Central Bedfordshire Draft Local Plan (July 2017)
10.1.1 To help inform where new development should take place, it is helpful to set out a hierarchy of settlements. The hierarchy takes account of local sustainability credentials such as access to a variety of services and facilities (including schools, shops and public transport links) and is based on existing provision.
10.1.2 The hierarchy, set out on the following page helps to provide a framework for considering the levels of new development to be directed through the Development Management process. It will also help to set the context for decisions on individual planning applications, and should be read in conjunction with Policy SP6: Development within Settlement Envelopes.
10.1.3 There are four tiers included in the Settlement Hierarchy - Major Service Centres, Minor Service Centres, Large Villages, and Small Villages. The requirements for these tiers are set out in Policy SP6. A number of settlements within the hierarchy lie within the South Bedfordshire Green Belt. Settlements that are categorised within the hierarchy as being Major and Minor Service Centres or Large Villages have all been inset from the Green Belt where appropriate. The exceptions to this are Woburn and Aspley Guise which are washed over by the Green Belt and have defined infill only boundaries. A number of settlements that are categorised as being Small Villages have infill boundaries wherein some very limited development maybe acceptable.
Major Service Centres
Major service centres provide a focus for employment, shopping and community facilities for the local community and surrounding rural communities.
Minor Service Centres
Minor service centres are large villages or small towns with a good level of services, possibly including a school, doctor's surgery, a basic retail offer and frequent public transport links.
Barton le Clay*
Aspley Guise** (GB)
Clophill (including Hall End Maulden)
Eaton Bray* (GB)
Flitton, Greenfield and Wardhedges
Heath & Reach* (GB)
Slip End* (GB)
Aspley Heath** (GB)
Chalton (nr.Toddington) ** (GB)
East Hyde (GB)
Haynes (main village)
Husborne Crawley (GB)
Milton Bryan (GB)
Tempsford (Church End)
Upper Sundon (GB)
Wharley End, Cranfield
Settlements not identified within the hierarchy are, due to their small size and rural character, considered to be part of the countryside.
• Settlements followed by (GB) are settlements which are washed over by the Green Belt
• * Settlements that are inset from the Green Belt
• ** Settlements that are washed over by the Green Belt and have infill only boundaries
10.2.1 To define the boundaries between settlements and surrounding countryside, where appropriate the Council will define Settlement Envelopes. Settlement Envelopes provide a distinction between the settlements and the open countryside, and in so doing enable the clear, unambiguous and consistent application of policies in the management of development within and outside settlements. It also encourages the efficient use of land within our towns and villages, including the re-use of previously developed land.
10.2.2 It is not the purpose of Settlement Envelopes to identify land for development, this will be achieved via the allocation of sites in this Local Plan, nor are they an attempt to define the extent of a particular town or village community. Thus the Envelopes are unrelated to the administrative boundaries of town and parish, which serve this particular function.
10.2.3 To inform this work the Council is currently undertaking a review of its existing Settlement Envelopes to ensure that they reflect current uses on the ground. They were last updated for the Core Strategy and it is therefore recognized that a large number of changes will need to be made. The updated Settlement Envelopes will be illustrated on the Proposals Map that will accompany the pre-submission version of the Plan.
10.2.4 In some instances, where there is ambiguity in defining that boundary, the Envelope will be used to reflect the character of the predominant land use, using the most appropriate and clear physical features on the ground. That land use must be settlement related, for example residential development, domestic gardens, playing fields and community facilities; and not related to agriculture or considered to be part of the countryside.
Policy SP6: Development within Settlement Envelopes
Settlement Envelopes provide a distinction between settlements and the countryside.
Within the Settlement Envelopes of both Major and Minor Service Centres, the Council will support in principle housing, employment and other settlement related development proportionate to the scale of the settlement, taking account of its role as a local service centre.
Within Settlement Envelopes of Large Villages, small-scale housing and employment uses, together with new retail, service, and community facilities to serve the village and its catchment will be supported in principle.
Within Settlement Envelopes of Small Villages, development will be limited to infill development, small-scale employment uses, and community facilities.
Where an identified need exists for further community facilities (such as education, health, sports and recreation uses or mixed community.) and there is no land is available within the settlement, a site adjacent to the settlement may be granted planning permission. Such development should make the best use of available land and lead to more sustainable communities.