The 26,000 houses of South Bedfordshire are now fixed in
national law. If they do not go to Leighton Buzzard they will go
to Houghton Regis and to the North of Luton which is an area of
outstanding natural beauty.
Housing numbers are fixed at a national and regional level.
From 2003 to 2005 we fought these numbers through the planning
system for the Milton Keynes South Midlands sub-regional
At the same time Dunstable Town council organised a
petition of 17,000 signatories from across South Bedfordshire
which was handed into parliament.
Western Bypass was funded partly in order to support the new
housing for the area yet the opposition to it was very small.
in April 2005 the 26,000 houses across South Bedfordshire became
and from that moment unless groups across the country formed a
national campaign to change government policy as the anti roads
movement did in the 1990s then it became impossible to stop the
At a public meeting last year we explained that it was only a
national campaign which could stop the housing numbers not the
core strategy. The core strategy is the opportunity to get the
most from our new development for Leighton Buzzard in supporting
the town centre, giving us a decent bus service, and improving
our green space for wildlife and for children.
We have waited to support the development on the East until
the million pounds from government was formally announced for
the south of Leighton Buzzard, which triggers the six million
pounds mainly from the developers. This development will
provide a really good the bus service from the south of the
town to the railway station, produce 20% less car trips than normal and considerably improve the cycle network. Arnold Whites
are also producing new playing fields for the town and
the housing will be of a very high environmental standard. These
are in legally binding agreements.
Compared with many other developers, Arnold Whites do consider
environmental issues. Therefore it is extremely likely that the
eastern development will be of a very high standard.
moment it is only an area in the core strategy,
www.shapeyourfuture.org.uk (the overall plan for South
Bedfordshire). Later, a detailed plan of what the estate will
look like will come out for public consultation and that is
where we make sure that it is to the highest standards. Indeed,
if the developers try to build more estates like Sandhills, then
we would be the first to stand in front of the bulldozers.
South Beds FoE are still fighting to stop increases to the
housing numbers at regional level where there is a chance
of succeeding. The regional spatial strategy for the East of
England has plans for at least another 1500 houses for South
Bedfordshire in addition to the statutory 26,000 houses.
We have legally challenged the government over this using
environmental law. Stop Harlow North and national Friends of the
Earth have also joined in this challenge, and as a result the
plans have been held up and the 1500 houses could still be
Even if there was no housing, we could still
loose our market which has been getting smaller since Wendy Fair
markets took over and the town centre could just end up with
only charity shops and banks and we would have even less public
transport and more congestion due the housing in the rest
of south Bedfordshire. We need to concentrate our energies on
supporting our markets and our town centre, getting real
alternatives to using our cars; renewable energy and creating
Greenspaces that really support our wildlife.