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Local update
28 May 2024

With a general election around the corner, there is an unusual amount of activity in the area on large scale infrastructure and progress being made on Local Plans, which is briefly summarised below.

  • Universal Studios – Bedford

In late 2023, Universal Studios announced that they are looking to develop their first European theme park at Stewartby in Bedfordshire, next to the A421. They have the area under their control, largely through the purchase of the freehold of almost 700 acres. This will create between 8,000 to 10,000 jobs. This scheme, which has support both in local and national government, is reliant on the building of the Wixams train station and a new train station for the East West Rail line, together with major upgrade work to the A421. With a combination of infrastructure and jobs, it will provide significant investment in the area and will affect clients far wider than just those in the immediate vicinity. Universal Studios are consulting locally and works could start as early as 2025.

  • East West Rail

With work coming to an end on the Bicester to Bletchley stretch, some clients have been surprised to receive survey requests from East West Rail Limited. This is in respect of a next phase of the work from Bletchley through to Bedford where there seems to be some need to do surveys on the earlier phase.

For those affected by the new route from Bedford to Cambridge, you will be aware of the proposed route, with a consultation due by the end of June on the detailed alignment. It appears that the land take will be very significant for this new line, partly in relation to biodiversity offsetting and also for long-term maintenance of the railway.

  • Bedford Borough Council Local Plan

The 2040 Bedford Borough Council Local Plan is currently on hold until January 2025 whilst the Council undertakes further survey work with National Highways in respect of work required to the A421.

  • Milton Keynes Local Plan

The new Milton Keynes Local Plan, for the period through to 2050, is progressing with a first draft due to be published in the next few weeks. However, the areas proposed for allocation of development have been widely circulated through parish councils, giving an indication of the Council’s thinking on the direction of development.

  • West Northamptonshire Local Plan

The West Northamptonshire Local Plan regulation draft plan is currently out to consultation until 2nd June 2024. Development has mainly been focused on the larger settlements within the Council area.

  • Buckinghamshire Local Plan

When the Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority was formed in April 2020, there was commitment to making a new Local Plan by 2025. This target is going to be missed, with a consultation on strategic growth expected later this summer as a step towards allocating land.

If you require any further information on any of the above and the effect that it may have on your land, then please contact Andrew.

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