Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

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Appendix F

SA Matrices for the Reasonable Alternative Residential Site Options

Arlesey

Arlesey Option 1

Site option: Arlesey (Option 1)

Number of Dwellings: up to 2,000 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 2,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[1]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development at the site will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects on the first part of this objective.

Housing growth at this site location will expand the urban area of Arlesey east and has the potential to contribute to coalescence between Arlesey and Fairfield and Arlesey and Stotfold. The Masterplan for the proposed development suggests that a country park will be retained between the housing development and the settlement of Fairfield. This country park would occupy the land adjacent to Fairfield and help to retain the existing open character towards this settlement. Development will still contribute towards some level of coalescence of the two settlements considering the reduction in separation between them, but this would be mitigated significantly by the country park. Therefore minor negative effects are expected. The A507 provides a degree of separation between Arlesey and Stotfold, such that the identity of Stotfold is unlikely to be significantly affected by development at the site.

Development at this site will integrate well with the existing townscape of Arlesey as the site is located adjacent to the existing urban edge of the settlement.

Potential for a cumulative negative effect on the settlement identity with the MA8 Arlesey Cross Allocation of 1,000 homes to the north of the site. This will result in a larger extension of the existing settlement with a more pronounced effect on the identity of the settlement and the overall coalescence of Arlesey with Fairfield and Stotfold.

Landscaping can be designed to provide GI enhancements in line with the GI strategy for Central Bedfordshire and local aims for the Ivel River Valley Corridor GI network, including the delivery of the Etonbury Green Wheel.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[2]

Development at the site is in close proximity to the services and facilities available within Arlesey. This includes schools, restaurants, a Post Office and a pharmacy, all of which are within 800m of the site[3]. Extant Policy MA8 Arlesey Cross[4] comprises two development sites to the east and west of the High Street allocated for a minimum of 1,000 new homes. The adopted Masterplan includes requirements for new employment space (understood to be accommodated within the proposed new local centre and services provided as part of the development), a new school, other amenities, and environmental improvements. Residents at this site will therefore also have access to additional services/facilities provided as part of the Arlesey Cross development.

Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant delivery of new community services/facilities and the potential to support improved accessibility in this area, building upon the Masterplan proposals[5] with the potential for a significant long term positive effect on SA Objective 3. New provision of services/facilities can help address existing community issues, including capacity and lack of specific services/facilities. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development in line with development proposed at Arlesey Cross, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment[6]

The site will not result in the loss of employment land and will provide employment floorspace within the proposed new local centre and within services to be provided as part of the development; however it will not provide B-class employment land.

Arlesey is located on a strategic rail connection route which is likely to provide good access to employment areas. Development in this location is also likely to support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Arlesey and Stotfold, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Arlesey is also well connected to the A1 for access to larger towns along this corridor.

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5. Health & Equality[7]

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant positive or negative effects on the first part of this SA objective.

The Environmental Framework[8] identifies this site as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic GI network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Specific focuses include landscape enhancements, creation of the Great North Cycle Route and enhancing connections between settlements. A key issue for this GI area is the lack of strategic accessible greenspace. The Etonbury Green Wheel is a strategic GI project that will deliver a linked loop of publicly accessible green spaces and paths around Arlesey, Stotfold and Fairfield. The Green Wheel opened in May 2019 and future development will be expected to contribute towards this GI project. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support GI priorities and have long-term positive effects against the second part of SA Objective 5.

Public Open Space in Arlesey includes a football ground, playing fields and allotments. All of these open/recreational spaces are within 480m of the site[9]. Fairfield, to the east of the site also contains public open spaces which include a recreation area and amenity greenspace, and these facilities are also within 480m of the site[10]. The site is also in close proximity the consented Chase Farm site which forms part of the MA8 Arlesey Cross allocation and is to the north at the eastern edge of Arlesey, and is to provide new formal and informal open spaces and recreation facilities. The strategic level of development provides the opportunity to enhance and provide new areas of existing open/recreational spaces, which will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term positive effects on health. This option also includes the delivery of a country park to separate Arlesey from Fairfield. This will provide open space and GI opportunities for residents including proposals to enhance the CWS (Blue and Green Lagoons) to the south of the site.

Considering the good access to existing areas of open space from the site and the potential for improved access for new and existing residents through the delivery of a new country park, an overall significant positive effect is expected in relation to the second part of the SA objective.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the A507 in the north-east corner, and this provides access to the A1 approximately 3.5km to the east[11]. Early transport modelling[12] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1 and cause further congestion and infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. The nearest junction for the A1 has been noted as having congestion issues during peak periods[13] and it will be necessary to consider mitigation as part of any proposal for this site. The local community of Arlesey has also expressed concern about the capacity of the local road network to accommodate future development[14].

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment. A relief road through the site will be provided, connecting Hitchin Road to the south of Arlesey to the A507 in the north east, via a connection to the link road being delivered by the Arlesey Cross development[15]. This will aim to resolve existing and future congestion along Arlesey High Street. Further small-scale improvements to the local road network will be required to mitigate against the increase in traffic.

Increases in local traffic volumes could also be mitigated to some extent considering the presence of the mainline railway station within Arlesey. It should be noted that the station is not within easily walking distance of the site edge, however, access is available via local bus services. Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure in combination with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the proposed Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage. Therefore, a residual neutral effect with some uncertainty is considered likely.

The site option will not result in an increase in traffic within an AQMA[16]. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[17]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality but there is uncertainty at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is well connected to the existing urban area of Arlesey. Bus services from Arlesey include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Letchworth Garden City and Hitchin, and less regular services to Bedford. The site is within 800m of bus stops within Arlesey[18]. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in Arlesey through appropriate development contributions, with positive effects on sustainable transport. There is the potential for in-combination improvements with the Arlesey Cross development to ensure sustainable transport enhancements benefit the whole settlement.

Arlesey also has a mainline railway station, which is located approximately 1.5km to the north west of the site[19]. Although the site is not within easy walking distance of the railway station, there is potential for improved access to the station as the consented Chase Farm site is developed to the north of this site option. Furthermore, the station is accessible via local bus services, with positive effects therefore likely. National Cycle Route 12 is located approximately 1.0km to the north of the site[20]. Connections to the national cycle route from the site could be incorporated via the Arlesey Cross development which proposes a network of pedestrian and cycleways.

The site has existing PRoW network with some footpaths connecting the settlements of Arlesey and Fairfield. Development here can enhance these footpaths and therefore provide improvements to the connectivity between Arlesey and Fairfield, with potential minor positive effects.

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8. Energy & Climate Change[21]

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[22]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[23] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previous forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[24].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as water companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes at this site, and the 1,000 homes at the adjacent Arlesey Cross development, is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but there is uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall waterbody class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies, is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is entirely within Flood Zone 1[25] (low probability of flood risk), with an overall neutral effect on flooding.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will result in the loss of greenfield land. with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site is predominantly Grade 2 agricultural land, with a small area of Grade 3 (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known) agricultural land to the south east and a small area of non-agricultural land to the south west[26]. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. Due to the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land a significant negative effect is considered likely for the first part of this SA objective. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, with a neutral effect on the second part of the SA objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is Eversden and Wimpole Woods SAC, designated for Barbastelle bats[27], and is approximately 20km to the north east of the site, such that significant negative effects are not expected[28]. The site is not within the Nature Improvement Area and there are no National Nature Reserves or SSSIs in close proximity to the site[29]. There is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) approximately 2.0km to the east of the site[30], however the town of Stotfold is located between the site and the LNR, and there are no recorded sensitivities for the LNR.

There are two County Wildlife Sites (CWS) to the west of the site, with Lowland Meadow Priority Habitat, Semi-Improved Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat in the same location[31]. However, the town of Arlesey is between the site and the CWSs and Priority Habitats. The Blue Lagoon CWS is located within the south of the site, along with a small area of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[32]. Indicative proposals suggest that the CWS will be enhanced and maintained. The site is not located within the biodiversity network, which instead follows the path of the River Hiz on the other side of Arlesey to the west of the site.

The HRA for the Local Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

Development at the site could contribute to the improvement of the biodiversity network. The creation of new habitats and ecological corridors could help connect Priority Habitats to the CWSs, creating safe paths for local wildlife. Existing rural pathways in and around the site should be maintained and possibly enhanced to allow future residents to have access to open green space, with minor positive benefits for the health of residents. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[33] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[34]. This could complement and enhance the green and blue infrastructure requirements with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan for synergistic and cumulative positive effects. The provision of new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the GI network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of biodiversity sites in the surrounding area.

Indicative proposals[35] for the site suggest that the CWS and Priority Habitat will be retained. Compared to the alternative Options 2 and 3, this Arlesey site option would provide the greatest certainty for the provision of green space in the form of a new country park within the site boundary. This element of the site proposal will help to mitigate the potential for increased recreational pressure on biodiversity sites in the local area. Therefore, there is the potential for net gains to biodiversity particularly as a new country park is to be delivered, with a potential long-term significant positive effect. This is mixed with the potential minor negative effects of development at the site. Some uncertainty remains at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not within or adjacent to the Chilterns AONB[36]. The site is within the East Anglian Chalk National Character Area[37], and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (SA Objective 9 identifies the available mitigation) and to create or enhance GI in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas. There are significant views from Arlesey to Fairfield (see SA objective 2 previously about coalescence). Development in this location has the potential to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The local landscape assessment identifies the site as being located partially within the Upper Ivel Clay Valley[38]. The visual sensitives of the area include open views over arable farmland and the landscape strategy focuses on enhancing degraded features such as hedgerows and tree planting to increase biodiversity. The site is also partially within the Fairfield Chalk Farmland, whose visual sensitivities include open views over arable farmland and the enclosed nature of the Blue Lagoon CWS, with the landscape strategy focusing on renewing elements in poor condition and integration new development[39]. The site will result in loss or degradation visually sensitive features for the area, predominantly the open nature of arable farmland, but also a potential effect on the enclosed nature of the CWS. This will have long-term minor negative effects on the landscape.

A LVIA for the site[40] determined that the landscape has a low/medium landscape sensitivity. The assessment acknowledges the potential for negative effects on the landscape, however through sensitive design that responds to the localised context, it is considered that the site could be integrated with the local landscape. Therefore, it is considered that there is the potential for a minor positive effect on landscape through appropriate landscaping and design contributing to the landscape strategy for the area. Overall mixed minor positive and minor negative effects are therefore recorded.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are three Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[41], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site does not contain any designated heritage assets; however, it is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in both Arlesey and Fairfield[42]. This includes Church Farmhouse and Green Farmhouse in Arlesey and Fairfield Hospital and Church at Fairfield Hospital in Fairfield, all of which are Grade II Listed Buildings. Given the scale of development at this location it is likely to affect the open countryside setting in between the two settlements, and design will be required to respond to differing heritage settings in the south east and west. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings, with the potential for a residual neutral effect. Overall a minor negative effect is recorded considering the potential for impacts on the setting of the Listed Buildings. An element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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Arlesey Option 2

Site option: Arlesey (Option 2)

Number of Dwellings: up to 2,000 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 2,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

A significant positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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2. Communities[43]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development at the site will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land. A negligible effect is therefore expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

Housing growth at this site option will expand the urban area of Arlesey east and has the potential to contribute to coalescence between Arlesey and Fairfield and Arlesey and Stotfold. The site boundary has been drawn to exclude much of the land immediately to the north and south of West Drive immediately adjacent to Fairfield. Furthermore, much of the land adjacent to Fairfield is to be designated as a country park and would be retained as open space. This country park would occupy the land adjacent to Fairfield and help to retain the existing open character towards this settlement. However, the development within the site will still contribute towards some level of coalescence of the two settlements but this would be mitigated significantly by the country park. Therefore, minor negative effects are expected. The A507 provides a degree of separation between Arlesey and Stotfold, such that the identity of Stotfold is unlikely to be significantly affected by development at the site.

Development in this area has potential to integrate with the existing townscape of Arlesey as the site is located adjacent to the existing urban edge of the settlement. Potential for a cumulative negative effect on the settlement identity with the MA8 Arlesey Cross Allocation of 1,000 homes to the north of the site. This will result in a larger extension of the existing settlement with a more pronounced effect on the identity of the settlement and the overall coalescence of Arlesey with Fairfield and Stotfold.

It is recognised that there may be opportunities for landscaping to be designed to provide GI enhancements in line with the GI strategy for Central Bedfordshire and local aims for the Ivel River Valley Corridor GI network.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[44]

Development at the site would be in close proximity to the services and facilities available within Arlesey. This includes schools, restaurants, a medical centre a Post Office and a pharmacy. Apart from the Post Office which is within 1.0km all of these facilities are within 800m of the site[45]. Extant Policy MA8 Arlesey Cross[46] comprises two development sites to the east and west of the High Street allocated for a minimum of 1,000 new homes. The adopted Masterplan includes requirements for new employment space, a new school, other amenities, and environmental improvements. Residents at this site will therefore also have access to additional services/facilities provided as part of the Arlesey Cross development.

Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant delivery of new community services/facilities and the potential to support improved accessibility in this area, building upon the Masterplan proposals[47] with the potential for a significant long term positive effect on SA Objective 3. New provision of services/facilities can help address existing community issues, including capacity and lack of specific services/facilities. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development in line with development proposed at Arlesey Cross, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

A significant positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment[48]

The site will not result in the loss of employment land and will provide employment floorspace within the proposed new local centre; however it will not provide B-class employment land.

Arlesey is located on a strategic rail connection route which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas. Development in this location is also likely to support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Arlesey and Stotfold, with the potential for minor long term positive effects. Arlesey is also well connected to the A1 for access to larger towns along this corridor.

A minor positive effect is expected in relation to access to employment opportunities further afield.

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5. Health & Equality[49]

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant positive or negative effects in relation to the first part of this SA objective.

The Environmental Framework[50] identifies this site location as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Specific focuses include, landscape enhancements, creation of the Great North Cycle Route and enhancing connections between settlements. A key issue for this GI area is the lack of strategic accessible greenspace. The Etonbury Green Wheel is a strategic GI project that will deliver a linked loop of publicly accessible green spaces and paths around Arlesey, Stotfold and Fairfield. The Green Wheel opened in May 2019 and future development will be expected to contribute towards this GI project. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

Public Open Space in Arlesey includes a football ground, playing fields and allotments. All of these open/recreational spaces are within 480m of the site[51]. Fairfield, to the east of the site also contains public open spaces which include a recreation area and amenity greenspace, and many of these facilities are within 480m of the site[52]. The site is also in close proximity the consented Chase Farm site which is to the north at the eastern edge of Arlesey and is to provide new formal and informal open spaces and recreation facilities. The strategic level of development provides the opportunity to enhance and provide new areas of existing open/recreational spaces, which will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term positive effects on health. This option would provide less certainty for the delivery of the new country park to the south east of the site compared to Arlesey Option 1, given that the land required for its delivery would fall outside the site boundary.

Considering the good access new residents would have to existing areas of open space, a significant positive effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the A507 in the north-east corner, and this provides access to the A1 approximately 3.0km to the east[53]. Early transport modelling[54] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1 and cause further congestion and infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. The nearest junction for the A1 has been noted as having congestion issues during peak periods[55] and it will be necessary to consider mitigation as part of any proposal for this site. The local community of Arlesey has also expressed concern about the capacity of the local road network to accommodate future development[56].

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment. Indicative proposals suggest a relief road through the site will be provided, connecting Hitchin Road to the south of Arlesey to the A507 in the north east, via a connection to the link road being delivered by the Arlesey Cross development[57]. This will aim to resolve existing and future congestion along Arlesey High Street. Further small-scale improvements to the local road network will be required to mitigate against the increase in traffic.

Increases in local traffic volumes could also be mitigated to some extent considering the presence of the mainline railway station within Arlesey. It should be noted that the station is not within easily walking distance of the site edge, however, access is available via local bus services. Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure in combination with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the proposed Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage. Therefore, a residual neutral effect with some uncertainty is identified for this SA objective.

The site option will not result in an increase in traffic within an AQMA[58]. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[59]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty exists at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is well connected to the existing urban area of Arlesey. Bus services from Arlesey include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Letchworth Garden City and Hitchin, and less regular services to Bedford. The site is within 800m of bus stops within Arlesey[60]. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in Arlesey (e.g. service number 9A, 96, 96A, and W7[61]) through appropriate development contributions, with positive effects on sustainable transport. There is the potential for in-combination improvements with the Arlesey Cross development to ensure sustainable transport enhancements benefit the whole settlement.

Arlesey also has a mainline railway station, which is located approximately 1.5km to the north west of the site[62]. Although the site is not within easy walking distance of the railway station, there is potential for improved access to the station as the consented Chase Farm site is developed to the north of this site option. Furthermore, the station is access via local bus services, meaning there is potential for new residents to make use of rail links to the surrounding areas. National Cycle Route 12 is located approximately 1.0km to the north of the site[63]. Connections to the national cycle route from the site could be incorporated via the Arlesey Cross development which proposes a network of pedestrian and cycleways.

The site has existing PRoW network with some footpaths connecting the settlements of Arlesey and Fairfield. Development here can enhance these footpaths and therefore provide improvements to the connectivity between Arlesey and Fairfield. It is, however, recognised that development could result in loss of access to existing routes depending upon its specific design.

Overall a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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8. Energy & Climate Change[64]

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[65]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production.

As such, a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[66] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21which is greater than previous forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[67].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as water companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes at this site, and the 1,000 homes at the adjacent Arlesey Cross development, is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty exists at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies, is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

Overall a negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is entirely within Flood Zone 1[68] (low probability of flood risk), with an overall neutral effect on flooding.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems.

Overall a negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will result in the loss of greenfield land. Therefore, a negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site is predominantly Grade 2 agricultural land, with a small area of Grade 3 (the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently unknown) agricultural land to the south east and a small area of non-agricultural land to the south west[69]. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. Given the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land a significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, and therefore a negligible effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is Eversden and Wimpole Woods SAC, designated for Barbastelle bats[70], and is approximately 20km to the north east of the site, such that significant negative effects are not expected[71]. The site is not within the Nature Improvement Area and there are no National Nature Reserves or SSSIs in close proximity to the site[72]. There is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) approximately 2km to the east of the site[73], however the town of Stotfold is located between the site and the LNR, and there are no recorded sensitivities for the LNR.

There are two County Wildlife Sites (CWS) to the west of the site, with Lowland Meadow Priority Habitat, Semi-Improved Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat in the same location[74]. However, the town of Arlesey is between the site and the CWSs and Priority Habitats. Blue Lagoon CWS is located within the south of the site, along with a small area of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[75]. Indicative proposals suggest that the CWS will be enhanced and maintained. The site is not located within the biodiversity network, which instead follows the path of the River Hiz on the other side of Arlesey to the west of the site.

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the Arlesey Option 1 site (which has a larger boundary than this option) would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

Development at this site could contribute to the improvement of the biodiversity network. The creation of new habitats and ecological corridors could help connect Priority Habitats to the CWSs, creating safe paths for local wildlife. Existing rural pathways in and around the site should be maintained and possibly enhanced to allow future residents to have access to open green space, with minor positive benefits for the health of residents. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[76] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[77]. This could complement and enhance the green and blue infrastructure requirements with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan for synergistic and cumulative positive effects. The improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of biodiversity sites in the surrounding area.

Indicative proposals[78] for the site option suggest that the CWS and Priority Habitat will be retained. This site option would, however, provide less certainty in relation to the provision of the new country park compared to Arlesey Option 1. This option would not incorporate this area of land within the site boundaries and as such provides less certainty of this as a measure which might otherwise help to mitigate increased recreational pressure on biodiversity sites in the local area. Significant effects on designated biodiversity sites are not expected as a result of development, and some net gain could be achieved at the CWS and Priority Habitat through this site option. However, by providing less certainty about the delivery of new open space at the country park there is reduced potential for recreational pressures to be mitigated in relation to biodiversity sites in the area.

Overall a mixed minor positive and minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective although this is uncertain at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not within or adjacent to the Chilterns AONB[79]. The site is within the East Anglian Chalk National Character Area[80], and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (SA Objective 9 identifies the available mitigation) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas. There are significant views from Arlesey to Fairfield (see SA objective No 2 previously about coalescence). Development in this location has the potential to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The local landscape assessment identifies the site as being located partially within the Upper Ivel Clay Valley[81]. The visual sensitives of the area include open views over arable farmland and the landscape strategy focuses on enhancing degraded features such as hedgerows and tree planting to increase biodiversity. The site is also partially within the Fairfield Chalk Farmland, whose visual sensitivities include open views over arable farmland and the enclosed nature of the Blue Lagoon CWS, with the landscape strategy focusing on renewing elements in poor condition and integration new development[82]. The site will result in loss or degradation of visually sensitive features for the area, predominantly the open nature of arable farmland, but also a potential effect on the enclosed nature of the CWS. This will have long-term minor negative effects on the landscape.

A LVIA for the site Option 1[83] (within which this site lies) determined that the landscape has a low/medium landscape sensitivity. The assessment acknowledges the potential for negative effects on the landscape, however through sensitive design that responds to the localised context, it is considered that the site could be integrated with the local landscape. Therefore, it is considered that there is the potential for a minor positive effect on landscape through appropriate landscaping and design contributing to the landscape strategy for the area. Overall mixed minor positive and minor negative effects are therefore recorded.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

Large portions of two Archaeological Notification Areas lie within the site[84], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site does not contain any designated heritage assets; however, it is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in Arlesey. Listed Buildings in Fairfield are within relatively close proximity to the site[85]. Grade II Listed Buildings Church Farmhouse and Green Farmhouse are in particularly close proximity along West Drive in Arlesey, with little existing development present between located between these heritage assets and the site. Given the scale of development at this location it is likely to affect the open countryside setting in between the two settlements, and design will be required to respond to differing heritage settings in the south east and west. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings. A minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective considering the potential for impacts on the Listed Buildings. There remains an element of uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

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Arlesey Option 3

Site option: Arlesey (Option 3)

Number of Dwellings: up to 1,800 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 1,800 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would provide the least affordable homes of the site options considered for Arlesey, being the lowest the level of development in this location.

A significant positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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2. Communities[86]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development at the site will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land. A negligible effect is therefore expected in relation to the first part of this SA objective.

Housing development at this site will expand the urban area of Arlesey east and has the potential to contribute to coalescence between Arlesey and Fairfield and Arlesey and Stotfold. The site boundary has been drawn to exclude much of the land immediately to the north and south of West Drive, immediately adjacent to Fairfield. Furthermore, much of the land adjacent to Fairfield is to be designated as a country park and would be retained as open space. This country park would occupy the land adjacent to Fairfield and help to retain the existing open character towards this settlement. However, the development within the site will still contribute towards some level of coalescence of the two settlements, but this would be mitigated significantly by the country park. Therefore, minor negative effects are expected. The A507 provides a degree of separation between Arlesey and Stotfold, such that the identity of Stotfold is unlikely to be significantly affected by development at the site.

Development in this area has potential to integrate with the existing townscape of Arlesey as the site is located adjacent to the existing urban edge of the settlement. Potential for a cumulative negative effect on the settlement identity with the MA8 Arlesey Cross Allocation of 1,000 homes to the north of the site. This will result in a larger extension of the existing settlement with a more pronounced effect on the identity of the settlement and the overall coalescence of Arlesey with Fairfield and Stotfold.

It is recognised that there may be opportunities for landscaping to be designed to provide GI enhancements in line with the GI strategy for Central Bedfordshire and local aims for the Ivel River Valley Corridor GI network.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[87]

Development at the site would be in close proximity to the services and facilities available within Arlesey. This includes schools, restaurants, a medical centre a Post Office and a pharmacy. Apart from the Post Office which is within 1.0km all of these facilities are within 800m of the site[88]. Extant Policy MA8 Arlesey Cross[89] comprises two development sites to the east and west of the High Street allocated for a minimum of 1,000 new homes. The adopted Masterplan includes requirements for new employment space, a new school, other amenities, and environmental improvements. Residents of this site will therefore also have access to additional services/facilities provided as part of the Arlesey Cross development.

Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant delivery of new community services/facilities and the potential to support improved accessibility in this area, building upon the Masterplan proposals[90] with the potential for a significant long term positive effect on SA Objective 3. New provision of services/facilities can help address existing community issues, including capacity and lack of specific services/facilities. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development in line with development proposed at Arlesey Cross, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

A significant positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment[91]

The site will not result in the loss of employment land and will provide employment floorspace within the proposed new local centre; however it will not provide B-class employment land.

Arlesey is located on a strategic rail connection route which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas. Development in this location is also likely to support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Arlesey and Stotfold, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Arlesey is also well connected to the A1 for access to larger towns along this corridor.

A minor positive effect is expected in relation to access to as the second part of the SA objective.

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5. Health & Equality[92]

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant positive or negative effects on the first part of this SA objective.

The Environmental Framework[93] identifies this site as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Specific focuses include, landscape enhancements, creation of the Great North Cycle Route and enhancing connections between settlements. A key issue for this GI area is the lack of strategic accessible greenspace. The Etonbury Green Wheel is a strategic GI project that will deliver a linked loop of publicly accessible green spaces and paths around Arlesey, Stotfold and Fairfield. The Green Wheel opened in May 2019 and future development will be expected to contribute towards this GI project. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

Public Open Space in Arlesey includes a football ground, playing fields and allotments. All of these open/recreational spaces are within 480m of the site[94]. Fairfield, to the east of the site also contains public open spaces which include a recreation area and amenity greenspace, and many of these facilities are within 480m of the site[95]. The site is also in close proximity the consented Chase Farm site which is to the north at the eastern edge of Arlesey and is to provide new formal and informal open spaces and recreation facilities. The strategic level of development provides the opportunity to enhance and provide new areas of existing open/recreational spaces, which will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term positive effects on health. This option would provide less certainty about the delivery of the new country park to the south east of the site compared to Arlesey Option 1, given that the land required for its delivery would fall outside the site boundary.

Considering the good access new residents would have to existing areas of open space a significant positive effect is expected in relation to the second part of the SA objective.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the A507 in the north-east corner, and this provides access to the A1 approximately 3.0km to the east[96]. Early transport modelling[97] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1 and cause further congestion and infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. The nearest junction for the A1 has been noted as having congestion issues during peak periods[98] and it will be necessary to consider mitigation as part of any proposal for this site. The local community of Arlesey has also expressed concern about the capacity of the local road network to accommodate future development[99].Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment. A relief road through the site will be provided, connecting Hitchin Road to the south of Arlesey to the A507 in the north east, via the Arlesey Cross development[100]. This will aim to resolve existing and future congestion along Arlesey High Street. Further small-scale improvements to the local road network will be required to mitigate against the increase in traffic.

Increases in local traffic volumes could also be mitigated to some extent considering the presence of the mainline railway station within Arlesey. It should be noted that the station is not within easily walking distance of the site edge, however, access is available via local bus services. Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure in combination with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the proposed Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage. Therefore, a residual neutral effect with some uncertainty is identified.

The site option will not result in an increase in traffic within an AQMA[101]. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[102]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty exists at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is well connected to the existing urban area of Arlesey. Bus services from Arlesey include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Letchworth Garden City and Hitchin, and less regular services to Bedford. The site is within 800m of bus stops within Arlesey[103]. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in Arlesey (e.g. service number 9A, 96, 96A, and W7[104]) through appropriate development contributions, with positive effects on sustainable transport. There is the potential for in-combination improvements with the Arlesey Cross development to ensure sustainable transport enhancements benefit the whole settlement.

Arlesey also has a railway station, which is located approx. 1.5km to the north west of the site[105]. Although the site is not within easy walking distance of the railway station, there is potential for improved access to the station as the consented Chase Farm site is developed to the north of this site option. Furthermore, the station is accessible via local bus services, meaning there is potential for new residents to make use of rail links to the surrounding areas. National Cycle Route 12 is located approx. 1km to the north of the site[106]. Connections to the national cycle route from the site could be incorporated via the Arlesey Cross development which proposes a network of pedestrian and cycleways.

The site has existing PRoW network with some footpaths connecting the settlements of Arlesey and Fairfield. Development here can enhance these footpaths and therefore provide improvements to the connectivity between Arlesey and Fairfield. It is, however, recognised that development could result in loss of access to existing routes depending upon its specific design.

Overall a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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8. Energy & Climate Change[107]

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[108]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production.

As such, a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[109] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[110].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as water companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes at this site, and the 1,000 homes at the adjacent Arlesey Cross development, is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty exists at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies, is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

Overall a negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is entirely within Flood Zone 1[111] (low probability of flood risk), with an overall neutral effect on flooding.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems.

Overall a negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will result in the loss of greenfield land. Therefore, a negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site is predominantly Grade 2 agricultural land, with a small area of Grade 3 (the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently unknown) agricultural land to the south east and a small area of non-agricultural land to the south west[112]. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. Given the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land a significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, and therefore a negligible effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is Eversden and Wimpole Woods SAC, designated for Barbastelle bats[113], and is approximately 20km to the north east of the site, such that significant negative effects are not expected[114]. The site is not within the Nature Improvement Area and there are no National Nature Reserves or SSSIs in close proximity to the site[115]. There is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) approximately 2km to the east of the site[116], however the town of Stotfold is located between the site and the LNR, and there are no recorded sensitivities for the LNR.

There are two County Wildlife Sites (CWS) to the west of the site, with Lowland Meadow Priority Habitat, Semi-Improved Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat in the same location[117]. However, the town of Arlesey is between the site and the CWSs and Priority Habitats. Blue Lagoon CWS is located within the south of the site, along with a small area of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[118]. Indicative proposals suggest that the CWS will be enhanced and maintained. The site is not located within the biodiversity network, which instead follows the path of the River Hiz on the other side of Arlesey to the west of the site.

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the Arlesey Option 1 site( which has a larger boundary than this option) would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

Development at this site could contribute to the improvement of the biodiversity network. The creation of new habitats and ecological corridors could help connect Priority Habitats to the CWSs, creating safe paths for local wildlife. Existing rural pathways in and around the site allocation should be maintained and possibly enhanced to allow future residents to have access to open green space, with minor positive benefits for the health of residents. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[119] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[120]. This could complement and enhance the green and blue infrastructure requirements with the Arlesey Cross Masterplan for synergistic and cumulative positive effects. The improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of biodiversity sites in the surrounding area.

Indicative proposals[121] for the site option suggest that the CWS and Priority Habitat will be retained. This site option would however, provide less certainty in relation to the provision of the new country park compared to Arlesey Option 1. This option would not incorporate the land for the country park within the site boundaries and as such provides less certainty about this measure which might otherwise help to mitigate increased recreational pressure on biodiversity sites in the local area. Significant effects on designated biodiversity sites are not expected as a result of development, and some net gain could be achieved at the CWS and Priority Habitat through this site option. However, by providing less certainty about the delivery of the country park there is reduced potential for recreational pressures to be mitigated in relation to biodiversity sites in the area and a minor negative effect is also recorded in relation to biodiversity.

Overall a mixed minor positive and minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. It is recognised that some uncertainty remains at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not within or adjacent to the Chilterns AONB[122]. The site is within the East Anglian Chalk National Character Area[123], and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (SA Objective 9 identifies the available mitigation) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas. There are significant views from Arlesey to Fairfield (see SA objective 2 previously about coalescence). Development in this location has the potential to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The local landscape assessment identifies the site as being located partially within the Upper Ivel Clay Valley[124]. The visual sensitives of the area include open views over arable farmland and the landscape strategy focuses on enhancing degraded features such as hedgerows and tree planting to increase biodiversity. The site is also partially within the Fairfield Chalk Farmland, whose visual sensitivities include open views over arable farmland and the enclosed nature of the Blue Lagoon CWS, with the landscape strategy focusing on renewing elements in poor condition and integration new development[125]. The site will result in loss or degradation of visually sensitive features for the area, predominantly the open nature of arable farmland, but also a potential effect on the enclosed nature of the CWS. This will have long-term minor negative effects on the landscape.

A LVIA for the site Option 1[126] (within which this site lies) determined that the landscape has a low/medium landscape sensitivity. The assessment acknowledges the potential for negative effects on the landscape, however through sensitive design that responds to the localised context, it is considered that the site could be integrated with the local landscape. Therefore, it is considered that there is the potential for a minor positive effect on landscape through appropriate landscaping and design contributing to the landscape strategy for the area. Overall mixed minor positive and minor negative effects are therefore recorded.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

Large portions of two Archaeological Notification Areas lie within the site[127], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site does not contain any designated heritage assets; however it is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in Arlesey. Listed Buildings in Fairfield are within relatively close proximity to the site[128]. Grade II Listed Buildings Church Farmhouse and Green Farmhouse are in particularly close proximity along West Drive in Arlesey, with little existing development present between located between these heritage assets and the site. Given the scale of development at this site it is likely to affect the open countryside setting in between the two settlements, and design will be required to respond to differing heritage settings in the south east and west. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings. A minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective considering the potential for impacts on the Listed Buildings. There remains an element of uncertainty at this stage.

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Aspley Guise

Site option: Aspley Guise

Number of Dwellings: up to 3,000 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 3,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects.

It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[129]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth at this site option will expand the urban area of Aspley Guise north and is unlikely to contribute to coalescence given the existing barrier of the M1 motorway; locating new development to the north should avoid potential coalescence with Milton Keynes to the west.

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects.

The expansion north of the settlement however is less likely to effectively integrate given the existing railway line providing a barrier for movement and connection with the existing urban form. Development in this area would require significant infrastructure investment to overcome this barrier, although the scale of the potential development could support this. Overall, it is therefore considered to have the potential for a minor long-term negative effect with some uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[130]

Development at the site option is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Aspley Guise and Milton Keynes. Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area, with the potential for a significant long term positive effect against SA Objective 3. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option has been considered for the development of housing and as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

The site is in close proximity to Milton Keynes as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire and is connected by rail (by the Marston Vale Branch Line) to this area which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. The area is also well connected to J13 on the M1 for employment, and the proposed Ridgmont station for the East-West Rail Link. Development in this location could also support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Woburn Sands and Milton Keynes, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[131] identifies this area as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site benefits from access to the strategic road network given that it is adjacent to the A421 and in close proximity to the M1. Access to the strategic road network is provided by Junction 13 which is located adjacent to the north east of the site. The site also falls within corridor options being considered for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway which would allow for improved access to the M40 and M11. It is noted that there is uncertainty over the specific location of where this new route would be delivered. Early transport modelling[132] identifies that infrastructure improvements would be crucial given the level of stress on the strategic routes in this area. However, any expected increase in traffic could be mitigated through good access to public transport networks. Access to a mainline railway station is provided at Aspley Guise station which is adjacent to the south of the site.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport with the potential for a residual neutral effect with an element of uncertainty at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close proximity. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[133]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

0?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is separated from the urban area of Aspley Guise by the existing railway line, however the site is located adjacent to Aspley Guise station which is located on the Marston Vale Branch Line linking Milton Keynes with Bedford. Furthermore, access is available from the site to the bus service connections in Aspley Guise as well as the bus stops to the west of the site, along Lower End Road with the potential for significant long term positive effects. It will also have good access to the proposed EWR station at Ridgmont.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[134]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[135] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 3,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[136] . Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities or Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site option will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

There is mostly Grade 3 (the split of sub-grade of this soil between 3a or 3b is not known) best and most versatile agricultural land in the site option[137] and therefore a significant negative effect is expected in relation to potential loss of higher value agricultural soils. This is uncertain dependent upon the findings of site level assessments. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

--?

0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or around the site option. A SSSI (Wavendon Heath Ponds) is located south of the site option[138] within 3.0km, however there is existing development between the site option and the SSSI.

There are two small County Wildlife Sites (CWS) almost immediately adjacent to the site to the south[139]. There are also Priority Habitats in the land surrounding the site option, which includes Heath and Acid Grassland and Lowland Woodpasture & Parkland[140]. The site option and the surrounding land is also located in the biodiversity network. Development in this location therefore has the potential to cause fragmentation of existing Priority Habitats, with the potential loss of ecological corridors and disturbance to the biodiversity network which is in the area. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There are opportunities for enhancement of the biodiversity network in the local area. There are opportunities to create new habitats along the railway line embankments to the south of the site option, linking in with the biodiversity network. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is also located a short distance directly to the south of the site option. Enhancing connections between the two CWSs and Priority Habitats with the NIA through new ecological corridors and biodiversity network improvements would result in benefits for both areas. The creation of new habitat sites in and around the site option would also help improve the local biodiversity network. The existing rural footpaths in the site option should also be maintained, as they allow existing residents access to open green space as well as connecting local settlements. The creation of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway, which will pass to the north of Aspley Guise through the site, will provide enhancement to the local biodiversity and GI networks, providing blue and green corridors which will allow wildlife movement, and creating new habitats, with biodiversity gains. The route should be safeguarded as part of the delivery of development at this site.

These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[141] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[142]. While there is potential for some minor benefits as development occurs, the potential for habit fragmentation at the CWSs and Priority Habitats means an overall minor negative effect is expected. This is uncertain dependent upon the finding of site level assessments.

-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects on SA Objective 13.

The broad location is within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale landscape character type. Visually sensitive features in this landscape area includes the visual setting of the Greensand Ridge and the hedgerow framework in the area. The landscape strategy for the character type includes the enhancement/renewal of the landscape and environmentally led regeneration for areas within the Forest of Marston Vale. It is expected that development would make positive contributions to the landscape strategy, with potential minor positive effects on landscape. Some uncertainty remains at this level of assessment.

+?

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are three small Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[143], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

The site option is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in both Aspley Guise and Wavendon, as well as Conservation Areas in Aspley Guise and Husborne Crawley to the south. This includes Grade II Listed Buildings Chimney Cottage and Crossing House which are almost immediately adjacent to the site to the west and south respectively. Given the scale of development at this site option it is likely to affect the open countryside setting in between the settlements of Aspley Guise and Wavendon, and design will be required to respond to differing heritage settings in the south and west.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings and the Conservation Areas. The proximity of the surrounding heritage assets means that harm could result to their respective settings and therefore an overall minor negative effect is expected. Some uncertainty at this stage until lower level assessments have been completed.

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Biggleswade East

Biggleswade East Phase 1

Site option: Biggleswade East (Phase 1)

Number of Dwellings: up to 1,500 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 1,500 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

++

2. Communities[144]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth in this site option will expand the urban area of Biggleswade to the east and decrease the open land between Biggleswade and Dunton. This is however unlikely to significantly contribute towards coalescence of these settlements. There is the potential for coalescence with Sutton to the north-east and mitigation measures (physical separation and significant soft landscaping) would be required. Likely residual neutral effects but some uncertainty remains at this stage of assessment until precise locational details confirm the effectiveness of mitigation possibilities.

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land.

Development in this area could integrate well with the existing urban area of Biggleswade and support community identity. Overall, it is considered to have the potential for minor long-term cumulative positive effects.

0?

+

3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[145]

Development at the site would be in close proximity to services and facilities available within Biggleswade. Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area, with the potential for a significant long term positive effect.

This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option has been identified for the development of housing and as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA objective, with the potential for a neutral effect.

However, the option is located in close proximity to a strategic rail connection route which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas and it is in close proximity to an existing key employment area in Biggleswade (Stratton Business Park). Development in this location may also support the vitality and viability of Biggleswade town centre, with the potential for minor long term positive effects.

0

+

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[146] identifies this site as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA objective 5.

The phase 1 site is in close proximity to several public/recreational areas, which includes Biggleswade Common (a key GI asset) and informal recreation areas. Development at the site can provide improvements to public open space provision within Biggleswade, with potential long-term positive effects on health through the promotion of healthier lifestyles. Improvements to open spaces can be linked with GI for synergistic positive effects.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[147] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have negative effects on the A1 and cause further congestion such that infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. However, an initial transport study for the combined phase 1 and phase 2 site allocation[148] which this option is part of concluded that whilst there will be an increase in vehicles on the local road network, the road network can accommodate these with no significant effects. The A1 is predicted to retain 25% to 44% spare capacity post-development. Furthermore, there is the potential for enhancements to sustainable transport which will provide further mitigation against the increase in traffic.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to transport with the potential for a residual neutral effect with an element of uncertainty and minor negative effects at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[149]. However, the site option is located some distance from this (the AQMA is within 5.3km to the north west). It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[150]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

0?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site could be well connected to the existing urban area of Biggleswade, which is well-served by bus services. It is anticipated that development in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in the eastern area of Biggleswade (e.g. service number 85, 85A, 188 and W3[151]) through appropriate development contributions. These services currently provide access to nearby larger settlements including Hitchin and Sandy. The existing eastern urban edge of Biggleswade is also located less than 1.6km from Biggleswade Station[152], with the potential for a minor long-term positive effect. The station provides regular services to London and Peterborough and improvements allow for access to the Thameslink regional rail network and the East-West Rail Link. Walking routes and cycleways could be included as part of masterplanning and to enhance the existing network with the potential for synergistic and cumulative positive effects.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[153]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[154] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[155].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 3,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Though there are areas of flood risk within the site option (areas along the northern and western site boundary fall within Flood Zones 2 and 3) [156], in line with Local Plan policy on flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas. However, it is noted that development may find it difficult to avoid these areas of the site, and therefore it is considered there is the potential for a long-term minor negative effect. Some uncertainty until masterplanning has been completed for the proposed development.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. As such there may be opportunities to mitigate the adverse effects recorded.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development of this site option will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

There is best and most versatile agricultural land[157] in the site particularly a large area of Grade 2 east of Stratton Upper School and Community College. Development in this area has the potential for significant long term negative effects against SA Objective 11. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

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0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The site option is not located close to any internationally designated biodiversity sites or located in the Nature Improvement Area. There are no SSSIs within close proximity[158]. The closest of these is Sandy Warren SSSI (designated due to heathland habitat) which is located within 2.3km to the north west.

Henlow Common and Langford Meadows Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is located to the south west of the site option within 4.3km[159]. However, impacts from development are unlikely to affect this site because existing development (Langford) already exists between the site option and the LNR and there are no ecological corridors between them. A County Wildlife Sites (CWS) is located adjacent to the north western corner of the site and two further CWSs are within 350m and 540m to the south west of the site. The northern and western portions of the site option contains existing biodiversity network, however the south of the site option and the immediate surrounding land does not have any biodiversity network. There are additional blocks of Priority Habitat including Lowland Wood-pasture and Parkland present to the north. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation.

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the allocation of the phase 1 and phase 2 sites would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

Development in this site option has the potential to provide enhancement to the biodiversity network. Currently there is a lack of biodiversity network in the land around the south of the site option. However, development could help connect the biodiversity network in the north of the site option with the biodiversity network to the west of Biggleswade, forming a band of biodiversity network running along the southern border of the settlement. This network could connect the existing blocks of Priority Habitats and provide an ecological corridor to allow safe wildlife movement. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[160] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[161]. It is important that the existing CWSs and Priority Habitat blocks are protected, possibly with the use of buffer zones around valuable areas, and future residents should have access to the CWSs with benefits for the health of future residents.

Overall, while there is the potential for some long term benefits in relation to connection of existing habitats, development could result in habitat fragmentation and loss at the Priority Habitats and CWS and therefore minor negative effects are recorded overall. Some uncertainty is attached until more detailed assessments are completed.

-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development in this site option is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The phase 1 site lies mostly within the Dunton Clay Vale Landscape Character Area[162]. Visual sensitives in this area include far reaching views to the east and a high degree of containment. The landscape strategy for the area is to restore and repair elements that have been lost or degrade. The site is not likely to result in a loss of visually sensitive features for the landscape, however development can support the local landscape strategy, with potential minor positive effects. Uncertainty attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessment.

+?

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

Parts of two Archaeological Notification Areas lie within the site[163], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

The site does not include any designated heritage assets. Grade II Listed Buildings Turnpike Farmhouse and Sunderland Hall Farmhouse lie within 550m and 290m of the site to the north west and east respectively. Development at the site has the potential to have some more limited effects on the setting of these heritage assets. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the setting of Designated Heritage Assets, with the potential for a residual neutral effect. There remains an element of uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

0?


Biggleswade East Phase 2

Site option: Biggleswade East (Phase 2)

Number of Dwellings: up to 5,500 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 5,500 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

++

2. Communities[164]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land, with an overall neutral effect.

Development of the phase 2 site has the potential to contribute substantially towards the coalescence of Biggleswade with the village of Sutton to the north east of Biggleswade and to the coalescence with Dunton to the south east of the site. Mitigation measures (physical separation and significant soft landscaping) would be required to address the potential effects of coalescence.

Development would represent a strategic increase in housing development to the east of the town, which could alter the identity of the settlement. The rural and separated nature of the villages of Sutton and Dunton would also be negatively affected by development at the site. Overall potential for a minor negative effect on community and settlement identities.

0?

-

3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[165]

Development at the site would be in close proximity to services and facilities available within Biggleswade and also adjacent to the phase 1 Biggleswade East site. Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area, with the potential for a significant long term positive effect.

This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option is of a scale that would incorporate employment provision within the site, although the quantum is unknown. A minor positive effect is therefore identified with uncertainty attached.

The option is located in close proximity to a strategic rail connection route which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas and it is in close proximity to an existing key employment area in Biggleswade (Stratton Business Park). Development in this location may also support the vitality and viability of Biggleswade town centre, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects.

+?

+

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[166] identifies this site as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA objective 5.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[167] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have negative effects on the A1 and cause further congestion such that infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. However, an initial transport study for the phase 1 and phase 2 site allocation[168] concluded that whilst there will be an increase in vehicles on the local road network, the road network can accommodate these with no significant effects. The A1 is predicted to retain 25% to 44% spare capacity post-development. Furthermore, there is the potential for enhancements to sustainable transport which will provide further mitigation against the increase in traffic.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport with the potential for a residual neutral effect with an element of uncertainty until further transport impact studies have been completed.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[169]. However, the site is located some distance from this (within 5.9km to the north west). It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[170]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

0?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

Considering the location of the site adjacent to the phase 1 site, it could be well connected to the existing urban area of Biggleswade, which is well-served by bus services. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in the eastern area of Biggleswade (e.g. service number 85, 85A, 188 and W3[171]) through appropriate development contributions. These services currently provide access to nearby larger settlements including Hitchin and Sandy. The existing eastern urban edge of Biggleswade which the phase 1 site would be adjacent to, is also located less than 1.6km from Biggleswade Station[172]. The phase 2 site is located within 2.6km of the station meaning there is more limited potential for new residents to make use of the train services when compared to those at the phase 1 site. The station provides regular services to London and Peterborough and improvements allow for access to the Thameslink regional rail network and the East-West Rail Link. Walking routes and cycleways could be included as part of masterplanning and to enhance the existing network with the potential for synergistic and cumulative positive effects.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[173]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[174] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[175].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 3,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Though there are areas of flood risk within the site option (areas towards the central portions of the site fall within Flood Zones 2 and 3) [176], in line with Local Plan policy on flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas. However, it is noted that development may find it difficult to avoid these areas of the site, and therefore it is considered there is the potential for a long-term minor negative effect. Some uncertainty until masterplanning has been completed for the proposed development.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. As such there may be opportunities to mitigate the adverse effects recorded.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this site option will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for minor long-term negative effects.

There is best and most versatile agricultural land[177] in the site. This is mostly Grade 2 land with smaller areas of Grade 3 land in the central portion of the site. Development in this area has the potential for major long term negative effects against SA Objective 11. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The site option is not located close to any internationally designated biodiversity sites or located in the Nature Improvement Area. There are no SSSIs within close proximity[178]. The closest of these is Sandy Warren SSSI (designated due to heathland habitat) which is located within 2.9km to the north west.

Henlow Common and Langford Meadows Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is located to the south west of the site option within 4.4km[179]. However, impacts from development are unlikely to affect this site because existing development (Langford) already exists between the site option and the LNR and there are no ecological corridors between them. A number of County Wildlife Sites (CWS) are located the west and north west of the site within 1.2km, the closest of which is within 800m. The northern portion of the site option contains existing biodiversity network, however the south of the site option and the immediate surrounding land does not have any biodiversity network. There are additional blocks of Priority Habitat including Lowland Wood-pasture and Parkland present to the north. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation.

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the allocation of the phase 1 and phase 2 sites would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

Development in this site option has the potential to provide enhancement to the biodiversity network. Currently there is a lack of biodiversity network in the land around the south of the site option. However, development could help connect the biodiversity network in the north of the site option with the biodiversity network to the west of Biggleswade, forming a band of biodiversity network running along the southern border of the settlement. This network could connect the existing blocks of Priority Habitats and provide an ecological corridor to allow safe wildlife movement. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[180] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[181]. It is important that the existing CWSs and Priority Habitat blocks are protected, possibly with the use of buffer zones around valuable areas, and future residents should have access to the CWSs with benefits for the health of future residents.

While there is the potential for some long-term benefits resulting from the connection of existing surrounding habitats, development is also likely to result in increased habitat loss and fragmentation at the areas of Priority Habitat and CWSs surrounding the site. Therefore, an overall minor negative effect is recorded. Some uncertainty is attached until more detailed assessments are completed.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development in this site option is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The phase 2 site lies within the Dunton Clay Vale Landscape Character Area[182]. Visual sensitives in this area include far reaching views to the east and a high degree of containment. The landscape strategy for the area is to restore and repair elements that have been lost or degrade. The site is not likely to result in a loss of visually sensitive features for the landscape, however development can support the local landscape strategy, with potential minor positive effects. Uncertainty attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessment.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[183], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

The site option includes the Grade II Listed Building Sunderland Hall Farmhouse. Furthermore, numerous Listed Buildings lie in close proximity to the site within the settlement of Sutton to the north. Newton Bury moated site is designated as a Scheduled Monument at the site's southern boundary. Much of the settlement also lies within the Sutton Conservation Area. Development at the site has the potential to affect the setting of these heritage assets. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to limit the potential for significant effects on the setting of Designated Heritage Assets.

Overall potential for a significant negative effect considering that a Listed Building lies within the site boundary, however there remains an element of uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

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Henlow Airfield and Camp

Site option: Henlow Airfield and Camp

Number of Dwellings: Mixed-use up to 1,000 homes and employment land

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 1,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the growth location can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[184]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects.

While the site contains much of the land between the settlements of Henlow and Henlow Camp, development at the site would be limited to existing brownfield areas to the south of the airfield. The existing open land at the airfield would be retained and this would limit the potential for coalescence between Henlow and Henlow Camp. It is expected that the redevelopment of brownfield land at Henlow Camp, which would result in limited extension of the existing settlement boundary, could be integrated successfully with existing development and contribute to community identity. Potential for a minor long-term cumulative positive effect against SA Objective 2.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[185]

The site is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Lower Stondon, Henlow and Henlow Camp.

It is considered that there is the potential for provisions to support improved accessibility in this area. The mixed use development (including housing) to be delivered through this option has substantial scope to support these types of provisions and therefore a significant long-term positive effect is expected. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. Some uncertainty at this level of assessment. There are some existing services and facilities within Henlow Camp, however, considering the smaller size of this settlement, these are of a more limited nature. Furthermore some of these services and facilities may be lost as new development is delivered. It is currently unknown which services will be retained as part of the development. As such, the significant positive effect is uncertain.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option is expected to have a minor positive effect in relation to the first part of this SA objective given that it will deliver mixed-use employment land but less than 10ha.

The site is located in close proximity to a strategic rail connection route at Arlesey which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas elsewhere. Development at this location is also likely to support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Arlesey, Shefford and Stotfold, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[186]

The site is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects. The site is bordered by an explosive making facility, which poses a potential risk to human health. However, appropriate mitigation through Local Plan Policy will ensure that a health impact assessment is carried out.

The site includes previously developed land including a golf course that had waste imported for site bunding. It is understood that there have been historically stored hazardous substances (medical and aircraft fuel) and there is also a source of contamination from a disused railway line. MBDA Systems (including manufacture and storage of missiles) is located to the north and care will be required to ensure the health and well-being for any proposed residential areas. Development Management policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment provide mitigation measures regarding the protection of human health indicating neutral effects. Previously developed and contaminated land are dealt with SA Objective No 11 Soils and Land and it is acknowledged that remediation would be required to safeguard the health of future occupiers.

The Environmental Framework[187] identifies that this area is not located within a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. However, it is within close proximity of this network which is to the east and it is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and habitat connectivity with the potential for significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[188] identifies that further growth in this area may put additional pressure on the local roads and routes towards Hitchin, as well as the strategic routes such as the A507 and A1. Limits are in place on the number of vehicle movements on the A600 due to the presence of the arms manufacturer MBDA on this route which is likely to be a significant constraint. The number of vehicle movements in the area will also be influenced by proposed allocations/consented sites in Lower Stondon and there are likely to be cumulative impacts. Furthermore, the provision of new employment uses as part of this option may increase the number of HGVs on the local road network.

It is expected that increase in traffic could be mitigated in part through good access to public transport networks. The nearest railway station to the site is within 1.7km at Arlesey. There are also a number of bus stops (servicing the 9a, 9b and 74 routes) located in Henlow and Henlow Camp which provide regular access to Biggleswade and Bedford.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close distance. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[189]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

With particular consideration for the constraints to vehicle movements along the A600 an uncertain significant negative effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is connected to the existing urban areas of Henlow, Henlow Camp and Lower Stondon which is served by a number of bus services. It is anticipated that growth at this site could accommodate viable extensions to such services (e.g. service numbers 9a, 9b and 74) through appropriate development contributions. The existing northern edge of the broad location is located around 1.7km from the railway station in Arlesey, with the potential for a minor long-term positive effect overall.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[190]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth .

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies & any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 1,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment. With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

There are small areas of flood risk within the central area of this site option[191],and in line with Local Plan policy on flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas with the potential for a residual neutral effect.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Likely residual neutral effects.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[192]

Development at this site option will result in the loss of some greenfield land. Much of this land is within the non-agricultural classification, however, there is some Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land within the site boundaries to the north. There is also some Grade 3agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known) to the north west. Potential for significant negative effects through the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land, although some uncertainty at this strategic level.

Given the nature of the land use at the airfield site there may be contamination constraints and as described above under SA Objective No 5 on health, contaminated land through previous uses is likely with the potential for negative effects. Local Plan policy on pollution should ensure that there will be no significant effects on health, and project level mitigation can ensure the appropriate remediation if necessary with the potential for minor positive effects through land restoration and helping resolve an existing sustainability problem – some uncertainty remains at this stage until further studies and details of mitigation possibilities prepared. Further minor positive effects through the potential redevelopment of some brownfield land which is within the site boundaries.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. There are also no SSSIs, National Nature Reserves or Local Nature Reserves around the site. The HRA of the Plan concluded that development of the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

To the east of the site there are a number of County Wildlife Sites (CWS) and a range of Priority Habitats[193]. The Priority Habitats include Deciduous Woodland, Floodplain Grazing Marsh, Lowland Meadows and semi-improved Grassland. Henlow Pit CWS is also in close proximity to the site to the north west. The biodiversity network is located to the east of the site, encompassing the Priority Habitat and CWSs, whilst following the path of the River Hiz. Development in this location therefore has the potential to result in negative effects such as light and noise pollution affecting local wildlife, increased recreation use resulting in disturbance and destruction, and possible effects on the River Purwell through run-off and waste. A buffer zone around this area would help protect the CWSs and Priority Habitat. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. The site is in an area which has a limited biodiversity network, and so the creation of new ecological corridors and new habitats would help increase the ecological value of the area. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[194]and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[195]. Any footpaths in the site should be maintained to allow current and future residents access to greenspace and the CWSs.

Overall it is considered that there is the potential for long-term minor positive effects, although some uncertainty at this level of assessment. The minor positive effects are combined with minor negative effects considering the potential for habitat disturbance and destruction identified.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The local landscape assessment identifies the site as being located partially within the Upper Ivel Clay Valley[196]. The visual sensitives of the area include open views over arable farmland and the landscape strategy is to enhance degrade features such as hedgerows and tree planting to increase biodiversity. It is expected that development at the site would support the landscape strategy, with potential minor positive effects. Some uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a small number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site, in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

The site contains a number of Grade I Listed Buildings (190 Hitchin Road and nearby aircraft hangars as well as the officer's mess building). Grade II* Listed Building Old Ramerick Manor also lies in close proximity to the southern boundary of the site. The development of the site is likely to affect the heritage setting and use of these buildings, and it is recognised that there is the potential for adverse impacts on their existing settings. Development will require high quality, responsive design.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage, however the effects of development in this area remain uncertain until site level proposals and details can be assessed.

Considering the presence of the Listed Buildings within the site boundary an uncertain significant negative effect is recorded, however, there remains an element of uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

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Houghton Regis North

Option: Houghton Regis North

Number of Dwellings: between 4,150 and 5,150 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 5,150 new homes can make a significant contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as some of the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[197]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth in this location will expand the urban area of Houghton Regis to the north and east and contribute to the coalescence of the settlement with Luton to the east and the smaller settlement of Chalton to the north. A degree of coalescence has already occurred between Houghton Regis and Luton, although the two settlements are separated by the M1. The presence of the M1 would also act to limit the potential for cumulative effects of this allocation with the Luton North site options. Furthermore, the A5 would act as a defensible barrier between Houghton Regis and Chalton meaning the potential for significant adverse effects are reduced. However, there is still potential for a minor long-term negative effect.

Development in this area will result in the loss of Green Belt land given that 93% of the land lies within the designation. It is noted that the site holds planning consent for residential, employment and other associated uses. In all there is potential for significant negative effects through loss of Green Belt.

However, development in this area may integrate well with the existing urban area of Houghton Regis as there are no significant roads or other infrastructure (including railway lines) which might otherwise act to separate the site from the existing settlement.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[198]

Development at the site option is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Houghton Regis. Additional services and facilities are accessible within Luton to the east, however, the M1 is likely to act as a barrier travelling from the site to this settlement. Given the scale of development proposed, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to be delivered by this development to support improved accessibility in this area, with the potential for a significant long-term positive effects. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option would deliver warehousing as part of the development and so would have a minor positive effect.

The option's close proximity to Houghton Regis which is home to a number of businesses is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. The proximity of the site to Luton may provide some residents with access to employment opportunities within this settlement. Housing development in this area may also support the vitality and viability of the town centres in close proximity, namely Houghton Regis and Luton, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The option takes in land within areas of higher deprivation (Houghton Hall/Tithe Farm and Parkside). Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility, promote investment and reduce inequalities with the potential for significant long-term and cumulative positive effects. There is the potential for noise pollution from the M1 with the potential to cause health implications for future occupiers if development is not suitably located, designed and impacts mitigated. Development Management policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide sufficient mitigation measures but some uncertainty remains at this stage of assessment.

The Environmental Framework[199] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc and Upper Lea River Valley, priority corridors of the strategic green infrastructure network. Priority corridors are identified as areas where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The development of this site is supportive of the A5-M1 link road and improvements to Junction 11a of the M1 which have already been completed. The site is located within 1.7km of Leagrave Railway Station. Existing bus stops within 200m of the site on Sundon Road provide regular services to Dunstable. The new road infrastructure to be delivered and existing sustainable transport links could help to mitigate increased levels of traffic which are likely to result as the site is occupied.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that new development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport.

There are 3 AQMAs in Luton[200] and one in nearby Dunstable. The most northerly of the AQMAs along the M1 within Luton is adjacent to the site and there is potential for increased levels of traffic to result in aggravation of existing air quality issues. Overall significant negative effects are expected with uncertainty attached at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

Th site option is located adjacent to Houghton Regis which provides access to multiple existing bus routes. The closest of these are located along Sundon Road where regular services are provided to Dunstable and Luton by the 74 and Z routes[201]). Leagrave Railway Station provides access to train services within 1.7km of the site, however, the M1 will act as a barrier to those wishing to access services by foot.

Given the scale of development that would occur at this site option and that it is more likely to be a self-contained development, it is anticipated that these infrastructure provisions can be provided, and supported by Local Plan policies, with the potential for minor long term positive effects.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[202]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[203] identifies that this site option lies partly within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources. The remainder of the site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[204] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Lee Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of up to 5,150 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty until the specific scale and location is identified.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Only a small part of the site (5.2% in Flood Zone 2 or Flood Zone 3) is at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[205]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Overall, a residual neutral effect at this stage.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this option will in the loss of greenfield land only with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site option contains Grade 2 and 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[206]. The majority of the site (75%) falls within the Grade 3 category. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed. Uncertain long term significant negative effects are therefore recorded. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The option is not located near any internationally designated sites nor is it located within the Nature Improvement Area. It is located within 900m of Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI but this designation is separated from the site by the M1. Houghton Regis Marl Lakes SSSI is located within 1.2km to the south west of the site but existing development within the settlement lies between these locations. Chalton Scrub and Grassland County Wildlife Site (CWS), Oakwell Park CWS and Houghton Regis Chalk Pit CWS are within 1.0km of the site[207]. These designations may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation. It is understood that there are areas of ancient woodland within the site optional area and these would need to be avoided by any new development.

The proposed option contains Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[208]. The site is also within the biodiversity network[209]. Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths through the site could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[210] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[211]. Furthermore, the site would incorporate substantial areas of new open space and this is likely to help limit the potential for pressures on nearby biodiversity sites.

Overall, considering the potential for loss, disturbance and fragmentation with the Priority Habitat at the site minor negative effects may result. The negative effects are expected to be combined with minor positive effects given the substantial amount of new open spaces to be provided on site which is likely to help limit pressures on nearby biodiversity sites and may allow for improved habitat connectivity in the area. Some uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The site is not located within or adjacent to the designated AONB landscape which is within 1.9km at its closest point to the north east.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[212] identifies the site as being located mostly within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[213]. Development is considered acceptable in terms of landscape, any development should however be delivered to mitigate physical and visual impact on local and wider landscape settings including AONB. Overall, long term minor positive effects are likely. Uncertainty is attached dependent upon site specific surveys.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

Two Listed Buildings (Red Cow Farm Cottage and The Red Lion Public House) are located within 200m of the site to the west. Chalton to the north of the A5 within 600m of the site contains a number of Listed Buildings (including the Willows and Yew Tree Farmhouse). Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings (most notably those which are in close proximity to the west). Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The site also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[214], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. Site also has multi-period archaeological potential but this would not prevent allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken.

Considering the potential for adverse impacts on the heritage assets to the west of the site in particular, an overall minor negative effect is recorded. Some uncertainty exists until site level assessments have been completed.

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Luton North

Luton North Option 1

Site option: Luton North (Option 1)

Number of Dwellings: up to 4,000 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 4,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would deliver the highest level of affordable housing in comparison to options which would deliver a lower overall number of new homes.

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2. Communities[215]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The site would result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[216] identifies that most of this land lies within parcel L2, all of which is considered to make a strategic contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt. This includes making a relatively strong contribution to the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas, a strong contribution in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, and a relatively strong contribution to preserving the setting and character of historic towns[217]. As such, development at the site allocation is considered to have the potential for significant long-term negative effects.

Development at the site option will expand the urban area of Luton north and significantly contribute to the coalescence of Luton and Lower Sundon, with the site boundary approximately 200m from Lower Sundon as opposed to the current 800m between Luton's northern boundary and Lower Sundon[218].

The site is adjacent to the northern boundary of Luton, and therefore there is potential for it to integrate well with the existing urban area. The site is therefore considered unlikely to have a negative effect on the community or settlement identity of Luton. However, the site is likely to have indirect negative effects on the identity of the smaller surrounding settlements such as Lower Sundon, as the rural character of the settlement may be degraded. Therefore, the site is considered to have the potential for minor long-term cumulative negative effects on communities.

The North Houghton Regis urban extension of 7,000 homes is to the west of the site, however it is not considered likely that there will be cumulative effects with this site on settlement identities due to the barrier of the M1 between the development sites.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[219]

The site is within close proximity to a range of existing services/facilities in North Luton. The site is within 800m of a primary school, a secondary school, a supermarket, and pubs/restaurants[220]. The site is not within 800m of some communities/facilities including healthcare facilities or a Post Office[221]. However due to the strategic size of the site it is expected that development will provide new community services/facilities. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (four two form entry facilities); land on site for and contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form (one six form entry facility); land and contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building.

Furthermore, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area. Development could focus on providing services/facilities where there are known capacity issues or where there is no existing provision to address existing community requirements. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

Overall potential for a long-term significant positive effect is expected in relation to services/facilities.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site has been predominantly considered for the development of housing, however up to 20ha of the site has been identified as future employment land. Therefore, there is the potential for a significant positive effect through the delivery of a strategic level of employment development.

The site is in close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire and located adjacent to the potential strategic employment site Sundon RFI and thus it is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Development at the site may also support the vitality and viability of the major town centres in close proximity, Dunstable and Luton, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[222]

The site is not within an area of higher deprivation however the site is adjacent to areas of higher deprivation located in the north of Luton. These include areas which are within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country[223]. Development adjacent to deprived areas has the potential to provide benefits for deprived communities, including better access to services/facilities and employment opportunities. Therefore, it is considered there is the potential for a long-term minor positive effect on adjacent deprived communities as a result of development at the site.

The Environmental Framework[224] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[225] that focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area D – North Luton and Chilterns priority zone. The aim here is to improve public perception of safety at the northern end of Great Bramingham Park and increase the site's biodiversity by improving an area of chalk grassland. Development in this area could also contribute to improving the visual impact of the Friends of Gill Blowers Community Orchard and wildflower meadow. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site is within 450m of a range of open/recreational spaces[226]. This includes Bramingham Park, outdoor football pitches, amenity greenspace, and children's play facilities, all of which are located within Luton. Furthermore, due to the size of proposed development it is expected that there will be additional provision of open spaces and recreational facilities. This will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term significant positive effects.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the M1 in the west of the site, and the A6 to the east of the site. Early transport modelling[227] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; however, this could be mitigated through good access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line.

The M1-A6 Link Road will provide significant mitigation for increased congestion and will help address existing congestion issues on the road network. The availability of funding[228] and the grant of planning permission indicates more certainty for this major highway improvement that will complement other proposed schemes and benefit the wider sub-regional area with positive effects in the longer-term that could be synergistic and cumulative. This option would provide land and financial contributions towards the delivery of the Link Road. Without the Link Road there is the potential for development at the site to have a significant negative effect on traffic on the local and strategic road network, and therefore the Link Road is required to deliver the site.

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment to the strategic and local road network, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain until further transport modelling studies are completed.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[229] sited adjacent to the M1 and one in nearby Dunstable. The site is located almost adjacent to one of these AQMAs and development will likely result in an increase in traffic on the M1 with potential increases in poor air quality.

It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[230]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality. However, the close proximity of the site to AMQAs in Luton means there is potential for minor negative effects on existing air quality issues at this location, although these are uncertain until further transport studies are completed.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is not within walking distance to the nearest railway station, which is approx. 1.7km to the south (Leagrave Station)[231]. However, the site is within 400m of existing bus stops[232]. Services from these bus stops include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Luton Town Centre, Dunstable, Marsh Farm and Sundon Park. Due to the strategic level of growth at the site, enhancements to bus services and the provision of new bus stops within the site area are possible. This includes a viable extension to such services which operate in the northern area of Luton (e.g. service number 20, 23, 823 and services supporting the Marsh Farm area) through appropriate development contributions.

National cycle route 6 passes through Luton[233], and a portion of this route runs up to the southern boundary of the site. Development here could provide improvements to the connections of the northern area of Luton, with long-term positive effects. There are PRoW footpaths within the site allocation, and enhancements could be made to the local PRoW network with positive effects.

The M1 to the west and A6 represent barriers to movement in those directions, however there are no barriers to movement to the south of the site, with a comprehensive network of roadside footpaths providing safe access to Luton. Overall potential for a long-term minor positive effect on sustainable transport.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[234]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[235] identifies that this site lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources. It is also recognised[236] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 4,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

The River Lea through Luton has been classified as poor quality with regard to the EU Water Framework Directive, but this is not near to the site. The site is not within zones 1-2 of any source protection zones or within any Drinking water safeguard zones or protected areas and with Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality. Other policies such as on Sustainable Drainage offer possibilities for enhancement through resolving existing problems but uncertain at this stage until more detailed studies.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is not in an area at risk of flooding[237]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Residual neutral effects are therefore expected.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[238]

Development at the site will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site mostly falls on Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land, with some smaller areas of Grade 3 agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[239]. It is unlikely that development would be able to avoid the areas with best and most versatile agricultural land as they comprise a large area of the site. Therefore, the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land is considered to have a significant negative effect on soil resources. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, with a neutral effect.

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0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is the Chiltern Beechwoods SAC, located approximately 14km to the south west, and is designated for the presence of beech forests and stag beetle[240]. The site is not located within the Nature Improvement Area but is located close to nationally designated biodiversity sites. Directly to the north-west is Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI and County Wildlife Site (CWS)[241], containing a range of habitats which have enabled a rich and varied insect fauna to develop, making this one of the most important invertebrate sites in the county[242]. These habitats include two Priority Habitats; Lowland Calcareous Grassland and Deciduous Woodland[243]. Approximately 1.0km to the east is Galley and Warden Hills SSSI (also a designated CWS and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)) that supports characteristic down land flora, including many locally uncommon species and nationally rare plants, as well as Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. Approximately 1.7km north-west of the site is Fancott Woods & Meadows SSSI which contains Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat[244].

In addition, there is one locally designated County Wildlife Sites within the site and one directly adjacent to the north of the site both of which contain Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitats[245]; these habitats also extend beyond the designated sites. The site also contains areas located within the existing biodiversity network. Development at the site has the potential for negative effects on national and locally designated biodiversity, including a potential increase in recreational use of the surrounding SSSI sites, as well as an increase in noise, light and air pollution. Furthermore, there is the potential for a loss of Local Wildlife Sites and fragmentation of existing Priority Habitat as a result of development at the site. These effects may be compounded by the cumulative effect of development in the local area.

However, due to the strategic level of development proposed, there is also the potential to support increased connectivity through new habitat creation or contributions to existing habitat improvements. Local Plan policy on nature conservation seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity. The provision of new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area. Therefore, negative effects will likely be reduced to neutral.

Possible enhancements that could be applied to improve the local biodiversity network in this area include the provision of ecological corridors or stepping stones such as hedges or woodland to enhance connections between existing sites and areas of Priority Habitat, and ensure safe pathways for wildlife. There would also be the opportunity to encourage future residents of any development to engage with local biodiversity in a sustainable way by providing appropriate access. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[246] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[247].

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

At this strategic level, it is considered that there is the potential for minor positive effects on biodiversity, although it is recognised that local habitat disturbance may result in relation to the CWSs and Priority Habitats in particular and therefore the positive effect is expected in combination with a minor negative effect. Some remains uncertainty until further site level assessments are conducted.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is mostly adjacent to the designated Chilterns AONB landscape with some of the site falling within that designation[248]. Development at this site has significant potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for significant long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13. Mitigation measures could include development avoiding the AONB and screening with creative design that could reduce negative effects on the setting of the AONB – however, this is uncertain until further studies are undertaken.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[249] identifies the site as being located within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[250].

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[251], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

There are no designated heritage assets within the site. Adjacent to the south-eastern edge of the site is Dray's Ditches Scheduled Monument, earthworks that date back to Bronze and Iron Age times and which are related to the ancient route of Icknield Way[252]. In 2012 this Scheduled Monument was identified on the Heritage at Risk Register, noted to be in 'generally satisfactory' condition 'but with significant localised problems, including dumping'[253]. This heritage asset is no longer identified in the Heritage at Risk Register and as such it is assumed that these issues have been reviewed and addressed. Increased development in the area should ensure that it supports any measures in place to avoid the resurgence of such localised problems. The site is within the setting of the Scheduled Monument, however it is expected that appropriate landscaping and design will protect the setting of the Scheduled Monument, and help to mitigate against potential negative effects.

The site is within 150m of the closest heritage assets within Lower Sundon which contains the Listed Buildings of the Church of St Mary, St Mary's Vicarage, Chestnut Cottage and Aubers Farmhouse[254]. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects. Overall minor negative effects expected.

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Luton North Option 2

Site option: Luton North (Option 2)

Number of Dwellings: up to 3,100 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 3,100 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would deliver a lower level of affordable housing in comparison to options which would deliver a higher overall number of new homes.

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2. Communities[255]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The site will also result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[256] identifies that most of this land lies within parcel L2, all of which is considered to make a strategic contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt. This includes making a relatively strong contribution to the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas, a strong contribution in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, and a relatively strong contribution to preserving the setting and character of historic towns[257]. As such, development at the site is considered to have the potential for significant long-term negative effects.

Development at the site will expand the urban area of Luton north and significantly contribute to the coalescence of Luton and Lower Sundon, with the site boundary approximately 200m from Lower Sundon as opposed to the current 800m between Luton's northern boundary and Lower Sundon[258].

The site is adjacent to the northern boundary of Luton, and therefore there is potential for it to integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton. The site is therefore considered unlikely to have a negative effect on the community or settlement identity of Luton. However, the site is likely to have indirect negative effects on the identity of the smaller surrounding settlements such as Lower Sundon, as the rural character of the settlement may be degraded. Therefore, the site is considered to have the potential for minor long-term cumulative negative effects on communities.

The North Houghton Regis urban extension of 7,000 homes is to the west of the site, however it is not considered likely that there will be cumulative effects with this site on settlement identities due to the barrier of the M1 between the development sites.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[259]

The site is within close proximity to a range of existing services/facilities in North Luton. The site is within 800m of a primary school, a secondary school, a supermarket, and pubs/restaurants[260]. The site is not within 800m of some communities/facilities including healthcare facilities or a Post Office[261]. However due to the strategic size of the site it is expected that development will provide new community services/facilities, and this is further confirmed in the Local Plan Vision for North Luton which states that new local community facilities will be provided. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (two two form entry facilities and one three form entry facility); land on site for and contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form (one six form entry facility); land and contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building.

Furthermore, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area. Development could focus on providing services/facilities where there are known capacity issues or where there is no existing provision to address existing community requirements. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

Overall potential for a long-term significant positive effect is expected in relation to services/facilities.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site has been predominantly considered for the development of housing, however up to 7ha of the site has been identified as future employment land. Therefore, there is the potential for a minor positive effect through the delivery of employment development.

The site is in close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire and located adjacent to the strategic employment option Sundon RFI and thus it is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Development at the site may also support the vitality and viability of the major town centres in close proximity, Dunstable and Luton, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[262]

The site is not within an area of higher deprivation however the site is adjacent to areas of higher deprivation located in the north of Luton. These include areas which are within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country[263]. Development adjacent to deprived areas has the potential to provide benefits for deprived communities, including better access to services/facilities and employment opportunities. Therefore, it is considered there is the potential for a long-term minor positive effect on adjacent deprived communities as a result of development at the site.

The Environmental Framework[264] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[265] that focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area D – North Luton and Chilterns priority zone. The aim here is to improve public perception of safety at the northern end of Great Bramingham Park and increase the site's biodiversity by improving an area of chalk grassland. Development in this area could also contribute to improving the visual impact of the Friends of Gill Blowers Community Orchard and wildflower meadow. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site is within 450m of a range of open/recreational spaces[266]. This includes Bramingham Park, outdoor football pitches, amenity greenspace, and children's play facilities, all of which are located within Luton. Furthermore, due to the size of proposed development it is expected that there will be additional provision of open spaces and recreational facilities. This will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term significant positive effects.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the M1 in the west of the site, and the A6 to the east of the site. Early transport modelling[267] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; however, this could be mitigated through good access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line.

The M1-A6 Link Road will provide significant mitigation for increased congestion and will help address existing congestion issues on the road network. The availability of funding[268] and the grant of planning permission indicates more certainty for this major highway improvement that will complement other proposed schemes and benefit the wider sub-regional area with positive effects in the longer-term that could be synergistic and cumulative. This option would provide land and financial contributions towards the delivery of the Link Road. Without the Link Road there is the potential for development at the site location to have a significant negative effect on traffic on the local and strategic road network, and therefore the Link Road is required to deliver the site.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment to the strategic and local road network, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[269] sited adjacent to the M1 and one in nearby Dunstable. The site is located almost adjacent to one of these AQMAs and development will likely result in an increase in traffic on the M1 with potential increases in poor air quality.

It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[270]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality. However, the close proximity of the site to AMQAs in Luton means there is potential for minor negative effects on existing air quality issues at this location, although these are uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is not within walking distance to the nearest railway station, which is approx. 1.7km to the south (Leagrave Station)[271]. However, the site is within 400m of existing bus stops[272]. Services from these bus stops include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Luton Town Centre, Dunstable, Marsh Farm and Sundon Park. Due to the strategic level of growth at the site, enhancements to bus services and the provision of new bus stops within the site area are possible. This includes a viable extension to such services which operate in the northern area of Luton (e.g. service number 20, 23, 823 and services supporting the Marsh Farm area) through appropriate development contributions.

National cycle route 6 passes through Luton[273], and a portion of this route runs up to the southern boundary of the site. Development here could provide improvements to the connections of the northern area of Luton, with long-term positive effects. There are PRoW footpaths within the site, and enhancements could be made to the local PRoW network with positive effects.

The M1 to the west and A6 represent barriers to movement in those directions, however there are no barriers to movement to the south of the site, with a comprehensive network of roadside footpaths providing safe access to Luton. Overall potential for a long-term minor positive effect on sustainable transport.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[274]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[275] identifies that this site lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources. It is also recognised[276] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 3,100 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

The River Lea through Luton has been classified as poor quality with regard to the EU Water Framework Directive, but this is not near to the site. The site is not within zones 1-2 of any source protection zones or within any Drinking water safeguard zones or protected areas and with Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality. Other policies such as on Sustainable Drainage offer possibilities for enhancement through resolving existing problems but uncertain at this stage until more detailed studies.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is not in an area at risk of flooding[277]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Residual neutral effects are therefore expected.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[278]

Development at the site will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site mostly falls on Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land, with some smaller areas of Grade 3 agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[279]. It is unlikely that development would be able to avoid the areas with best and most versatile agricultural land as they comprise a large area of the site. Therefore, the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land is considered to have a significant negative effect on soil resources. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, with a neutral effect.

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0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is the Chiltern Beechwoods SAC, located approximately 14km to the south west, and is designated for the presence of beech forests and stag beetle[280]. The site is not located within the Nature Improvement Area, but is located close to nationally designated biodiversity sites. Directly to the north-west is Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI and County Wildlife Site (CWS)[281], containing a range of habitats which have enabled a rich and varied insect fauna to develop, making this one of the most important invertebrate sites in the county[282]. These habitats include two Priority Habitats; Lowland Calcareous Grassland and Deciduous Woodland[283]. Approximately 1.0km to the east is Galley and Warden Hills SSSI (also a designated CWS and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)) that supports characteristic down land flora, including many locally uncommon species and nationally rare plants, as well as Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. Approximately 1.7km north-west of the site is Fancott Woods and Meadows SSSI which contains Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat[284].

In addition, there is one locally designated County Wildlife Sites within the site and one directly adjacent to the north of the site both of which contain Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitats[285]; these habitats also extend beyond the designated sites. The site also contains areas located within the existing biodiversity network. Development at the site has the potential for negative effects on national and locally designated biodiversity, including a potential increase in recreational use of the surrounding SSSI sites, as well as an increase in noise, light and air pollution. Furthermore, there is the potential for a loss of Local Wildlife Sites and fragmentation of existing Priority Habitat as a result of development at the site. These effects may be compounded by the cumulative effect of development in the local area.

However, due to the strategic level of development proposed, there is also the potential to support increased connectivity through new habitat creation or contributions to existing habitat improvements. Local Plan policy on nature conservation seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity. The provision of new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area.

Possible enhancements that could be applied to improve the local biodiversity network in this area include the provision of ecological corridors or stepping stones such as hedges or woodland to enhance connections between existing sites and areas of Priority Habitat, and ensure safe pathways for wildlife. There would also be the opportunity to encourage future residents of any development to engage with local biodiversity in a sustainable way by providing appropriate access. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[286] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[287].

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

At this strategic level, it is considered that there is the potential for minor positive effects on biodiversity, although it is recognised that local habitat disturbance may result in relation to the CWSs and Priority Habitats in particular and therefore the positive effect is expected in combination with a minor negative effect. Some remains uncertainty until further site level assessments are conducted.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is mostly adjacent to the designated Chilterns AONB landscape with some of the site falling within that designation[288]. The site boundary remains the same as Option 1 but excludes land within the 'Eastern Bowl' from the developable area, which is likely to help mitigate impact of built development on the AONB. The lower level of development to be provided through this option (particularly towards the east of the site) is also expected to help limit the potential for adverse impacts on the setting of AONB. Development at this site is still considered to have potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13. Mitigation measures could include screening with creative design that could reduce negative effects on the setting of the AONB – however, this is uncertain until further studies are undertaken.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[289] identifies the site as being located within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site allocation which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[290].

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[291], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

There are no designated heritage assets within the site. Adjacent to the south-eastern edge of the site allocation is Dray's Ditches Scheduled Monument, earthworks that date back to Bronze and Iron Age times and which are related to the ancient route of Icknield Way[292]. In 2012 this Scheduled Monument was identified on the Heritage at Risk Register, noted to be in 'generally satisfactory' condition 'but with significant localised problems, including dumping'[293]. This heritage asset is no longer identified in the Heritage at Risk Register and as such it is assumed that these issues have been reviewed and addressed. Increased development in the area should ensure that it supports any measures in place to avoid the resurgence of such localised problems. The site is within the setting of the Scheduled Monument, however it is expected that appropriate landscaping and design will protect the setting of the Scheduled Monument, and mitigate against potential negative effects. It is noted that the provision of the M1-A6 Link Road which would pass through the eastern portion of the site could have impacts on heritage assets towards this location.

The site is within 150m of the closest heritage assets within Lower Sundon which contains the Listed Buildings of the Church of St Mary, St Mary's Vicarage, Chestnut Cottage and Aubers Farmhouse[294]. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to ensure development does not lead to any significant effects. Overall minor negative effects expected.

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Luton North Option 3

Site option: Luton North (Option 3)

Number of Dwellings: up to 3,600 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 3,600 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would deliver a mid-range of affordable housing in comparison to options which would deliver a higher or lower overall number of new homes.

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2. Communities[295]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The site will also result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[296] identifies that most of this land lies within parcel L2, all of which is considered to make a strategic contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt. This includes making a relatively strong contribution to the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas, a strong contribution in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, and a relatively strong contribution to preserving the setting and character of historic towns[297]. As such, development at the site is considered to have the potential for significant long-term negative effects.

Development at the site will expand the urban area of Luton north and significantly contribute to the coalescence of Luton and Lower Sundon, with the site boundary approximately 200m from Lower Sundon as opposed to the current 800m between Luton's northern boundary and Lower Sundon[298].

The site is adjacent to the northern boundary of Luton, and therefore there is potential for it to integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton. The site is therefore considered unlikely to have a negative effect on the community or settlement identity of Luton. However, the site is likely to have indirect negative effects on the identity of the smaller surrounding settlements such as Lower Sundon, as the rural character of the settlement may be degraded. Therefore, the site is considered to have the potential for minor long-term cumulative negative effects on communities.

The North Houghton Regis urban extension of 7,000 homes is to the west of the site, however it is not considered likely that there will be cumulative effects with this site on settlement identities due to the barrier of the M1 between the development sites.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[299]

The site is within close proximity to a range of existing services/facilities in North Luton. The site is within 800m of a primary school, a secondary school, a supermarket, and pubs/restaurants[300]. The site is not within 800m of some communities/facilities including healthcare facilities or a Post Office[301]. However due to the strategic size of the site it is expected that development will provide new community services/facilities, and this is further confirmed in the Local Plan Vision for North Luton which states that new local community facilities will be provided. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (four two form entry facilities); land on site for and contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form (one six form entry facility); land and contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building.

Furthermore, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area. Development could focus on providing services/facilities where there are known capacity issues or where there is no existing provision to address existing community requirements. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site.

Overall potential for a long-term significant positive effect is expected in relation to services/facilities.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site has been predominantly considered for the development of housing, however up to 7ha of the site has been identified as future employment land. Therefore, there is the potential for a minor positive effect through the delivery of employment development.

The site is in close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire and located adjacent to the strategic employment option Sundon RFI and thus it is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Development at the site may also support the vitality and viability of the major town centres in close proximity, Dunstable and Luton, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[302]

The site is not within an area of higher deprivation however the site is adjacent to areas of higher deprivation located in the north of Luton. These include areas which are within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country[303]. Development adjacent to deprived areas has the potential to provide benefits for deprived communities, including better access to services/facilities and employment opportunities. Therefore, it is considered there is the potential for a long-term minor positive effect on adjacent deprived communities as a result of development at the site.

The Environmental Framework[304] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[305] that focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area D – North Luton and Chilterns priority zone. The aim here is to improve public perception of safety at the northern end of Great Bramingham Park and increase the site's biodiversity by improving an area of chalk grassland. Development in this area could also contribute to improving the visual impact of the Friends of Gill Blowers Community Orchard and wildflower meadow. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site is within 450m of a range of open/recreational spaces[306]. This includes Bramingham Park, outdoor football pitches, amenity greenspace, and children's play facilities, all of which are located within Luton. Furthermore, due to the size of proposed development it is expected that there will be additional provision of open spaces and recreational facilities. This will promote healthy lifestyles among residents, with associated long-term significant positive effects.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the M1 in the west of the site, and the A6 to the east of the site. Early transport modelling[307] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; however, this could be mitigated through good access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line.

The M1-A6 Link Road will provide significant mitigation for increased congestion and will help address existing congestion issues on the road network. The availability of funding[308] and the grant of planning permission indicates more certainty for this major highway improvement that will complement other proposed schemes and benefit the wider sub-regional area with positive effects in the longer-term that could be synergistic and cumulative. This option would provide land and financial contributions towards the delivery of the Link Road. Without the Link Road there is the potential for development at the site to have a significant negative effect on traffic on the local and strategic road network, and therefore the Link Road is required to deliver the site.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment to the strategic and local road network, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. New infrastructure has the potential to address existing congestion and provide major improvements to the road network, such as with this site and the Link Road. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain until further transport modelling studies are completed.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[309] sited adjacent to the M1 and one in nearby Dunstable. The site is located almost adjacent to one of these AQMAs and development will likely result in an increase in traffic on the M1 with potential increases in poor air quality.

It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[310]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality. However, the close proximity of the site to AMQAs in Luton means there is potential for minor negative effects on existing air quality issues at this location, although these are uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is not within walking distance to the nearest railway station, which is approx. 1.7km to the south (Leagrave Station)[311]. However, the site is within 400m of existing bus stops[312]. Services from these bus stops include regular services (hourly or more frequent) to Luton Town Centre, Dunstable, Marsh Farm and Sundon Park. Due to the strategic level of growth at the site, enhancements to bus services and the provision of new bus stops within the site area are possible. This includes a viable extension to such services which operate in the northern area of Luton (e.g. service number 20, 23, 823 and services supporting the Marsh Farm area) through appropriate development contributions.

National cycle route 6 passes through Luton[313], and a portion of this route runs up to the southern boundary of the site. Development here could provide improvements to the connections of the northern area of Luton, with long-term positive effects. There are PRoW footpaths within the site allocation, and enhancements could be made to the local PRoW network with positive effects.

The M1 to the west and A6 represent barriers to movement in those directions, however there are no barriers to movement to the south of the site, with a comprehensive network of roadside footpaths providing safe access to Luton. Overall potential for a long-term minor positive effect on sustainable transport.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[314]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[315] identifies that this site lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources. It is also recognised[316] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 3,600 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty is attached at this stage.

The River Lea through Luton has been classified as poor quality with regard to the EU Water Framework Directive, but this is not near to the site. The site is not within zones 1-2 of any source protection zones or within any drinking water safeguard zones or protected areas and with Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality. Other policies such as on Sustainable Drainage offer possibilities for enhancement through resolving existing problems but uncertain at this stage until more detailed studies.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is not in an area at risk of flooding[317]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Residual neutral effects are therefore expected.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[318]

Development at the site will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site mostly falls on Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land, with some smaller areas of Grade 3 agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[319]. It is unlikely that development would be able to avoid the areas with best and most versatile agricultural land as they comprise a large area of the site. Therefore, the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land is considered to have a significant negative effect on soil resources. An element of uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, with a neutral effect.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site is the Chiltern Beechwoods SAC, located approximately 14km to the south west, and is designated for the presence of beech forests and stag beetle[320]. The site is not located within the Nature Improvement Area, but is located close to nationally designated biodiversity sites. Directly to the north-west is Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI and County Wildlife Site (CWS)[321], containing a range of habitats which have enabled a rich and varied insect fauna to develop, making this one of the most important invertebrate sites in the county[322]. These habitats include two Priority Habitats; Lowland Calcareous Grassland and Deciduous Woodland[323]. Approximately 1.0km to the east is Galley and Warden Hills SSSI (also a designated CWS and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)) that supports characteristic down land flora, including many locally uncommon species and nationally rare plants, as well as Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. Approximately 1.7km north-west of the site is Fancott Woods & Meadows SSSI which contains Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat[324].

In addition, there is one locally designated County Wildlife Sites within the site and one directly adjacent to the north of the site both of which contain Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitats[325]; these habitats also extend beyond the designated sites. The site also contains areas located within the existing biodiversity network. Development at the site has the potential for negative effects on national and locally designated biodiversity, including a potential increase in recreational use of the surrounding SSSI sites, as well as an increase in noise, light and air pollution. Furthermore, there is the potential for a loss of Local Wildlife Sites and fragmentation of existing Priority Habitat as a result of development at the site. These effects may be compounded by the cumulative effect of development in the local area.

However, due to the strategic level of development proposed, there is also the potential to support increased connectivity through new habitat creation or contributions to existing habitat improvements. Local Plan policy on nature conservation seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity. The provision of new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area.

Possible enhancements that could be applied to improve the local biodiversity network in this area include the provision of ecological corridors or stepping stones such as hedges or woodland to enhance connections between existing sites and areas of Priority Habitat, and ensure safe pathways for wildlife. There would also be the opportunity to encourage future residents of any development to engage with local biodiversity in a sustainable way by providing appropriate access. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[326] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[327].

The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

At this strategic level, it is considered that there is the potential for minor positive effects on biodiversity, although it is recognised that local habitat disturbance may result in relation to the CWSs and Priority Habitats in particular and therefore the positive effect is expected in combination with a minor negative effect. Some remains uncertainty until further site level assessments are conducted.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is mostly adjacent to the designated Chilterns AONB landscape with some of the site falling within that designation[328]. The site boundary towards the north east has been drawn to exclude some of the land within the 'Eastern Bowl', to the north of the Link Road. The parcel of land within the south east of the site (to the south of the Link Road and adjacent to the A6) is proposed for sensitive development which could be acceptable subject to further assessment. This approach to the location and type of development proposed as well as the lower level of development to be provided through this option could help to help limit the potential for adverse impacts on the setting of AONB. Development at this site still has potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13. Mitigation measures could include development avoiding the AONB and screening with creative design that could reduce negative effects on the setting of the AONB – however, this is uncertain until further studies are undertaken.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[329] identifies the site as being located within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site allocation which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[330].

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[331], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

There are no designated heritage assets within the site. Adjacent to the south-eastern edge of the site is Dray's Ditches Scheduled Monument, earthworks that date back to Bronze and Iron Age times and which are related to the ancient route of Icknield Way[332]. In 2012 this Scheduled Monument was identified on the Heritage at Risk Register, noted to be in 'generally satisfactory' condition 'but with significant localised problems, including dumping'[333]. This heritage asset is no longer identified in the Heritage at Risk Register and as such it is assumed that these issues have been reviewed and addressed. This option would allow for sensitive development within the south east of the site. While the site promoter has suggested that this might take the form of a campus style school , other types of sensitive development may be acceptable dependent upon the results of additional assessments. This approach to development could help to limit the potential for adverse impacts to result in relation to the setting of this heritage asset. Increased development in the area should ensure that it supports any measures in place to avoid the resurgence of such localised problems. The site is within the setting of the Scheduled Monument, however it is expected that appropriate landscaping and design will protect the setting of the Scheduled Monument, and mitigate against potential negative effects.

The site is within 150m of the closest heritage assets within Lower Sundon which contains the Listed Buildings of the Church of St Mary, St Mary's Vicarage, Chestnut Cottage and Aubers Farmhouse[334]. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should help to ensure development does not lead to any significant effects. Overall minor negative effects expected.

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Luton West

Luton West Option 1

Site option: Luton West (Option 1)

Number of Dwellings: up to 2,000 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 2,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as some of the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would provide the least affordable homes in comparison with other options for a higher level of growth.

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2. Communities[335]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth in this site option would expand the urban area of Luton to the west. While the development of the site would not result in complete coalescence between Luton and Caddington it would substantially reduce the size of the gap between these settlements. It is noted that an area open land would still remain between the settlements. Development within the site would also result in a degree of coalescence occurring between the southern edge of the small village of Chaul End and Luton. Potential for a minor long term negative effect.

Development in this area will result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[336] identifies this land as parcel L6, within which the small fields adjacent to the village of Caddington may make a relatively weak contribution to Green Belt purposes. Potential for significant negative effects through loss of Green Belt.

Development in this area is unlikely to integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton due to the separation provided by the M1. There may be opportunities to enhance the identity of communities in Luton but there is uncertainty at this stage and any new development is likely to function as a self-contained settlement. Overall, there are likely minor negative effects with uncertainty as to the effectiveness of mitigation measures until further studies are completed.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[337]

Development at the site option is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Luton. It is noted that the M1 would act to separate the site from existing service provision in Luton and this would need to be overcome through the provision of suitable infrastructure. In any case, given the scale of development proposed, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area and address and existing capacity issues or lack of service/facility provision. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (two, two form entry facilities); land on site for and/or contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form (one four form entry facility if on site); contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building. This approach is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

Potential for a significant long term positive effects. The effect is uncertain given that the accessibility of new services and facilities provided at the site will be dependent in part upon the delivery of new infrastructure to support access across the M1.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option has primarily been identified for the development of housing and as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective. The site would, however, incorporate some new employment land although the precise quantum and use classes are unknown. Therefore, a minor positive effect is recorded.

The option's close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Housing development in this area may also support the vitality and viability of Luton town centre with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects. The potential for residents to access Luton town centre by foot will be dependent in part upon the provision of new infrastructure to allow for access across the M1 and therefore the minor positive effect recorded is uncertain.

+

+?

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The option is in close proximity to areas of higher deprivation (Dunstable Manshead and Caddington). Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility, promote investment and reduce inequalities with the potential for minor long-term and cumulative positive effects. There is the potential for noise pollution from the M1 with the potential to cause health implications for future occupiers if development is not suitably located, designed and impacts mitigated. The site boundary has been drawn to avoid flight paths from London Luton Airport meaning that the potential for adverse impacts relating to health from this source are reduced. Development Management policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide sufficient mitigation measures.

The Environmental Framework[338] identifies this site as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[339] which focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area C – South Dunstable and South Luton Priority Zone. Development in this area could contribute to existing projects including enhanced access and interpretation, as well as community involvement at Blows Down, increased public use of the green space at Downside, and improvements to the quality of one of the accesses to Blow's Downs Park. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have major long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site option is adjacent to open spaces which includes Blows Down informal recreation area and open spaces in and around Caddington. Development at the site option has the potential to deliver strategic levels of new open spaces for the local area. Expected provisions at the site take in new open space and sports provision, including contributions to the existing leisure centre. This will promote healthy lifestyles and help address any existing provision issues, with associated positive effects on health for local communities.

+?

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[340] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; Chaul End Road is a country lane that would need significant upgrades. Luton Road will require junction improvements. This could also be mitigated to some extent through enhanced access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line and the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway. The site is expected to be supported through upgrades to three highway access points on to the existing network, all utilising existing M1 crossings: a link to Chaul End Road; a link to Luton Road east of Caddington, close to M1; and a link to Grove Road and B4540 in Slip End. It is likely that mitigation would also be required at M1 Junction 10. It is unclear at this stage whether there is sufficient capacity on the existing network, both within Central Bedfordshire and Luton, to accommodate additional traffic generation, or what mitigation measures may be necessary and the impact these may have on viability. Without mitigation, a strategic development of this scale in this area would cause unacceptable additional pressure on the road network within Luton and surrounding villages.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that new development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport.

There are 3 AQMAs in Luton[341] and one in nearby Dunstable. The site has the potential to increase traffic along the M1 and in Dunstable town centre, which could lead to increased emissions within AQMAs. A significant long term negative effect is expected. Uncertainty is attached dependent upon site level assessments.

--?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

Although the site option is adjacent to the urban area of Luton, it is disconnected by the M1 motorway which creates a significant barrier to integration, with likely significant infrastructure investment requirements to create the appropriate connections to existing modes of sustainable transport, including bus services along Dallow Road (801, X31) and Castle Croft Road (28, 28A, 29, 29A, 828 & 829[342]); however, there is the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway[343] that links Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton, and the closest train station at Luton (approx. 2.5km[344]).

However, given the scale of development for this option and that it is more likely to be a self-contained development, it is anticipated that these infrastructure provisions can be provided, and supported by Local Plan policies, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Infrastructure expected to be provided as part of development of the site includes bus connections and cycle routes including a potential new connection to the existing Guided Busway at the existing Chaul End Lane access.

There are no national cycle routes in close proximity of the site option, however national cycle route 6 does pass through Luton to the east of the site option. Development at the site option can provide a network of cycle routes in the local area to address the lack of provision, and these could provide cycle access to Dunstable and Luton with positive effects.

There are existing PRoW routes which cross the settlement. Enhancements to these as part of development would have positive effects on sustainable transport and could encourage walking access to both Luton and Dunstable.

Potential for a minor positive effect on sustainable transport through enhancements to bus services, cycle routes and walking routes.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[345]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[346] identifies that this site option lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources.

It is also recognised[347] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Lee Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[348]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Overall, a residual neutral effect at this stage.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this option will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site option contains Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[349]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification for most of the site until lower level site assessments have been completed, however at this stage it is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile land, with a significant negative effect. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

At this stage, the site option is not considered likely to regenerate brownfield land, with a neutral effect.

--?

0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site option is Chilterns Beechwoods SAC, approx. 9km to the south west and designated for its beech woodlands[350]. The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

The site is located within approximately 2.2km of Blow's Down SSSI (also a County Wildlife Site (CWS)), which is to the north west[351]. The SSSI is a rich and varied site with a large area of open, unimproved grassland[352], and contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. The SSSI may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. However, it should be noted that the SSSI is already heavily bordered by urban development in Houghton Regis. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation.

Approximately 2.0km to the west of the site option is Cotton Bottom Fields Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[353] which contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[354]. There are three CWSs adjacent to the site option. The site option contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[355]. The area, together with land to the north-west and west is also within the biodiversity network[356]. There are areas of ancient wood land adjacent to the north of the site. Priority Habitat within the site option is limited to Deciduous Woodland, which is also present in the landscape surrounding the site option.

A site-specific ecological assessment for an area in the east of the site option[357] determined that there are records of badgers and recommended that further studies are conducted, including a detailed vegetation study and a study to determine the presence of roosting bats. However, no significant constraints were determined.

Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats as well as a LNR and CWSs, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area and within the site option via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). The site is expected to provide new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network which is likely to help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area. Furthermore, these enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[358] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[359].

Overall while it is considered that there is the potential for some long-term minor benefits relating to improving local biodiversity, the potential for habitat fragmentation and disturbance means the minor positive effect is expected in combination with a minor negative effect. The effects areuncertain depending upon the finding of site level assessment.

+/-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is adjacent to the designated AONB landscape towards its north western edge. Development at this scale has significant potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13.

The site option is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The site option is mostly within the Caddington-Slip End Chalk Dipslope Landscape Character Type[360]. Visually sensitive features in this landscape include the open and exposed nature of the area which means development could be highly visible, and the views to the ridgeline. The landscape strategy for the character type focuses on renewing landscape elements that have been lost or degraded. Although development can contribute to the landscape strategy, it is likely to result in the loss of visually sensitive features, with potential negative effects. The site option has a distinctive landscape character, with open chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 rising to open rural plateau where development would not be acceptable. Assessment of the site concluded that the retention of the chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 and the creation of a strategic woodland buffer would be required to minimise impacts on landscape.

The boundary for this site option has been identified following an assessment of the site and reflects constraints including topography and landscape. However, for the site option assessment it is still considered that there is the potential for a negative effect in relation to the AONB in particular. Overall a minor negative effect is expected. Uncertainty is attached considering that detailed masterplanning is currently unavailable.

-?

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are several Listed Buildings (including Chaul End Farmhouse in the north and Church of All Saints in Caddington in the south) whose setting may be affected by development within this site option, which is also in close proximity to Caddington Conservation Area. It should be noted that the boundaries for this site option have been drawn so that development would not occur within 450m of any of these heritage assets. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings and possibly the Conservation Area. A heritage impact assessment and capacity study will be required to determine whether or not development at the site option would result in harm/substantial harm to the significance of the nearby assets and their settings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects with the potential for a residual neutral effect.

The option also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[361], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. Likely neutral effects but uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

0?


Luton West Option 2

Site option: Luton West (Option 2)

Number of Dwellings: up to 3,500 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 3,500 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as some of the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option would deliver a mid-range of affordable housing in comparison to options which would deliver a higher or lower overall number of new homes.

++

2. Communities[362]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth in this site option will expand the urban area of Luton to the west. Development within the site option would result in the small village of Chaul End being partially consumed by new growth. The site boundary has been drawn to exclude land adjacent to the settlements of Caddington and Slip End and therefore development would have a more limited contribution to the coalescence between these settlements and Luton. Potential for a significant long term negative effect.

Development in this area will result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[363] identifies this land as parcel L6, within which the small fields adjacent to the village of Caddington may make a relatively weak contribution to Green Belt purposes. Potential for significant negative effects through loss of Green Belt.

However, development in this area is unlikely to integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton due to the separation provided by the M1.There may be opportunities to enhance the identity of communities in Luton but there is uncertainty at this stage and any new development is likely to function as a self-contained settlement. Overall, there are likely minor negative effects with uncertainty as to the effectiveness of mitigation measures until further studies are completed.

--

-?

3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[364]

Development at the site option is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Luton. It is noted that the M1 would act toe separate the site from existing service provision in Luton and this would need to be overcome through the provision of suitable infrastructure. In any case, given the scale of development proposed, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area and address and existing capacity issues or lack of service/facility provision. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (two, two form entry facilities and one three form entry facility); a secondary school and sixth form (one six to eight form entry facility); contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building. This approach is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

Potential for a significant long term positive effects. The effect uncertain given that the accessibility of new services and facilities provided at the site will be dependent in part upon the delivery of new infrastructure to support access across the M1.

++?

4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option has primarily been identified for the development of housing and as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective. The site would, however, incorporate some new employment land although the precise quantum and use classes are unknown. Therefore, a minor positive effect is recorded.

The option's close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Housing development in this area may also support the vitality and viability of the Luton town centres with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects. The potential for residents to access Luton town centre by foot will be dependent in part upon the provision of new infrastructure to allow for access across the M1 and therefore the positive effect recorded is uncertain.

+

+?

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The option is in close proximity to areas of higher deprivation (Dunstable Manshead and Caddington). Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility, promote investment and reduce inequalities with the potential for minor long-term and cumulative positive effects. There is the potential for noise pollution from the M1 and London Luton Airport with the potential to cause health implications for future occupiers if development is not suitably located, designed and impacts mitigated. Development Management on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide sufficient mitigation measures.

The Environmental Framework[365] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[366] which focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area C – South Dunstable and South Luton Priority Zone. Development in this area could contribute to existing projects including enhanced access and interpretation, as well as community involvement at Blows Down, increased public use of the green space at Downside, and improvements to the quality of one of the accesses to Blow's Downs Park. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site option is adjacent to open spaces which includes Blows Down informal recreation area and open spaces in and around Caddington. Development at the site option has the potential to deliver strategic levels of new open spaces for the local area. Expected provisions at the site take in new open space and sports provision, including contributions to the existing leisure centre. This will promote healthy lifestyles and help address any existing provision issues, with associated positive effects on health for local communities.

+?

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[367] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; Chaul End Road is a country lane that would need significant upgrades. Luton Road will require junction improvements. This could also be mitigated to some extent through enhanced access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line and the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway. The site is expected to be supported through upgrades to three highway access points on to the existing network, all utilising existing M1 crossings: a link to Chaul End Road; a link to Luton Road east of Caddington, close to M1; and a link to Grove Road and B4540 in Slip End. It is likely that mitigation would also be required at M1 Junction 10. Specific improvements to accessibility to Dunstable, Manshead and Caddington may potentially be achieved through this site option. It is unclear at this stage whether there is sufficient capacity on the existing network, both within Central Bedfordshire and Luton, to accommodate additional traffic generation, or what mitigation measures may be necessary and the impact these may have on viability. Without mitigation, a strategic development of this scale in this area would cause unacceptable additional pressure on the road network within Luton and surrounding villages.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that new development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[368] and one in nearby Dunstable. The site has the potential to increase traffic along the M1 and in Dunstable town centre, which could lead to increased emissions within AQMAs. A significant long-term negative effect is expected. Uncertainty is attached dependent upon site level assessments.

--?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

Although the site option is adjacent to the urban area of Luton, it is disconnected by the M1 motorway which creates a significant barrier to integration. The site option is expected to incorporate pedestrian connections underneath the M1 to Luton which is likely to support appropriate connection to existing modes of sustainable transport, including bus services along Dallow Road (801, X31) and Castle Croft Road (28, 28A, 29, 29A, 828 & 829[369]); however, there is the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway[370] that links Houghton Regis, Dunstable & Luton, and the closest train station at Luton (approx. 2.5km[371]).

However, given the scale of development for this option and that it is more likely to be a self-contained development, it is anticipated that these infrastructure provisions can be provided, and supported by Local Plan policies, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Infrastructure expected to be provided as part of development of the site includes bus connections and cycle routes including a potential new connection to the existing Guided Busway at the existing Chaul End Lane access.

There are no national cycle routes in close proximity of the site option, however national cycle route 6 does pass through Luton to the east of the site option. Development at the site option can provide a network of cycle routes in the local area to address the lack of provision, and these could provide cycle access to Dunstable and Luton with positive effects.

There are existing PRoW routes which cross the settlement. Enhancements to these as part of development would have positive effects on sustainable transport and could encourage walking access to both Luton and Dunstable.

Potential for a minor positive effect on sustainable transport through enhancements to bus services, cycle routes and walking routes.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[372]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[373] identifies that this site option lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources.

It is also recognised[374] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Lee Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[375]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Overall, a residual neutral effect at this stage.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this option will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site option contains Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[376]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification for most of the site until lower level site assessments have been completed, however at this stage it is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile land, with a significant negative effect. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

At this stage, the site option is not considered likely to regenerate brownfield land, with a neutral effect.

--?

0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site option is Chilterns Beechwoods SAC, approx. 9km to the south west and designated for its beech woodlands[377]. The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site option would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

The site option is located close to a nationally designated biodiversity site, Blow's Down SSSI (also a County Wildlife Site (CWS)), located around 2.2km to the north west[378]. The SSSI is a rich and varied site with a large area of open, unimproved grassland[379], and contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. The SSSI may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. However, it should be noted that the SSSI is already heavily bordered by urban development in Houghton Regis. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation with the potential for an overall long-term residual neutral effect. It is understood that there are areas of ancient woodland within the site and these would need to be avoided by any new development.

Approximately 2.0km to the west of the site option is Cotton Bottom Fields Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[380] which contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[381]. Badgerdell Wood CWS lies within the site option and several others are to the east and west of the site. The site option contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[382]. The area, together with land to the north-west and west is also within the biodiversity network[383]. Priority Habitat within the site option is limited to Deciduous Woodland, which is also present in the landscape surrounding the site option.

A site-specific ecological assessment for an area in the east of the site option[384] determined that there are records of badgers and recommended that further studies are conducted, including a detailed vegetation study and a study to determine the presence of roosting bats. However, no significant constraints were determined.

Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats as well as a LNR and CWSs, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area and within the site option via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). The site is expected to provide new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network which is likely to help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area. Furthermore, the enhancements to be provided at the site would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[385] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[386].

Overall while it is considered that there is the potential for some long-term minor benefits relating to improving local biodiversity, the potential for habitat fragmentation and disturbance means the minor positive effect is expected in combination with a minor negative effect. The effects areuncertain depending upon the finding of site level assessment.

+/-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is adjacent to the designated AONB landscape towards its north western edge. Development at this scale has significant potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for significant long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13.

The site option is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The site option is mostly within the Caddington-Slip End Chalk Dipslope Landscape Character Type[387]. Visually sensitive features in this landscape include the open and exposed nature of the area which means development could be highly visible, and the views to the ridgeline. The landscape strategy for the character type focuses on renewing landscape elements that have been lost or degraded. Although development can contribute to the landscape strategy, it is likely to result in the loss of visually sensitive features, with potential negative effects.

The site option has a distinctive landscape character, with open chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 rising to open rural plateau where development would not be acceptable. Assessment of the site concluded that the retention of the chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 and the creation of a strategic woodland buffer would be required to minimise impacts on landscape.

However, for the site option assessment it is still considered that there is the potential for a significant negative effect until further details regarding masterplanning are confirmed, in relation to the AONB in particular, and some uncertainty remains.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are several Listed Buildings (including Chaul End Farmhouse in the north and Church of All Saints in Caddington in the south) whose setting may be affected by development within this site option, which is also in close proximity to Caddington Conservation Area. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings and possibly the Conservation Area. It should be noted that the development of the site would maintain area of open spaces between the site and Caddington and Chaul End where these heritage assets are located. A heritage impact assessment and capacity study will be required to determine whether or not development at the site option would result in harm/substantial harm to the significance of the nearby assets and their settings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects with the potential for a residual neutral effect.

The option also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[388], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. Likely neutral effects but uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

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Luton West Option 3

Site option: Luton West (Option 3)

Number of Dwellings: upwards of 4,600 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of more than 4,600 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire as well as some of the needs of Luton with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes. This option includes additional land to the south of the two alternative site options and would provide the highest level of affordable housing for this site.

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2. Communities[389]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Housing growth in this site option will expand the urban area of Luton to the west and contribute to the coalescence of Luton with the north of Caddington and also with the smaller settlement of Chaul End to the south. Development is to incorporate green buffers at the edge of the settlements of Caddington and Chaul End to help mitigate the potential for coalescence, however there is still potential for a minor long term negative effect. The development would also erode the existing small settlement identity of Chaul End and Slip End, in particular, with the potential for long term negative effects.

Development in this area will result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[390] identifies this land as parcel L6, within which the small fields adjacent to the village of Caddington may make a relatively weak contribution to Green Belt purposes. The proposed development of approximately 4,600 new homes is likely to extend beyond these small fields, with the potential for significant negative effects through loss of Green Belt.

However, development in this area is unlikely to integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton due to the separation provided by the M1.There may be opportunities to enhance the identity of communities in Luton but there is uncertainty at this stage and any new development is likely to function as a self-contained settlement. Overall, there are likely minor negative effects with uncertainty as to the effectiveness of mitigation measures until further studies are completed.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[391]

Development at the site option would be in close proximity to services and facilities available within Luton. It is noted that the M1 would act the separate the site from existing service provision in Luton and this would need to be overcome through the provision of suitable infrastructure. In any case, given the scale of development proposed, it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area and address and existing capacity issues or lack of service/facility provision. For this option new service provisions are to include primary schools (three two form entry and one three form entry facilities); contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building. The site would also deliver land and contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form. This approach is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

Potential for a significant long term positive effects. The effect uncertain given that the accessibility of new services and facilities provided at the site will be dependent in part upon the delivery of new infrastructure to support access across the M1.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option has primarily been identified for the development of housing; however it would also provide land for employment uses (B1, B2, B8 and other employment generating uses) which would offer local employment opportunities. Therefore, a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The option's close proximity to Luton as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas in this respect. Housing development in this area may also support the vitality and viability of Luton town centre with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects. The potential for residents to access Luton town centre by foot will be dependent in part upon the provision of new infrastructure to allow for access across the M1 and therefore the positive effect recorded is uncertain.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The option is in close proximity to areas of higher deprivation (Dunstable Manshead and Caddington). Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility, promote investment and reduce inequalities with the potential for minor long-term and cumulative positive effects. There is the potential for noise pollution from the M1 with the potential to cause health implications for future occupiers if development is not suitably located, designed and impacts mitigated. This site also includes some land which falls with the flight path of aircraft from Luton Airport. This part of the site is to be maintained as a green buffer as to mitigate the potential for adverse impacts resulting from noise pollution. Development Management Policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide sufficient mitigation measures but some uncertainty remains at this stage of assessment until further studies and masterplanning developed.

The Environmental Framework[392] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[393] which focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The site option is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area C – South Dunstable and South Luton Priority Zone. Development in this area could contribute to existing projects including enhanced access and interpretation, as well as community involvement at Blows Down, increased public use of the green space at Downside, and improvements to the quality of one of the accesses to Blow's Downs Park. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13).

The site option is adjacent to open spaces which includes Blows Down informal recreation area and open spaces in and around Caddington. Development at the site option has the potential to deliver strategic levels of new open spaces for the local area. The site option would provide new open space and sports provision, including contributions to the existing leisure centre. This will promote healthy lifestyles and help address any existing provision issues, with associated positive effects on health for local communities.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[394] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network; Chaul End Road is a country lane that would need significant upgrades. Luton Road will require junction improvements. This could also be mitigated to some extent through enhanced access to public transport networks including the Midland Main railway line and the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway. The site is expected to be supported through upgrades to three highway access points on to the existing network, all utilising existing M1 crossings: a link to Chaul End Road; a link to Luton Road east of Caddington, close to M1; and a link to Grove Road and B4540 in Slip End. It is likely that mitigation would also be required at M1 Junction 10. It is unclear at this stage whether there is sufficient capacity on the existing network, both within Central Bedfordshire and Luton, to accommodate additional traffic generation, or what mitigation measures may be necessary and the impact these may have on viability. Without mitigation, a strategic development of this scale in this area would cause unacceptable additional pressure on the road network within Luton and surrounding villages.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that new development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport with the potential for a residual neutral effect but some uncertainty remaining at this stage.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[395] and one in nearby Dunstable. The site option has the potential to increase traffic along the M1 and in Dunstable town centre, which could lead to increased emissions within AQMAs. A significant long term negative effect is expected. Uncertainty is attached dependent upon site level assessments.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

Although the site option is adjacent to the urban area of Luton, it is disconnected by the M1 motorway which creates a significant barrier to integration, with likely significant infrastructure investment requirements to create the appropriate connections to existing modes of sustainable transport, including bus services along Dallow Road (801, X31) and Castle Croft Road (28, 28A, 29, 29A, 828 & 829[396]); however, there is the Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway[397] that links Houghton Regis, Dunstable & Luton, and the closest train station at Luton (approx. 2.5miles[398]).

However, given the scale of development for this option and that it is more likely to be a self-contained development, it is anticipated that these infrastructure provisions can be provided, and supported by Local Plan policies, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Infrastructure expected to be provided as part of development of the site includes bus connections and cycle routes including a potential new connection to the existing Guided Busway at the existing Chaul End Lane access.

There are no national cycle routes in close proximity of the site option, however national cycle route 6 does pass through Luton to the east of the site option. Development at the site option can provide a network of cycle routes in the local area to address the lack of provision, and these could provide cycle access to Dunstable and Luton with positive effects.

There are existing PRoW routes which cross the settlement. Enhancements to these as part of development would have positive effects on sustainable transport and could encourage walking access to both Luton and Dunstable.

Potential for a minor positive effect on sustainable transport through enhancements to bus services, cycle routes and walking routes.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[399]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study[400] identifies that this site option lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources.

It is also recognised[401] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Lee Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 2,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[402]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Overall, a residual neutral effect at this stage.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this option will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site option contains Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b not known)[403]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification for most of the site until lower level site assessments have been completed, however at this stage it is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile land, with a significant negative effect. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

At this stage, the site option is not considered likely to regenerate brownfield land, with a neutral effect.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 site to the site option is Chilterns Beechwoods SAC, approx. 9km to the south west and designated for its beech woodlands[404]. The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site option would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

The site option is located close to a nationally designated biodiversity site, Blow's Down SSSI (also a County Wildlife Site (CWS)), located around 1.7km to the west of the site option[405]. The SSSI is a rich and varied site with a large area of open, unimproved grassland[406], and contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. The SSSI may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. However, it should be noted that the SSSI is already heavily bordered by urban development in Houghton Regis. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation with the potential for an overall long-term residual neutral effect. It is understood that there are areas of ancient woodland within the site optional area and these would need to be avoided by any new development.

Approximately 1.3km to the west of the site option is Cotton Bottom Fields Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[407] which contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[408]. There are two CWSs (Badgerdell Wood and The Linces) within the site option and several others to the east and west of the site. The site option contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat and Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat[409]. The area, together with land to the north-west and west is also within the biodiversity network[410]. Priority Habitat within the site option is limited to Deciduous Woodland, which is also present in the landscape surrounding the site option.

A site-specific ecological assessment for an area in the east of the site option[411] determined that there are records of badgers and recommended that further studies are conducted, including a detailed vegetation study and a study to determine the presence of roosting bats. However, no significant constraints were determined.

Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats as well as a LNR and CWSs, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area and within the site option via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). The site is expected to provide new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development, and improvements to the green infrastructure network which is likely to help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area. Furthermore, the potential enhancements to be provided at the site would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[412] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[413].

Overall while it is considered that there is the potential for some long-term minor benefits relating to improving local biodiversity, the potential for habitat loss, fragmentation and disturbance, particularly considering the location of biodiversity designations within the site option, means the minor positive effect is expected in combination with a significant negative effect. The effects are uncertain depending upon the finding of site level assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is adjacent to and partially within the designated AONB landscape. Development at this scale has potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is considered therefore that there is the potential for significant long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13.

The site option is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The site option is mostly within the Caddington-Slip End Chalk Dipslope Landscape Character Type[414]. Visually sensitive features in this landscape include the open and exposed nature of the area which means development could be highly visible, and the views to the ridgeline. The landscape strategy for the character type focuses on renewing landscape elements that have been lost or degraded. Although development can contribute to the landscape strategy, it is likely to result in the loss of visually sensitive features, with potential negative effects.

The site option has a distinctive landscape character, with open chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 rising to open rural plateau where development would not be acceptable. Assessment of the site concluded that the retention of the chalk valley side running parallel to the M1 and the creation of a strategic woodland buffer would required to minimise impacts on landscape.

However, it is still considered that there is the potential for a significant negative effect until further details regarding masterplanning are confirmed, in relation to the AONB in particular, and some uncertainty remains.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are several Listed Buildings (including Chaul End Farmhouse in the north and Church of All Saints in Caddington in the south) whose setting may be affected by development within this site option, which is also in close proximity to Caddington Conservation Area. The boundary of the site is drawn up to the edge of the smaller settlements of Chaul End and Caddington within which these designated heritage assets lie, meaning there is increased potential for harm to their settings. It is noted that a green buffer would be maintained between development in the site option and Caddington which would help to limit the harm on the setting of heritage assets here, including that of the Conservation Area. Development within the site option also has the potential to impact upon the setting of Luton Hoo Registered Park and Garden, given that it extends to the south as far as the B4540. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these heritage assets. A heritage impact assessment and capacity study will be required to determine whether or not development at the site option would result in harm/substantial harm to the significance of the nearby assets and their settings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The option also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[415], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. Likely minor negative effects but uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

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Marston Moretaine North (Marston Thrift)

Site option: Marston Moretaine North (Marston Thrift)

Number of Dwellings: up to 1,500 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 1,500 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[416]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land. A negligible effect is therefore expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site option is located to the north and north-west of Marston Moretaine and would extend the built form of the settlement in this direction. This would erode the existing open space between Marston Moretaine and Cranfield, however would not result in direct coalescence between the two settlements. The site would be adjacent to Lower Shelton and would result in coalescence with this settlement.

There is likely to be negative effects on the settlement identities of Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton. Marston Moretaine is bordered by the A421 to the north, however development at the site would extend the settlement north of this road. There would also be loss of settlement identity for Lower Shelton which is a small linear development with rural qualities, and these characteristics may be lost as a result of development.

Considering the potential for development at the site to directly contribute to coalescence between Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton a significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective. Uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of lower level assessments in terms of impacts of development relating to potential contribution to coalescence.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[417]

The site is in close proximity to existing services/facilities within Marston Moretaine[418]. This includes healthcare facilities, primary and middle schools, pubs, restaurants and shops. The scale of development means there is scope for enhancements to access and provision of services/facilities. It should be noted that the site is not large enough to support the delivery of a new secondary school in its own right. There has been a substantial amount of growth in this area and it is unclear if existing secondary school provision in the area could be expanded to accommodate growth at the site.

Development can ensure new services/facilities are provided which new residential development will have access to. Many existing capacity issues and provision issues could be addressed as a new services/facilities are delivered. Development at this site can ensure residents have safe access via public footpaths and cycleways, with the potential for enhancing access to Marston Moretaine from this area. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. Potential for significant positive effects on services/facilities. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development, mitigating against any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site and can provide cumulative positive effects with the provision of services/facilities at Marston Vale.

A significant positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. The effect is uncertain dependent upon whether development at the site could be supported by new secondary school provision in the area.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site option will not result in the delivery of any new employment land or loss of existing employment land, as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects and a negligible effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site is adjacent to the A421 which provides access to Bedford and Milton Keynes as major employment sources for Central Bedfordshire. These areas of importance for local employment opportunities are also accessible by bus services from Marston Moretaine. The location of the site in close proximity to the centre of Marston Moretaine could help to support its viability. However, the potential for residents to access this centre by foot will be dependent in part upon the provision of new infrastructure to allow for access across the A421 and therefore the positive effect recorded is uncertain.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[419]

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects on the first part of this SA objective.

There is the potential for noise pollution from the A421 with the potential to cause health implications for future occupiers if development is not suitably located, designed and impacts mitigated. Development Management policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide sufficient mitigation measures.

The Environmental Framework[420] identifies this site as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry). The Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park is a key project for this GI area, however this will be located outside of the site, although there are opportunities to provide GI benefits which link to this project.

Due to the strategic level of growth and the location of the site is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and blue infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

The site is in close proximity to a range of existing public open space. This includes Marston Vale Millennium Country Park, community woodland and informal recreation spaces.

Considering the good access new residents would have to existing areas of open space and that development could support the provision of GI benefits a significant positive effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is adjacent to the A421 (and future Expressway) and is therefore considered to have good access to the strategic road network. A short distance to the south (approximately 4.6km) the A421 provides access to the M1 at Junction 13. Early transport modelling[421] identifies that infrastructure improvements, such as to the M1 J13 and other local highway issues, would be crucial given the level of stress and identified congestion on the strategic routes in this area. Development at the site would result in a significant increase on traffic in the local area, including on roads which experience congestion and a potential increase on traffic in nearby settlements such as Marston Moretaine, Lower Shelton and Cranfield.

Due to the strategic level of proposed development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment in the local road network which could mitigate against the increase in traffic as a result of development. Good sustainable transport links could also provide mitigation by reducing the reliance on private vehicle use. Sustainable transport from the site by bus will be important to connect it to the surrounding area considering that the presence of the A421 could make cycling and walking less attractive. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

The nearest AQMA to the site allocation is in Ampthill[422] some 5.5km away and development of the site is therefore unlikely to result in an increase in traffic in this area such that significant negative effects are not considered likely. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[423]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain minor negative effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is accessible to bus stops located within Marston Moretaine. It is, however, noted that the A421 would act as a barrier to residents who wished to make use of bus stops within the settlement. Services from these bus stops include regular (hourly or more) services to Bedford and less regular services to Lidlington and Milton Keynes. Development at the site could provide support the delivery of new bus stops and extend existing services to the site so residents can access these public transport services through appropriate development contributions. This will reduce the reliance on private vehicles and help mitigate against any increase in traffic.

The site does not have access to a railway station, with the nearest stations approximately 2km away, and on the opposite side of Marston Moretaine. Development at the site could contribute to improved access to the railway stations, and public transport connections to them, and contribute to meeting the objectives provided by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, which aims to improve train services. This would have positive effects on sustainable transport for the area.

National cycle route 51 is located to the south west of the site within 300m[424], and provides access to Bedford, Cranfield and Milton Keynes. There are existing PRoW paths in the site boundary which connect to the wider ranging PRoW network. While development at the site could have adverse impact in terms of the accessibility of these existing routes, indicative proposals[425] for the site suggest that there will be enhancements to the existing cycle network and new cycle network with easy access for residents, and that there will be enhancements to the existing PRoW network and access to key destinations.

Overall a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[426]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

As such, a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

It is likely that this positive effect would occur in the long-term, particularly as new opportunities for renewable energy emerge as supported by planning policy.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[427] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[428].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies & any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 1,50 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

Overall a neutral effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[429]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal.

Overall a negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. Therefore, a negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site contains Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (it is currently unknown whether the sub-grade is 3a or 3 b)[430]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. Given the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land a significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site does not contain any previously developed land, and therefore a negligible effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The option is not located near any internationally designated sites and is not located in the Nature Improvement Area. It is located within 160m of a nationally designated biodiversity site, Blow's Down SSSI (which is also designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS))[431]. The SSSI is a rich and varied site with a large area of open, unimproved grassland[432], and contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. The SSSI may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. However, it should be noted that the SSSI is already in close proximity to existing development at Cranfield. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation. The area at the south western boundary of the site falls within Marston Thrift LNR and also contains T areas of ancient woodland. These areas would need to be avoided by any new development.

There are also a small number of CWSs in close proximity to the site. In addition to the CWS which covers the SSSI to the west, Stewartby Lake CWS is the closest of these designations. This designation is within 360m but is separated from the site by the A421. The northern part of the site, together with land to the north-west and west is also within the biodiversity network[433]. Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats as well as a LNR and CWSs, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[434] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[435]. It is considered that there is the potential for long-term benefits for local biodiversity but some uncertainty at this stage as depends upon more detailed studies. It is also recognised that the close proximity of areas of ancient woodland as well as multiple designated sites means there is potential for detrimental impacts as a result of habitat loss, disturbance or fragmentation.

Overall an uncertain mixed minor positive and minor negative effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development at the site is considered likely to support these objectives.

The local landscape assessment places the site predominantly within the North Marston Clay Vale character area[436]. Visual sensitivities in this area include the extensive views and contrast between the open vale and woodland slopes. The landscape strategy for the area includes renewing the landscape which has previously been used for mineral extraction, and that regeneration should be environmentally-led.

Overall a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. It is recognised that some uncertainty remains given that benefits would occur at the strategic scale and lower level assessments are yet to be undertaken.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a number of Listed Buildings within or in close proximity to the site (including Beancroft Farmhouse, Charity Farmhouse And Lower Wood End Farmhouse) that may be affected by development. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The option also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[437], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

Overall a minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. Uncertainty is attached until site level assessments have been completed.

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Marston Moretaine South (Marston Vale)

Site option: Marston Moretaine South (Marston Valley)

Number of Dwellings: New settlement up to 5,000 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 5,000 new homes can make a major contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[438]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land and therefore neutral effects are expected for the first part of this SA objective.

Housing growth at the site allocation will expand the urban area of Marston Moretaine south and east resulting in the direct coalescence of Marston Moretaine and Lidlington and Brogborough, with the potential for long term significant negative effects against the second part of SA Objective 2.

Development in this area could integrate well with the existing urban areas of Marston Moretaine and Lidlington, but will directly negative effect the individual identities of these settlements through coalescence. The masterplan for the site proposes a series of villages with the use of green buffers to mitigate coalescence.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[439]

Development at the site would be in close proximity to services and facilities available within Marston Moretaine and Lidlington.

Given the scale of development at the site the provision of new services and facilities will have to be made. Due to the strategic size of the site it is expected that this will be a standalone development providing new community services/facilities for new and existing residents. New local community facilities to be provided would include primary schools; land on site for and contributions towards a secondary school and sixth form; land and contributions towards a health facility; and a new local centre to include a retail uses and a multifunctional community building.

These significant provisions will support improved accessibility in this area and address existing accessibility issues, with the potential for a significant long term positive effect against SA Objective 3. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. The phasing of development throughout the Plan period provides the opportunity for development to provide services/facilities to meet identified deficits in the earlier phases of development, mitigating any potential capacity issues. The provision of new services/facilities should continue through the development of the site and can provide cumulative positive effects with the provision of services/facilities at Marston Vale. The effect is uncertain dependent upon whether development at the site could be supported by expanded secondary school provision in the area.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site has been identified predominantly for the development of housing, however 30ha of employment land has been proposed for a new business park, which would include employment land for office, distribution and manufacturing industries. This will contribute to meeting the identified jobs needs for Central Bedfordshire, with long term significant positive effects.

The site is in close proximity along the A421 to Bedford and Milton Keynes as major employment sources for Central Bedfordshire. It is connected by rail to these two areas already via the Marston Vale Branch Line and with the development of the East-West Rail Link this is likely to increase accessibility and proximity to Ridgmont station to the south west, further supporting the vitality and viability of these town centres, as well as local centres such as Ampthill, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects on the first part of this SA objective.

The Environmental Framework[440] identifies this site as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements, and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry). There is also the potential for enhancements to blue infrastructure through the delivery of part of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park.

Due to the strategic level of growth and the location of the site it is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and blue infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

The site is in close proximity to a range of existing public open space. This includes Marston Vale Millennium Country Park, adjacent to the north east of the site. Other areas of open space include a playing field and community woodland adjacent to the east of the site and an area of informal recreation space to the west. All of which are within 450m of the site, and are therefore considered to be easily accessible. Indicative proposals suggest the site will provide a range of new open spaces, including the Waterway Park, with long-term positive effects on health through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is well located regarding access to the strategic road network, including the A421 (and future Expressway) and M1. Early transport modelling[441] identifies that infrastructure improvements, such as to the M1 J13 and other local highway issues, would be crucial given the level of stress and identified congestion on the strategic routes in this area. The strategic level of development proposed would result in an increase in traffic in the local area, including on roads which experience congestion and a potential increase on traffic in nearby settlements such as Marston Moretaine and Lidlington.

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment which could mitigate against the increase in traffic as a result of development. Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. Good sustainable transport links should also provide mitigation by reducing the reliance on private vehicle use. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

The nearest AQMA to the site is in Ampthill[442] some 6km distance and is unlikely to result in an increase in traffic in this area such that significant negative effects are not considered likely. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[443]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

The Energy Recovery Facility at Rookery Pit South and Brogborough Landfill Gas Power station are in relatively close proximity to the site and as such air quality will need to be considered in the context of future occupiers; Development Management policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment should provide mitigation measures.

Overall, an uncertain minor negative effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is well connected to the existing urban areas of Marston Moretaine and Lidlington, which are both served by bus services. This includes hourly or more frequent services to Wharley End and Bedford. It is anticipated that development here could accommodate viable extensions to such services through appropriate development contributions. This could include improvements to existing services and bus stop facilities.

The site is located almost adjacent to railway stations at Lidington and Millbrook[444]. Development at the site could contribute to improved access to the railway stations and contribute to meeting the objectives provided by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, which aims to improve trains services. The development of the East-West Rail Link and the site's proximity to Ridgmont station to the south west will support sustainable transport objectives with positive effects.

There are multiple PRoW routes passing through the settlement, including the Marston Vale Trail. National Cycle Route 51 passes along the north western boundary of the site[445]. Development at the site can provide enhancements to footpaths and cycleways, improving connectivity for local residents and linking in with neighbouring areas for a cumulative effect on sustainable transport networks.

The size and scope of a new settlement means there is potential through early masterplanning and creative design to provide exemplar opportunities for sustainable transport (including bus services, rail links and cycling network) reducing the need for residents to make longer journey by car. Therefore, potential long-term significant positive effects are expected.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[446]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site option can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. There may be an opportunity to connect to heat network of the proposed Energy from Waste Facility at Rookery Pit South. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[447] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[448].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies & any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 5,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment. With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Though there are areas of flood risk within the site option[449], in line with Local Plan policy on flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. As such residual neutral effects are expected.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this site will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

Small areas of Grade 3a best and most versatile agricultural land have been identified within the site[450], and the loss of these areas has the potential for permanent significant negative effects against SA Objective 11. Development can avoid these areas to reduce the extent of the negative effects, however it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty at this level of assessment.

The site is within an area which has a history of mineral extraction, and therefore land contamination is an existing issue for the site allocation. Local Plan policy on pollution should ensure that there will be no significant effects on health, and project level mitigation can ensure the appropriate remediation if necessary with the potential for minor positive effects through land restoration. The site does not contain any previously developed land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated sites in or around the site option. To the north-west of the site option within 850m is Marston Thrift SSSI and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[451], which is an example of ash/maple woodland[452]. To the east of the site option within 3.6km is Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows SSSI and LNR, another example of ash/maple woodland[453]. To the south-west within 3.4km is Cooper's Hill SSSI and LNR, one of the best remaining examples in Bedfordshire of Lowland Heath[454]. Due to the size of the site option development may affect these sites. This may occur through increased recreation use from future residents resulting in habitat disturbance and destruction. Other possible impacts may be increased noise and light pollution having adverse effects on local wildlife residing at these sites. The site and surrounding land is mostly greenfield with a range of hedgerows present, and the damage or loss of hedgerows would have an impact on ecological corridors. There is the potential for a cumulative effect with development in the neighbouring authorities of Bedford and Milton Keynes. However, the HRA of the Plan concluded that the allocation would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

There are a number of locally designated County Wildlife Sites (CWS) in and around the site option. Within the site option there are blocks of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat, Lowland Fens Priority Habitat, Semi-Improved Grassland Priority Habitat, Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat and Lowland Dry Acid Grassland Priority Habitat[455]. Biodiversity network is located largely to the south, to the west, and in and to the east of the development location. Development in this site option therefore has the potential to result in fragmentation of Priority Habitats and the disruption of local wildlife. The site is within a Great Crested Newt re-colonisation area. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity. The provision of new public open spaces and recreational facilities as part of development (including the Waterway Park), and improvements to the green infrastructure network will help to mitigate against any increases in visitor use of SSSIs and CWSs in the surrounding area.

A small amount of the site option in the south is also located in the Nature Improvement Area (NIA), providing opportunities to improve the NIA's and Central Bedfordshire's biodiversity network. The area around the site option has a high number of Priority Habitats and nationally and locally designated biodiversity sites. Improving existing ecological corridors between sites and habitats within the NIA and sites and habitats outside the NIA will benefit both the NIA and surrounding ecosystem, and help meet NIA targets of strengthening ecological networks. Providing connections for current residents and future residents between the site option and the NIA would also provide benefits for resident's health and help meet targets of enhancing public awareness and providing opportunities for people to access and experience the Ridge. Potential for long-term minor positive effects. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[456] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[457].

The site option is also located in the Forest of Marston Vale, a community forest made up of a patchwork of woodlands which includes local SSSI and LNR sites. The aim of the designation is to regenerate the industrially scarred landscape, whilst meeting objectives which include creating new opportunities for nature conservation, improving access for all and encourage community commitment to the concept[458]. Development in this site option could support the objectives of the Forest of Marston vale with the potential for minor long term positive effects. The creation of the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway[459], which will pass to the east of Marston Moretaine, will provide enhancement to the local biodiversity and GI networks, providing blue and green corridors which will allow wildlife movement and creating new habitat areas, with biodiversity gains.

There is the potential for multiple enhancements to existing biodiversity and geodiversity, and for development to achieve an overall net gain for biodiversity. New open space provision is likely to help limit the potential for pressures on nearby biodiversity sites. It is noted that the existing Priority Habitat and CWS sites are potentially vulnerable to development through increased disturbance and/or fragmentation and these should be retained as detailed in indicative proposals. Development should also protect the populations of Great Crested Newts. Potential for combined minor positive and minor negative effects with some uncertainty until site level assessments are completed.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape[460].

The site option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development in this site option is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The local landscape assessment places the site predominantly within the North Marston Clay Vale character area[461]. Visual sensitivities in this area include the extensive views and contrast between the open vale and woodland slopes. The landscape strategy for the area includes renewing the landscape which has previously been used for mineral extraction, and that regeneration should be environmentally-led.

Development at the site has the potential to effect visually sensitive features of the character area. However, masterplanning could allow for appropriate landscaping that will help achieve the landscape strategy for the area and enhance the local landscape, with minor positive effects for the SA Objective. The effects are uncertain with lower level assessments yet to be undertaken.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There are a small number of Archaeological Notification Areas within the site option[462], in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

The site does not contain any designated heritage assets. However, a number of Listed Buildings (including Thrupp End Farmhouse, and the stone known as the devil's toenail) and Scheduled Monuments are in close proximity to the site. The Medieval village and moated sites at Thrupp End Scheduled Monument[463] are the remains of a deserted village known from low earthworks and aerial photography. The moats are considered to have been part of the medieval manor known as 'Goldington's Manor' belonging to the Abbess of Barking and held by the Goldington family from at least the 15th century. It is possible that the Manor House stood on the site of the present Thrupp End Farm House Listed Building. Development in this site may also affect the settings of Listed Buildings and a Scheduled Monument (Moat Farm moated enclosure and associated settlement earthworks) in the south west of the Marston Moretaine settlement and Listed Buildings in Lidlington. The setting of an additional Scheduled Monument at Brogborough, Ringwork at The Round House, has the potential to be affected by development at the site.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monument. However, due to the location of the Scheduled Monuments and other designated heritage assets in the surrounding landscape, it is still considered there is the potential for a minor negative effect although some uncertainty until site level assessments are completed.

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North and North East Sandy

Option: North and North East Sandy

Number of Dwellings: 4,750 homes

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 4,750 new homes will have significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[464]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects.

Development at this site will expand the settlement of Sandy to the north and to the east. This expansion is not considered likely to result in the coalescence of Sandy with the neighbouring settlements of Tempsford and Everton, although there will be a reduction in open space between them. However, effective landscaping will mitigate against this.

The site will not be a self-contained new settlement but will be an extension of the existing settlement of Sandy. The settlement character is partly defined by the A1 bordering the settlement to the west and the railway line bordering to the east. Development at the site could complement the urban edge of Sandy, however development will extend the settlement beyond the railway line to the east, and therefore may affect the identity of the townscape and there is potential for issues regarding the integration due to the presence of the railway line. Therefore, it is considered there is the potential for a minor negative effect on settlement identity, although some uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[465]

Development at this site would be in close proximity to services and facilities available within Sandy with the site edge lying adjacent to the settlement at the closest point. Development within the north and north eastern portion of the site would lie some distance from the centre of Sandy. The north eastern portion would also be separated from the settlement by the railway line. Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility to services/facilities in this area. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility. Furthermore, there is the scope to provide new services/facilities to address existing provision or capacity issues within Sandy. It is noted that there is potential for the scale of new services and facilities provided to result in competition with the town centre of Sandy; however the precise impacts are unknown without more detailed assessment.

Potential for a significant long-term positive effect. An element of uncertainty is attached considering the potential for impacts on Sandy town centre.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

Although the site is considered to be predominantly for housing, an initial proposal for a site developer promoting land within the site[466] indicates employment land could be provided. A minor positive effect is therefore identified for the first part of this objective, although some uncertainty remains as the quantum is unknown.

The site has access to Sandy which is a key source of employment for the area. It is also in close proximity to the existing industrial area on Sunderland Road in Sandy. The site also has access to Sandy railway station which provides Thameslink services to Peterborough, London and the wider south east. The preferred corridor for EWR has been identified between Sandy and St Neots which offers potential opportunities to access Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford, with positive effects on access to employment opportunities. Development at the site is also considered to support the vitality of Sandy and nearby settlements. Overall potential for a minor positive effect.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site would provide development in close proximity to an area of higher deprivation within Sandy[467]. Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility in these areas and reduce inequalities with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. There is the potential for noise associated with the A1 and the East Coast Mainline railway to affect the site. Development Management Policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment provide mitigation measures but some uncertainty remains at this strategic stage of assessment.

The Environmental Framework[468]identifies this area as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Specific focuses include, landscape enhancements, creation of the Great North Cycle Route and enhancing connections between settlements. A key issue for this GI area is the lack of strategic accessible greenspace. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects.

The site is in close proximity to a range of open spaces located within Sandy. This is likely to promote healthy lifestyles. It is expected that development could provide new areas of open space which can address any existing shortfalls and capacity issues within Sandy. Therefore, it is considered that there is the potential for significant positive effects on the second part of this objective.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is located adjacent to the A1 and the confirmed route of the Expressway between Black Cat Roundabout and Cambridge is located to the north of Sandy. Early transport modelling[469]identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1 and cause further congestion on the highway network such that infrastructure improvements are likely to be required to mitigate against this. A second assessment using a revised testing method determined that the Sandy traffic 'hotspot' was worse than previously indicated[470]. However, any increase in traffic could potentially be mitigated through good access to public transport networks, which Sandy has.

Given the scale of new development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[471], which runs along the A1 to the west of the town. It is likely that development at this site option would result in increased levels of traffic within the AQMA thereby exacerbating existing air quality issues. Significant negative effects are therefore identified although uncertainty is attached dependent upon the findings of site level assessments.

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7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The option is connected to the existing urban area of Sandy, which is well-served by bus services. It is anticipated that development in this location could accommodate a viable extension to such services which operate in the northern area of Sandy (e.g. service number 1, 2, 4, 73 and 112[472]) through appropriate development contributions. It is also anticipated that development would be designed such that new housing would have easy and safe access to a well serviced bus stop, with positive effects on sustainable transport.

At its closest point the site is also in close proximity (approximately 550m) from Sandy railway station. Services from here are frequent and include Thameslink services to Peterborough, London and the wider south east. Development at this location could ensure connections with the railway station, and it could benefit from an East-West Rail Link (central section) with the preferred corridor being confirmed between Sandy and St Neots. It is noted, however, that the northern parts of the site in particular would not be well-related to the railway station in Sandy considering the size of the site.

Existing PRoW routes which run through the site could be enhanced and connected with other PRoW routes. National cycle route 12 passes[473] to the south of the site within 350m. Development at the site could provide enhancements and connections with this cycle route. Overall potential for minor positive effects on sustainable transport.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[474]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[475] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[476].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 4,750 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty exists at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Though there are areas of flood risk (flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3) in the north of the site[477], these areas are relative small and in line with Local Plan policy relating to flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas with the potential for a residual neutral effect.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Likely residual neutral effects.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this site will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. Within the site there is grade 1, 2 and 3 (sub-grade not known) best and most versatile agricultural land. Areas of grade 1 and 2 agricultural land make up much of the west edge of the site. As such there is potential for a significant negative effect, although some uncertainty remains at this stage of assessment.

The site is not considered likely to regenerate brownfield land, with a neutral effect.

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0

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The nearest Natura 2000 designated site to the site is the Eversden and Wimpole Woods SAC, approximately 15km to the east and designated for the presence of Barbastelle bats[478]. The HRA of the Plan concluded that the site would not have likely significant effects on Natura 2000 designated sites for air quality, recreational disturbance, changes to water levels and quality, or habitat loss.

The site is not located in the Nature Improvement Area, however there are a number of nationally designated sites to the east. Sandy Warren SSSI is approximately 1.3km to the south east of the site. Weaveley and Sand Woods SSSI is to the north east of the site within 3.8km[479], and contains Ancient Woodland with a mix of species, and an additional interest due to the underlying geology[480]; also Gamlingay Wood SSSI[481], which holds well developed plant and animal communities[482]. Potton Wood SSSI is approximately 6km to the east of the site. Possible impacts on these SSSI sites could occur through noise and light pollution caused by new development, increased recreation use from future residents and possible loss of ecological corridors. However, due to the distance of the SSSIs from the site option these negative effects would be minimal, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation with a likely residual neutral effect.

Within the site there is a County Wildlife Site (CWS) (Waterloo Thorns CWS) and some small areas of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat, with additional CWSs a short distance to the east, south and west including Zwetsloots Pits, Rivers Ivel and Hiz and the Pinnacle. Potential negative effects may be mitigated in part through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

The site is not located within the biodiversity elements of the Priority Corridors as set out in the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[483] and Strategic Green Infrastructure Plan. New development can provide biodiversity enhancements and the site is expected to incorporate substantial amounts of accessible open space. While these improvements would not progress strategic aims relating to GI, there is potential for new open space to help limit the potential for increased pressures to occur on surrounding biodiversity sites and improve habitat connectivity. Therefore, there is the potential for minor benefits. Considering the potential for habitat loss within the site as development occurs, the minor positive effect is likely to be combined with a minor negative effect. The overall effect is uncertain at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape and therefore no major negative effects indicated.

The option is predominantly within the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to protect long open views and high levels of tranquillity, as well as the Ridge's aquifer. Development in this site is considered likely to impact upon the open character and levels of tranquillity with the potential for minor long-term negative effects. Mitigation possibilities uncertain at this stage.

The site is within the Biggin Wood Clay Vale Landscape Character Type[484], and visually sensitive features in this area include the flat, open landscape, clear views across the landscape and the small blocks of woodlands and high hedgerows. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on enhancing the landscape by reinforcing the integrated field boundaries, enhancing woodland cover and restoring floodplain elements. It is expected that development at the site could result in the loss of visually sensitive features. Some uncertainty of effects remains dependent upon site level assessment findings.

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14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

There is one Listed Building located along the A1 (Dick Turpin Public House) whose setting could be affected by development in this site (although separated by the A1). The site is also in close proximity to the Tempsford (Church End) Conservation Area to the north west which is within 60m. Numerous Listed Buildings are located within the Conservation Area and there is potential for additional impacts on the significance of these heritage assets as a result of development. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the setting of the Listed Building.

The site contains a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[485] to the west, in which development (according with Local Plan policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance, with the potential for minor long-term positive effects. Overall minor negative effects considering the potential for adverse impacts on nearby heritage assets at this stage, but uncertain until site level assessment completed.

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Tempsford South and Tempsford Airfield

Site option: Tempsford South and Tempsford Airfield

Number of Dwellings: New settlement up to 10,000 homes and new employment land

SA Topic & Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 10,000 new homes can make a significant contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site option can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[486]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects.

The large amount of housing growth proposed for the site means there is the chance for development to contribute to coalescence with the settlements of Everton and Sandy with Tempsford. Although there is the potential for a well-designed development to be self-contained at the site and the formation of a new community, this is not certain. Furthermore, the settlement identity of Tempsford may be altered as a result of a large development in this location. Considering the large amount of development, which would contribute to settlement coalescence and erosion of the existing identities of those settlements, a significant negative effect is recorded.

0

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[487]

Development at the option is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Tempsford and within 750m of Sandy and 1.2km of Everton where additional services and facilities are located. Due to the strategic size of the site allocation it is expected that this will be a standalone development providing all the necessary services to support new and existing residents and there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

As such there is potential for a significant long-term positive effect.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The option has been identified primarily for the development of housing. It would also deliver new B and non B employment uses. Its location on the A1, in close proximity to the Expressway interchange at Black Cat Roundabout, would make it attractive for local employment and footloose strategic warehousing. As such a minor positive effect is expected.

The location is within 7.1km of Bedford with good access provided along the A421 (via the future Expressway) and is a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire. A mainline railway station in the centre of Sandy is within 3.0km of the site and the preferred corridor for EWR passes through this site which offers the potential for a new station to provide access to Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford. This is also likely to increase accessibility to key employment areas. Development in this location may also support the vitality and viability of Sandy town centre, given the close proximity of this settlement, with the potential for minor long term positive effects. The site would also provide access to other employment areas further afield via the A1 East Cost Mainline to the north and south.

+

+

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The option would provide development in close proximity to an area of higher deprivation (Sandy is within the 20-30% most deprived in England[488]). Development therefore has the potential to improve accessibility in these areas and reduce inequalities with the potential for minor long-term and cumulative positive effects. There is the potential for noise associated with the A1 and the mainline railway; also, a nearby composting facility with potential issues for odours. Development Management Policies on pollution and Health Impact Assessment provide mitigation measures but some uncertainty remains at this strategic stage of assessment.

The Environmental Framework[489] identifies this area as located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Specific focuses include landscape enhancements, creation of the Great North Cycle Route and enhancing connections between settlements. A key issue for this GI area is the lack of strategic accessible greenspace. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects.

There is limited pubic open spaces within Tempsford and around the site (with play areas and Kier Site Cricket Pitch accessible along Station Road) although Sandy to the south has several areas offering a range of recreational facilities. Development of this site option could provide strategic levels of new open spaces and recreational facilities, which can address the current deficit. This is likely to have significant positive effects on health through the promotion of healthier lifestyles.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

The site is located adjacent to the A1 and is in close proximity to the confirmed route of the Expressway between Black Cat Roundabout and Cambridge. Early transport modelling[490] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1 and cause further congestion such that infrastructure improvements are likely to be required. It is understood that the existing level crossing between Tempsford and Everton would be required to be removed. The crossing goes over the East Coast Mainline between Edinburgh and Kings Cross (London) and causes significant waiting times and delays to traffic. Without the removal of this level crossing it is not considered that this site would be acceptable in this respect. A second initial transport assessment using a revised testing method determined that the A1 'hotspot' near Tempsford was worse than previously indicated[491]. Otherwise, some mitigation could be provided through good access to public transport networks.

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[492]. However, the site option is located more than 1.2km from this AQMA such that mitigation measures should be effective, although some uncertainty regarding potential poor air quality from the A1 traffic. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[493]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain minor negative effect is identified in relation to this SA objective.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The option is not directly connected to any of the existing urban areas. The urban area of Sandy is located within 750m. Sandy Station can be accessed via Tempsford Road and Everton Road and this is within 3.0km of the site[494]. The smaller settlement of Everton is located within 1.1km and provides access to a number of bus connections (route numbers 1B, 2, 190 and 193[495]). It is expected that the strategic level of development at the site option would provide enhancements to public transport, including new bus services or extension to existing services, through appropriate devilment contributions. These services could link with the railway station at Sandy, with positive effects for sustainable transport. The preferred corridor for EWR has been identified between Sandy and St Neots and passes through this site, although the exact alignment is currently unknown. There may be scope for a sustainable future connection to the East-West Rail Link, so some uncertainty remains at this stage. Bus provision could also include services to Cambridge to the east to increase accessibility.

National cycle route 12 is located to the west of Tempsford and provides access to St Neots and Blunham. National cycle route 51 is to the south west of the site within Sandy[496]. Development could provide new cycle routes to connect with the national cycle route and provide a safe cycle route to Sandy railway station for positive effects. There are existing PRoW routes within the site, and these could be enhanced to provide access to nearby settlements.

It is expected that the amount of new development at the site could support a level of new service provision which would reduce the need for residents to make regular longer car journeys. Nearby service provision is also likely to help encourage modal shift among new residents.

Overall there is potential for a minor positive effect in relation to sustainable transport.

+?

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[497]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections and potential for a reduced need to travel among residents identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions. This is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. As such a potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty is identified at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[498] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[499].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 10,000 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

Within Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Although there are areas of flood risk within the site along tributaries of the River Great Ouse[500], in line with Local Plan policy relating to flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas with the potential for a residual neutral effect. Due to the presence of watercourses at the site option essential infrastructure such as road crossings will be required to cross the waterways. Therefore, this infrastructure must be appropriately designed to ensure that flood risk is not increased off site and vulnerable uses are not affected.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Overall residual neutral effects are expected in relation to flood risk.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this area will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land (with the exception of the runway and associated airfield buildings) with the potential for long-term negative effects.

There is Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land within the boundaries of the site, as well as Grade 3 agricultural land (although it is unknown if this land is sub-grade 3a or 3b)[501]. Therefore a significant negative effect is expected, although it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given the nature of the land use at Tempsford Airfield there may be some contamination constraints. Local Plan policy on pollution should ensure that there will be no significant effects on health, and project level mitigation can ensure the appropriate remediation if necessary with the potential for minor positive effects through land restoration.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The site option is not located near any internationally designated sites or located in the Nature Improvement Area, however there are a number of nationally designated sites to the east. This includes Weaveley & Sand Woods SSSI which is to the east within 1.3km[502], and contains Ancient Woodland with a mix of species, and an additional interest due to the underlying geology[503]; also, Gamlingay Wood SSSI[504], which holds well developed plant and animal communities[505]. Possible impacts on these SSSI sites could occur through noise and light pollution caused by new development, increased recreation use from future residents and possible loss of ecological corridors. However, due to the distance of the SSSIs from the site option these negative effects would be minimal, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation with a likely residual neutral effect.

Within the site option there are parts of two County Wildlife Sites (Latch Pool and Ditch CWS and Sir John's Wood CWS) and some small areas of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat, with additional CWSs a short distance to the east. Areas of Ancient Woodland also lie within the north part of the site. Potential negative effects may be mitigated through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity. The site is also expected to deliver a significant amount of accessible open spaces for residents which would reduce pressure on nearby biodiversity sites.

The option is not located within the biodiversity elements of the Priority Corridors as set out in the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[506] & Strategic Green Infrastructure Plan. Whilst new development can provide biodiversity enhancements, these would not progress strategic aims with less possibilities for positive effects.

Overall, there is potential for minor negative effects considering the potential for habitat loss, disturbance and fragmentation at the CWSs that lie partly within the site. As the site would provide significant amounts of open space there is also potential for improved habitat connectivity in the area and a reduction in recreation pressures on nearby biodiversity sites. Therefore, the minor negative effect identified is combined with a minor positive effect. Some uncertainty is attached at this stage until more detailed studies are undertaken.

+/-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape and therefore, no significant effects are expected in relation to landscape.

The option is predominantly within the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge National Character Area[507], and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to protect long open views and high levels of tranquillity, as well as the Ridge's aquifer. Development in this location is considered likely to impact upon the open character and levels of tranquillity with the potential for minor long term negative effects. The potential for mitigation is uncertain until further studies are undertaken.

The site lies mostly within the Biggin Wood Clay Vale Landscape Character Type[508], and visually sensitive features in this area include the flat, open landscape, clear views across the landscape and the small blocks of woodlands and high hedgerows. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on enhancing the landscape by reinforcing the integrated field boundaries, enhancing woodland cover and restoring floodplain elements. It is expected that development at the site could result in the loss of visually sensitive features. Some uncertainty remains dependent upon site level assessment findings.

-?

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

This site option takes in a Listed Building at Gibraltar Farm (Gibraltar Farm Barn) in the east, as well as the Biggin Wood moated enclosure Scheduled Monument (and Archaeological Notification Area) in its central portion. Records[509] indicate that Biggin Wood is an above average example of a Bedfordshire moated enclosure and is thought to include the remains of the important residence of Everton Biggin manor.

A Heritage Appraisal[510] commissioned by a promoter of a proposed site which falls within the site option detailed the existing designated and non-designated heritage assets in the area, and detailed future studies which would be required. These included an Archaeological Heritage Statement, a Built Heritage Statement and Historic Environment Management Plan.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage; however the location of the designated heritage assets within the site has the potential for a significant negative effect, with an element of uncertainty until more detailed site level assessments have been completed.

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Wixams South

Option: Wixams South

Number of Dwellings: up to 650 homes

SA Objective

Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

The delivery of up to 650 new homes can make a significant contribution to achieving the overall housing needs of Central Bedfordshire with the potential for significant long-term positive effects. It is assumed that development at the site can meet the policy objectives of Local Plan policy on housing mix to provide an appropriate mix of housing types, tenures and sizes.

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2. Communities[511]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land with neutral effects.

Housing growth in this site will expand the urban area of Wixams south and contribute to coalescence between Wixams and Wilstead, although the A6 creates a barrier between the two settlements. There is the potential for coalescence with Houghton Conquest in the south.

The contribution to coalescence of the settlements is considered to have the potential for minor long-term negative effects on community identities.

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[512]

Development at the site is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Wixams. Wilstead, Houghton Conquest and Bedford. Given the scale of development at the site it is considered that there is also the potential for significant provisions to support improved accessibility in this area, with the potential for a significant long term positive effect against SA Objective 3. This is supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

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4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

The site has been identified for the development of housing and as such is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against the first part of this SA Objective, with a neutral effect.

The location is in close proximity (3.0km to the north) to Bedford as a major employment source for Central Bedfordshire and is located in close proximity a strategic rail connection route (Kempston Hardwick is located 2.1km to the north west) which is likely to increase accessibility to employment areas and support the vitality and viability of the town centre, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

0

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects on the first part of this objective.

The Environmental Framework[513] identifies that this site is not located within a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network, however development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

Early transport modelling[514] identifies that infrastructure improvements would be crucial given the level of stress on the strategic routes in this area, including the A6 and Ampthill Road to Bedford and south on the A6. However, any increase in traffic could potentially be mitigated through good access to public transport networks.

Given the scale of development is it anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on transport with the potential for a residual neutral effect with an element of uncertainty at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Ampthill[515]. However, the site option is located some distance from the AQMA. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Therefore, in the longer term when this development is further progressed there is likely to be improved air quality and the potential for neutral effects but uncertainty at this stage.

Overall, an uncertain negligible effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

0?

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

The site is well connected to the existing urban area of Wixams to the north east. There is also a railway connection relatively close to the site at Kempston Hardwick which is within 2.1km to the north west. Development should seek to enhance access to the railway station with the potential for a minor long term positive effect. There is a proposed station at Wixams that, once built out will have significant positive effects for sustainable transport in the area – connections to Bedford and south to Luton and London.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[516]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site can support a continued reduction in GHG emissions, this is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. There may be an opportunity to connect to heat network of the proposed Energy from Waste Facility at Rookery Pit South. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[517] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 which is greater than previously forecast as a result of supply-side reductions due to sustainability reductions and climate change (-20Ml/d by 2024) and increased unconstrained demand as a result of development and population growth[518].

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies & any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of 650 new homes in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the site are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will be no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Though there are areas of flood risk within the site option[519], in line with Local Plan policy relating to flood risk management it is expected that development would avoid these areas with the potential for a residual neutral effect.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

Grade 3 best and most versatile (sub-grade3a or 3b not known)[520] agricultural land has been identified across much of the site at this stage[521], however it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed. Uncertain long term significant negative effects are likely. Given that the site is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

--?

0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites within or around the site. South of the site within 1.6km is Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows SSSI and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[522] an example of ash/maple woodland[523]. South of the site within 3.5km is also a cluster of SSSI sites, Maulden Heath SSSI, Maulden Wood and Pennyfather's SSSI and Maulden Church Meadow SSSI and Local Nature Reserve (LNR)[524]. Development in this site option could result in a range of negative effects on the SSSI sites, which includes an increase in traffic along the A6 which passes directly by three of the SSSI sites. The increase in traffic would result in an increase in atmospheric pollutants, noise pollution and light pollution resulting in negative effects on the SSSIs. Other negative effects stemming from development include an increase in recreational use of the sites resulting in disturbance and damage. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which ensures that development will not adversely affect designated biodiversity.

There are a number of County Wildlife Sites (CWS) in the land surrounding the site, with the land to the west containing a high number of CWSs due to the presence of abandoned quarry pits and lakes which have since been designated as wildlife sites[525]. This includes Quest Pit CWS and Coronation Pit CWS. Development at the site could negatively affect the CWSs by increasing traffic along the B530 which passes directly adjacent to the sites to the west. There are a small range of Priority Habitats in the land surrounding the site, which includes areas of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat to the west and south of the site and some small areas of Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat to the east and south. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on nature conservation which seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to biodiversity.

The site is not located in the biodiversity network, however the land to the west, around the CWSs, is in the biodiversity network. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is also just south of the site. Therefore, there is the scope to make a range of improvements to the local biodiversity network. The creation of new ecological corridors that links the biodiversity network to the west with the biodiversity network further south of the site could incorporate the SSSI and LNR sites in the area with wide ranging benefits for local wildlife. Enhancing connections between the site and the NIA through the creation of new ecological corridor or 'stepping stone' sites would enhance the ecological value of both the areas. The site is also located in the Forest of Marston Vale. Development in this site could help support the objectives of the Forest of Marston Vale. These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[526] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[527].

Overall, while the potential for habitat disturbance (most notably through increased air pollution) could have adverse impacts on ecological networks in the surrounding areas, there is also potential for demonstratable enhancements to ecological connectivity. Therefore, a mixed minor positive and minor negative effect is identified. The effect is uncertain dependent upon the findings of site level studies.

+/-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this site is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against SA Objective 13 with an element of uncertainty at this stage.

The local landscape assessment places the site within the North Marston Clay Vale character area[528]. Visual sensitivities in this area include the extensive views and contrast between the open vale and woodland slopes. The landscape strategy for the area includes renewing the landscape which has previously been used for mineral extraction, and that regeneration should be environmentally-led.

Development at the site has the potential to effect visually sensitive features of the character area. However, masterplanning for the site shows appropriate landscaping that will help achieve the landscape strategy for the area and enhance the local landscape, with minor positive effects for the SA objective.

+?

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

The site contains one Archaeological Notification Area. Development at the site (according with Local Plan Policy on archaeology) could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site does not contain any designated heritage assets, however it is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in Wilstead to the east and Houghton Conquest to the south. The closest of these Listed Buildings are Village Farmhouse and Home Farmhouse which are located within 800m within Houghton Conquest. The limited amount of existing development which surrounds the Grade II Listed Buildings Hill Farmhouse and Barn Range to the south east of the site within 900m may mean that the settings of these heritage assets are more vulnerable to change as new development occurs. Given the scale of development at this location impacts may occur on the existing character of the area which is defined in part by the open countryside. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy on built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings, with the potential for a minor negative effect. There remains an element of uncertainty until site level assessments have been completed.

-?


[1] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[2] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[3] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[4] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/development-briefs/arlesey.aspx

[5] Axiom Developments Ltd. (2017) Arlesey East Concept Masterplan

[6] First symbol refers to employment support; second symbol refers to vitality/viability of town centres

[7] first symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[9] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[10] Ibid.

[11] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[12] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[13] Central Bedfordshire Local Transport Plan (2013) Arlesey & Stotfold Local Area Transport Plan

[14] Ibid.

[15] Draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan (2017)

[18] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[19] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[20] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[21] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[22] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[23] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[24] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[25] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[26] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[27] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[28] Ibid.

[29] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[30] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[31] Ibid.

[32] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2017)

[33] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[34] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[35] Axiom Developments Ltd. (2017) Arlesey East Concept Masterplan

[36] Defra (2020) Magic Map

[37] Natural England (2015) East Anglian Chalk National Character Area Profile

[38] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[39] Ibid.

[40] Aspect Landscape Planning (August 2017) Land East of Arlesey: Landscape and Visual Appraisal

[41] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[42] Ibid.

[43] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[44] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[45] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[46] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/development-briefs/arlesey.aspx

[47] Axiom Developments Ltd. (2017) Arlesey East Concept Masterplan

[48] First symbol refers to employment support; second symbol refers to vitality/viability of town centres

[49] first symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[51] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[52] Ibid.

[53] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[54] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[55] Central Bedfordshire Local Transport Plan (2013) Arlesey & Stotfold Local Area Transport Plan

[56] Ibid.

[57] Draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan (2017)

[60] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[62] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[63] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[64] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[65] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[66] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[67] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[68] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[69] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[70] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[71] Ibid.

[72] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[73] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[74] Ibid.

[75] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2017)

[76] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[77] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[79] Defra (2020) Magic Map

[80] Natural England (2015) East Anglian Chalk National Character Area Profile

[81] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[82] Ibid.

[83] Aspect Landscape Planning (August 2017) Land East of Arlesey: Landscape and Visual Appraisal

[84] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[85] Ibid.

[86] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[87] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[88] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[89] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/development-briefs/arlesey.aspx

[90] Axiom Developments Ltd. (2017) Arlesey East Concept Masterplan

[91] First symbol refers to employment support; second symbol refers to vitality/viability of town centres

[92] first symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[94] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[95] Ibid.

[96] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[97] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[98] Central Bedfordshire Local Transport Plan (2013) Arlesey & Stotfold Local Area Transport Plan

[99] Ibid.

[100] Draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan (2017)

[103] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[105] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[106] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[107] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[108] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[109] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[110] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[111] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[112] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[113] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[114] Ibid.

[115] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[116] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[117] Ibid.

[118] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2017)

[119] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[120] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[122] Defra (2020) Magic Map

[123] Natural England (2015) East Anglian Chalk National Character Area Profile

[124] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[125] Ibid.

[126] Aspect Landscape Planning (August 2017) Land East of Arlesey: Landscape and Visual Appraisal

[127] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[128] Ibid.

[129] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[130] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[132] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[134] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[135] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[136] Environment Agency (2016) Flood Map for Planning

[137] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[138] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[139] Ibid.

[140] Ibid.

[141] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[142] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[143] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[144] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[145] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[146] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[147] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[148] Peter Brett Associates on behalf of UK Regeneration (August 2017) Land East of Biggleswade Initial Transport Strategy

[151] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[152] Google Maps estimated drive time from London Road to Biggleswade Station

[153] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[154] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[155] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[156] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[157] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[158] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[159] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[160] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[161] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[162] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[163] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[164] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[165] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[166] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[167] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[168] Peter Brett Associates on behalf of UK Regeneration (August 2017) Land East of Biggleswade Initial Transport Strategy

[169] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[171] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[172] Google Maps estimated drive time from London Road to Biggleswade Station

[173] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[174] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[175] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[176] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[177] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[178] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[179] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[180] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[181] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[182] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[183] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[184] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[185] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[186] First symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[187] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[188] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[189] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[190] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[191] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[192] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[193] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[194] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[195] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[196] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[197] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[198] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[199] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[201] Google Maps

[202] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[203] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[204] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[205] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[206] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[207] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[208] Ibid.

[209] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[210] ibid

[211] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[212] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[213] Ibid.

[214] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[215] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[216] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October 2016)

[217] Ibid.

[218] Measured using Magic Map (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[219] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[220] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[221] Ibid.

[222] First symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[223] IMD 2019 Online at: http://dclgapps.communities.gov.uk/imd/iod_index.html

[224] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[225] https://www.bedscape.org.uk/BRMC/chalkarc/home.htm

[226] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[227] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[228] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/news/march/gov-funding-link-road.aspx

[229] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[230] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[231] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[232] Ibid.

[233] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[234] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[235] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[236] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[237] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[238] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[239] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[240] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[241] Ibid and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[242] Sundon Chalk Quarry Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1005586.pdf

[243] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[244] Ibid.

[245] Ibid.

[246] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[247] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[248] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[249] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[250] Ibid.

[251] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[252] Luton Borough Council (2020) Luton's Heritage: https://www.luton.gov.uk/Leisure_and_culture/Tourism/Pages/Luton's%20heritage.aspx

[253] http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/sites-listed-inat-risk-report-heritage-body/story-21699316-detail/story.htm

[254] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[255] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[256] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October 2016)

[257] Ibid.

[258] Measured using Magic Map (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[259] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[260] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[261] Ibid.

[262] First symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[263] IMD 2019 Online at: http://dclgapps.communities.gov.uk/imd/iod_index.html

[264] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[265] https://www.bedscape.org.uk/BRMC/chalkarc/home.htm

[266] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[267] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[268] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/news/march/gov-funding-link-road.aspx

[269] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[270] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[271] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[272] Ibid.

[273] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[274] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[275] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[276] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[277] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[278] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[279] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[280] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[281] Ibid and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[282] Sundon Chalk Quarry Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1005586.pdf

[283] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[284] Ibid.

[285] Ibid.

[286] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[287] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[288] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[289] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[290] Ibid.

[291] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[292] Luton Borough Council (2020) Luton's Heritage: https://www.luton.gov.uk/Leisure_and_culture/Tourism/Pages/Luton's%20heritage.aspx

[293] http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/sites-listed-inat-risk-report-heritage-body/story-21699316-detail/story.htm

[294] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[295] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[296] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October 2016)

[297] Ibid.

[298] Measured using Magic Map (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[299] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[300] Measured using Google Maps (2020) and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[301] Ibid.

[302] First symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[303] IMD 2019 Online at: http://dclgapps.communities.gov.uk/imd/iod_index.html

[304] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[305] https://www.bedscape.org.uk/BRMC/chalkarc/home.htm

[306] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[307] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[308] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/news/march/gov-funding-link-road.aspx

[309] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[310] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[311] Measured using Google Maps (2020)

[312] Ibid.

[313] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[314] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[315] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[316] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[317] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[318] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[319] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[320] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[321] Ibid and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[322] Sundon Chalk Quarry Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1005586.pdf

[323] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[324] Ibid.

[325] Ibid.

[326] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[327] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[328] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[329] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[330] Ibid.

[331] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[332] Luton Borough Council (2020) Luton's Heritage: https://www.luton.gov.uk/Leisure_and_culture/Tourism/Pages/Luton's%20heritage.aspx

[333] http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/sites-listed-inat-risk-report-heritage-body/story-21699316-detail/story.htm

[334] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[335] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[336] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October, 2016)

[337] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[338] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[340] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[342] Google Maps

[343] http://www.busway.net/

[344] Google Maps estimated drive time from Hatters Way (existing road in the north of the growth location) to Luton Station

[345] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[346] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[347] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[348] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[349] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[350] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[351] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[352] Blow's Down SSSI Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1005495.pdf

[353] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[354] Ibid.

[355] Ibid.

[356] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[357] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[358] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[359] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[360] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[361] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[362] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[363] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October, 2016)

[364] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[365] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[367] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[369] Google Maps

[370] http://www.busway.net/

[371] Google Maps estimated drive time from Hatters Way (existing road in the north of the growth location) to Luton Station

[372] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[373] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[374] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[375] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[376] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[377] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[378] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[379] Blow's Down SSSI Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1005495.pdf

[380] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[381] Ibid.

[382] Ibid.

[383] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[384] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[385] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[386] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[387] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[388] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[389] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[390] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October, 2016)

[391] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[392] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[394] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[396] Google Maps

[397] http://www.busway.net/

[398] Google Maps estimated drive time from Hatters Way (existing road in the north of the growth location) to Luton Station

[399] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[400] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[401] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[402] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[403] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[404] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[405] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[406] Blow's Down SSSI Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2020] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1005495.pdf

[407] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[408] Ibid.

[409] Ibid.

[410] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[411] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[412] The Ecology Partnership (2017) Preliminary Ecology Appraisal: West of Luton, Bedfordshire

[413] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[414] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[415] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[416] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[417] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[418] Google Maps (2020)

[419] first symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

[420] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[421] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[422] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[423] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[424] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

[425] Catesby Property Group- Marston Thrift Vision Document

[426] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[427] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[428] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[429] Environment Agency (2016) Flood Map for Planning

[430] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[431] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[432] Blow's Down SSSI Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2016] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1005495.pdf

[433] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[434] ibid

[435] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[436] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[437] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[438] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[439] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[440] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[441] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[442] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

[443] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[444] Google Maps (2020)

[445] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[446] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[447] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[448] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[449] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[450] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[451] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[453] Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows Citation (1998) [Online: 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1000638.pdf

[454] Cooper's Hill Citation (1998) [Online: 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1000484.pdf

[455] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[456] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[457] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[459] http://www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk/the-waterway/route/

[460] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[461] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[462] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[464] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[465] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[466]Savills on behalf of Mr Jonathan Pym (2017) Representations in response to the First Draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan 2015-2035

[467] https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/27/about_your_council/180/statistics_and_census_information/3

[468] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[469] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[470] Aecom (2017) 1B Growth Area Analysis

[472] Google Maps

[474] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[475] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[476] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[477] DEFRA (2020) Flood map for planning

[478] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[479] Ibid.

[480] Weaveley & Sand Wood Citation (1983) [Online 2016] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1003181.pdf

[481] DEFRA (2016) Magic Map Application

[483] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[484] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[485] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[486] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[487] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[488] Deprivation Statistics and census information [online] https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/27/about_your_council/180/statistics_and_census_information/3

[489] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[490] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[491] Aecom (2017) 1B Growth Area Analysis

[493] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[494] Google Maps and Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers.

[495] Google Maps

[496] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

[497] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[498] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[499] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[500] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[501] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[502] Ibid.

[503] Weaveley & Sand Wood Citation (1983) [Online 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1003181.pdf

[504] DEFRA (2016) Magic Map Application

[505] Gamlingay Wood Citation (1983) [Online 2020] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1001138.pdf

[506] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[507] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Landscape Character Areas (2015)

[508] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[510] Cotswold Archaeology for GVA (2017) Land at Tempsford Central Bedfordshire- Draft Heritage Appraisal

[511] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

[512] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[514] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[516] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[517] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[518] JBA Consulting on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council (2018) Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan (2015 - 2035) Water Cycle Study Stage 2 Final Report

[519] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[520] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[521] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[522] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[523] Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows Citation (1998) [Online: 2016] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1000638.pdf

[524] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[525] Ibid.

[526] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[527] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[528] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

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