Town Council objects to Old Sorting Office Planning Application

The Town Council’s Planning Committee has tonight unanimously objected to the planning application to build on the site of the Old Sorting Office.

The meeting was attended by over 25 members of the public, packing the Town Council chamber. Five local residents spoke out against the proposal, including the landlord of The Black Lion pub.

The proposed development

The reasons for the objection included:

  • The proposed development is out of character in what is a conservation area – the proposed development is a modern design in an area consisting of grade 1 and 2 listed buildings and a 13th Century Church;
  • Although the parking standards were met, there was concern that in practice there would be insufficient parking (as residents would most likely have more than one vehicle), and there is no long term on-street parking available in Church Square;
  • No additional parking has been provided for the commercial part of the development;
  • Concern was expressed about increased traffic on Church Square and into Bridge Street;
  • Concern was expressed about the possibility of new residents complaining about noise from the already well established public houses, and this could put those businesses at risk. The noise assessment survey had been undertaken during the winter when the pub gardens are not used!
  • No affordable housing is included in the development, despite the Council having a 30% target – therefore, 5 properties should be social housing (the developers claim that to provide this level of social housing would make the site unviable .. boo-hoo !);
  • This site is part of the package of land earmarked for the development to the south of the High Street, and the Town Council want the site to be developed as a whole and not piecemeal.

The Council has asked that should the application be granted permission, there is a Deed of Easement included to stop new residents lodging complaints against noise generated from the two nearby pubs.

Sadly, I must stress this does not stop the application – the decision is for CBC to make. The Town Council’s comments will be passed to CBC as one of the consultees. I hope that CBC’s Development Management Committee will listen to the views of local residents.

This proposal is in the heart of our town – it will be very disappointing if Councillors from Biggleswade, Sandy, Dunstable and elsewhere ignore the sound objections of the Town Council and vote to impose this unsuitable development on us.

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