Plan for 180 new homes in Cranfield that would leave road outside a school like the 'wild west' refused

Councillor said there's more chance of the World Cup being played in his back garden than proposed parking restrictions being enforced
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Plans for a new housing development in Cranfield have been turned down – despite being recommended for approval.

And a Central Bedfordshire councillor quipped there was more chance of the World Cup being played in his back garden than the plan’s proposed parking restrictions being enforced.

The council’s Development Management Committee (April 3) voted to refuse a hybrid planning application for up to 180 new homes on land north of Braeburn Way, and the demolition of existing buildings to build a parking court off Flitt Leys Close.

It is known as a hybrid application as the new homes part was an outline application, while the parking court was a full application.

The council planning officer’s recommendation was to approve.

Cameron Austin-Fell, planning director at RPS and speaking on behalf of the applicant, Richborough Estates, said the application site was subject to an appeal in 2021.

“The 2021 appeal was dismissed on two grounds; the first being highways safety, and the second linked to amenity concerns for existing residents,” he told the committee.

Entrance to the proposed parking court for Flitt Leys Close. Photo: LDRSEntrance to the proposed parking court for Flitt Leys Close. Photo: LDRS
Entrance to the proposed parking court for Flitt Leys Close. Photo: LDRS

He added that not applying for a secondary egress via Harcourt had removed the amenity concerns, and said the applicant had “worked hard” to overcome the highways safety issue.

“The solution from the applicant would see the introduction of a secure car park taken directly off Flitt Leys Close, which would remove obstructive vehicles to the benefit of local pedestrians,” he said.

The applicant also proposed the introduction of parking restrictions along Flitt Leys Close/ Braeburn Way and also a zebra crossing on Braeburn Way to serve the school.

During the later debate on the application, councillor Nigel Young (Conservative, Dunstable West) said: “I’ve got significantly more chance of getting a World Cup played in my back garden then we have of enforcing errant parking in Flitt Leys Close and on Braeburn [Way] just using our current establishment and our current methods.

Site for proposed new homes Photo: LDRSSite for proposed new homes Photo: LDRS
Site for proposed new homes Photo: LDRS

“The car park is not going to work, that’s my personal opinion, I don’t think people will go and park in there to walk through to school. I think it’s going to be dangerous.

“And I don’t think Flitt Leys residents are going to want to unload their shopping then tramp across to their homes,” he said.

“[Parents] are not going to go up into the car park, they are, if it’s not enforced, going to park outside the school. That’s what they do, we know that’s what they do.

“It would be the wild west outside the school for various reasons, not least that without technology we won’t be able to enforce [the parking restrictions] on a regular basis,” he said.

Committee members voted unanimously to approve councillor Victoria Harvey’s (Non-aligned, Leighton Linslade West) motion to refuse permission.

In a comment on social media ward councillor Sue Clark (Conservative, Cranfield and Marston Moretaine) wrote: “Sometimes applications like today’s are a war of attrition – the developer will keep going and so must we.

“A further 180 houses on this unallocated site cannot be reasonably [sic] be accessed off Flitt Leys and a parking court is not going to solve the issues. And I’m so glad the Planning Committee agreed.”

Developers have up to six months to submit an appeal against a refused application.

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