The Central Bedfordshire Local Plan Review commenced in January 2022.

An update report to the Councils Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September 2023 highlighted the following changes since the adoption of the current Local Plan:

  • Updates to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), including the introduction of First Homes;
  • The Environment Act 2021 was introduced in November 2021, including new mandatory requirements for Biodiversity Net Gain, amongst other things;
  • New Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill published in May 2022;
  • New guidance and requirements published for Design Guides and Design Codes;
  • New policy on the proposed National Development Management Policies is expected be published and consulted upon after summer 2023; and
  • A route announcement for East West Rail (EWR), as well as further timescales for the Development Consent Order (DCO) process.

The Council considers that to progress with a Partial Review under the existing legislation, which would require the submission of an updated plan for Examination by June 2025, is not a realistic option.

Therefore, the Council has now agreed a revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) to undertake a Full Local Plan Review under the new emerging legislation.  The LDS sets out the high-level timeframe for the development of an updated Local Plan, including the ongoing stages of plan-making and when they are likely to occur, as follows:

  • Informal/non-statutory engagement and evidence review:  September 2023 – February 2024.
  • Early public and stakeholder engagement – Issues and Options: April 2024 – July 2024.
  • Non-statutory consultation on methodologies for site assessment and other technical evidence: September 2024 – October 2024
  • Public and stakeholder engagement – Draft Local Plan Formal Consultation (Regulation 18): February 2026 – April 2026.
  • Publication of the proposed submission (Pre-Submission) plan for representations (Regulation 19): September 2027 – October 2027.
  • Submission of Plan to Secretary of State for Examination (Reg 22): February 2028
  • Examination Period: March 2028 – August 2028.
  • Inspector’s Report: September 2028
  • Adoption: December 2028

For the purposes of decision making, the adopted Local Plan will remain relevant until a new Local Plan is adopted.

If you would like to know more about the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan Review please contact us now for further advice.