rail based growth through the establishment of a new settlement at Kempston Hardwick and the expansion of the Wixams. Selected locations in the surrounding southern parishes are also identified for housing development

More accessible

· Proposals for two major new rail stations at Stewartby Hardwick (EWR) and Wixams (Midland Mainline).

· Delivery of EWR unlikely before 2030

·Existing road network already close to capacity and requires improvement to release development potential

More prosperous

· Kempston Hardwick in particular has unique locational strengths at the core of the Arc which make it the key location for an innovation hub to fulfil the Borough’s ambitions for a high value economy

· The area to become a Progress Valley with high quality living and innovation based working environments

Overarching Vision

The Stewartby Hardwick rail station will open up a unique location for the creation of a new settlement set within a Forest Park of around 4,000 dwellings incorporating an innovation hub to provide high quality, local employment opportunities.

The newly opened station at Wixams will support expansion of the established new settlement in proximity to further innovation based employment provision at Pear Tree Farm.

With its good connections to Bedford, Shortstown will bring additional development opportunities including the re-use of brownfield land at the DVSA site.

Also close to Bedford, development at Gibraltar Corner(between Wootton & the A428 Lidl) will support the provision of a further section of the Bedford Waterway Park which is a strategic green infrastructure priority for the Council.

Policy HOU12 South of Bedford area

Within the South of Bedford policy area development will take an environment led approach and focus on enhancing natural capital by continuing to deliver the Forest of Marston Vale and enhancing the multifunctional green infrastructure network to provide the basis for distinctive place making and the setting for:

  • An Arc leading new settlement incorporating a new strategic Forest Park and an innovation hub at Kempston Hardwick served by a new station on the East West Rail line at Stewartby Hardwick (Policy HOU14);
  • Eastern and southern expansions to Wixams new settlement and the delivery of new station on the Midland Main Line (Policies HOU 15 and 16);
  • Development at Shortstown; land at the former DVSA site (Policy HOU18) and at College Farm incorporating a mobility hub (Policy HOU17);
  • Development focussed at Gibraltar Corner delivering an additional section of the Bedford Waterway Park, wet woodland and additional access to nearby green infrastructure (Policy HOU13);
  • A high value business park (primarily research and development with elements of manufacturing, warehousing and distribution) at Pear Tree Farm, Elstow (Policy EMP5).