What is the SPD, and why is it important to the Forest of Marston Vale?

By Darren Woodward ǀ Forest Development Manager

You may have seen recently that Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council are consulting on a jointly prepared ‘Developing in the Forest of Marston Vale: Design Guidance’ document that will be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), and they’re looking for the input of local residents.

The SPD is a really important document for us and the delivery of the Forest of Marston Vale as one of England’s Community Forests.

Once adopted it will provide clear guidance on how developments within the Forest of Marston Vale area can meet the policy requirements set out within the Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Local Plans, which require all new development within the Community Forest area to deliver 30% tree canopy cover. It sets out guidance on how the Local Plan policies should be achieved in the Forest area, and provides specific guidance on the number of trees that are required for different types of development and options for the types of planting that will be acceptable. It also includes high-level built design guidance to ensure new developments contribute toward the emerging ‘forest’ character of the Forest area and considers the impact of climate change. It will provide continuity on planning decisions across both councils, and demonstrates the willingness of both authorities to collaborate, showing ‘joined up thinking’ that ensures the changing landscape and needs of the Forest – now and in the future - are reflected across both council areas within the designated Forest boundary.

The joint Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council consultation opened earlier this month and is open until Thursday 28 July 2022. The consultation document can be viewed online, or copies of the documents will be available to view at the Customer Service Centre and all Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire libraries during normal opening hours. Copies of the document are also available on request by contacting [email protected] or by calling 0300 300 8307.

Our goal

As an independent organisation our aim is to gain meaningful benefits for the Forest area through the planning system and encourage landowners, developers and local planning authorities to deliver Community Forest objectives and incorporate the principles of sustainability when considering further development, in line with the vision in our Forest Plan.

We encourage all residents and anyone who is interested in the future of the Forest of Marston Vale to read the consultation and submit their comments for consideration through the Central Bedfordshire Council’s planning consultation portal. Alternatively, responses may be sent by email to [email protected], or by post (please affix a stamp) to: Local Plans Team, Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ.

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