Local planning applications
The Planning Authority for the area is Central Bedfordshire Council, who decide on all applications for planning permission.
Biggleswade Town Council (BTC) is consulted on all planning applications in the Town area and provides comments to the Planning Authority. Members of the public can also comment and should forward their observations to the Planning Department at Central Bedfordshire Council.
The Planning Department can be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post: Planning Department, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ.
All planning applications can be viewed through the Central Bedfordshire Council Planning Portal. Every planning application has a reference number which will need to be quoted on all correspondence.
Current planning applications are considered at Town Council meetings and are listed on the agenda for each meeting. Council agendas can be accessed here.
The local plan
Central Bedfordshire Council is developing a local plan for the area covered by the authority. The local plan sets out how Central Bedfordshire will develop over the next 20 years. More information on the local plan is available here.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan allows a community to play a more prominent role in its future, giving it the power to create a shared vision and policies that will shape the development and growth of the area.
The Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted, will sit alongside the Local Plan prepared by Central Bedfordshire Council. The policies contained within the Neighbourhood Plan will then be used to decide on future planning applications for Biggleswade. An adopted Neighbourhood Plan carries significant weight in determining future planning applications.
If you would like to be involved in the creation of our Neighbourhood Plan please look out for the current Public Engagement to 3rd May and a more formal consultation in the summer.
For further information on Neighbourhood Plans please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/get-involved/take-part/make-a-neighbourhood-plan
Designation of Neighbourhood Area
The Town Council decided to prepare a Plan in January 2018 and Central Bedfordshire Council formally designated the plan area in July 2018. The Plan area is coterminus with the parish boundary (see map).
Initial Development of the Plan
A steering group was formed to progress the Plan. Regular meetings of the group determined that the Plan would not be all-encompassing but that it should address the following areas: Green Spaces, Design Guides, Leisure and Transport/Town Centre/Parking. An outline document was produced setting the wish for a Neighbourhood Plan in context, showing the areas which the plan would cover and ways in which the wider community would be involved. This was approved by Council in December 2018. (Click here for Council report)
A Vision for Biggleswade
The December 2018 Council meeting also agreed the following vision for the Plan:
Our vision for Biggleswade is that it should be a thriving, large market town with individual shops, services and leisure offer in the town centre, retail and business parks to the south of the town and plenty of green spaces to enjoy the open air.
September 2018 – A Transport and Highways Workshop was held in preparation for a possible future Housing Infrastructure Fund bid. Delegates included highways officers from Central Bedfordshire Council, Ringway Jacobs, UK Regeneration, Hallam Land Management and Biggleswade Town Council.
February 2019 – The long-term viability of the town centre is an issue that the Plan wishes to address. Bill Grimsey has written three reports for the Government about how high streets can flourish given the changes in town centres caused by online retail. In February 2019, he accepted an invitation to visit Biggleswade with some of his team. After a guided tour of Biggleswade and a walk around the Market Square and High Street, Bill Grimsey and the team fed some ideas back to councillors. Click here for details of visit
March 2019 – an initial round of public engagement was undertaken involving local publicity, 2 walk-in events and an online survey of community opinions and behaviour. (Survey results available by clicking here)
April 2019 – Urban Vision Enterprise CIC were commissioned to advise the Town Council and prepare the draft version of the Plan for consultation and submission.
June 2019 – The working group expanded to include representatives from the community; Central Bedfordshire Council and local commerce. It continued to meet on a regular fortnightly basis.
June/July 2019 – the Town Council submitted evidence to the Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan Examination in Public presenting the views of the Town Council on the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. (Please click on the following to view the documents: Examination 1, Examination 2, Examination 3). The sites to be included in the CBC Local Plan are shown on the Committed Development map – see below
July 2019 – Designation of Garden Community Status for Village East of Biggleswade. The Government awarded funding of £150,000 towards the planning and design of a Garden Village for the proposed 1,500 housing units east of Baden Powell Way. The project board which has been established is chaired by Homes England, who are overseeing all the Garden Community projects nationally.
August 2019 – Award of £70 million of HIF Infrastructure Funding by Government to support investment in four critical pieces of infrastructure in Biggleswade:
- Power reinforcement via a new Super Grid site;
- Education infrastructure to provide additional secondary school places;
- A bridleway bridge across the East Coast Main Line to allow the closure of Lindsells Level crosssing; and
- A transport interchange at Biggleswade Station.
February 2020 – public engagement on the review of the Green Infrastructure Plan and identifying green spaces which are important to residents. The revised Green Infrastructure Plan will recommend green spaces which meet the criterion to be designated as Local Green Spaces in the Neighbourhood Plan and, therefore, protected.
December 2020 – the Town Council submitted further evidence on the Local Plan to the re-opened Examination in Public of the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan. The specific focus of this was employment land. (click here to view Hearing Statement)
January 2021 – The Inspectors wrote to Central Bedfordshire Council requesting some modifications.
March 2021 – Central Bedfordshire Council have published a set of Main Modifications to the Local Plan which are out to consultation until 5th May. The final report of the Inspectors to this plan is awaited and CBC hope that the Plan will come into being in early autumn.
April 2021 – One of the Design Codes which will form part of the Neighbourhood Plan is to influence the development of the Conservation Area in the town centre. In parallel with the Plan, an application for an Article 4 Direction is also being considered to protect the Conservation Area from the new Permitted Development regulations.
April/May 2021 – Further public engagement on the themes of the Neighbourhood Plan via an online survey.
Various maps have been produced to highlight different aspects of the developing Plan and are available below:
- Biggleswade Town Centre
- Biggleswade Car Parks
- Biggleswade Commercial Developments
- Biggleswade Conservation Area
- Biggleswade Committed Developments (CBC Map)
- Biggleswade Green Spaces 1
- Biggleswade Green Spaces 2
The Town Council has now introduced a Programme Team to support the Strategy Group, both of which are currently meeting bi-weekly.
The Project Plan for delivering the Neighbourhood Plan has been revised, following the effects of the pandemic, with a second stage public engagement currently being undertaken on the prospective content of the Plan and seeking community response to the emerging aims and policies.
The Town Council is underwriting the production of the Neighbourhood Plan but professional advice and technical assistance is being provided through Locality and funded by the Government.
It is currently envisaged that the pre-submission version of the Plan will then be prepared for a further round of formal consultation in the summer of 2021 with public examination at the beginning of 2022.