Woburn Abbey has been the family home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years.

Planning in Bedfordshire is administered by three unitary authorities: Borough of Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Borough of Luton, after Bedfordshire County Council was abolished in 2009.

The current Strategic Planning position in Bedfordshire is as follows:

Bedford Borough

The Local Plan 2030 was adopted in January 2020 and sets out how much growth there should be in the borough (housing, jobs and associated infrastructure) up to 2030 and where it should take place. In some settlements the Council is now looking to Neighbourhood Plans to allocate housing sites, generally in and around the defined Settlement Policy Area boundaries.

The Bedford Borough Allocations and Designations Local Plan was adopted in July 2013 and covers the period until 2021.  The Plan identifies sites for development to meet the Council’s needs to 2021.

A number of other supplementary documents form the basis for decision making when planning applications are submitted to the council. A full list can be viewed here.

The draft Bedford Borough Local Plan 2040 was submitted to the Secretary of State in January 2023. Following the completion of Examination Hearings in September the Inspectors Post Hearing Letter has raised fundamental concerns about the soundness of the plan. The Council has written to the Inspector with an update to their initial response. The Inspector has now agreed to a Full Pause to allow the Council to undertake further studies. Further information can be found on the Council’s webpages.

Central Bedfordshire 

The Central Bedfordshire Local Plan 2015 to 2035 was formally adopted in July 2021. The adopted Local Plan is available on the Council’s website and carries full weight in the determination of planning applications.

The review of the adopted Local Plan has been completed and on the 23 November 2023, Central Bedfordshire Council approved the Local Development Scheme (LDS) which includes a timetable for preparation of a new Local Plan. Informal public engagement will begin in April 2024 with an introductory event to launch the LP process. Non-statutory consultation on methodologies for site assessment and other technical evidence is programmed for September 2024 – October 2024.  This will include a Call for Sites.

Luton Borough 

The adopted Luton Local Plan (2011-31) is the strategic document setting out the vision, objectives and spatial planning strategy for the whole of Luton Borough Council’s area for the period up to 2031.  More details can be viewed here.

The council is in the very early stages of the Local Plan Review.  Their website page will be updated as the Plan progresses.

Neighbourhood Plans

There are also a number of made Neighbourhood Plans in Bedfordshire.  These form an integral part of the statutory development plan and significant weight is attached to their policies in the determination of planning applications.

For further advice or to find out how your property fits into this framework for planning in Bedfordshire please contact us.