The development of Arlesey shall be focussed within the settlement boundary as identified in the Proposals Map. Development proposals will be supported within the physical limits boundary subject to compliance with other policies in the development plan. Development proposals outside the settlement boundary will not be permitted unless:
- they are in accordance with the Central Bedfordshire Core Strategy policies in respect of appropriate uses in the countryside; or
- they relate to necessary utilities infrastructure and where no reasonable alternative location is available.
Arlesey is unusual in that it has developed in a linear form over the centuries, which has led to difficulties in defining a clear ‘centre’ to the small town. It is important that future development is directed to appropriate locations to ensure that further sprawl is avoided. Development should not, for example, encroach unduly on the open countryside that surrounds it. The purpose of a settlement boundary is to help to provide that direction.
This policy establishes a key spatial priority for the ANP. It supports development proposals in the established settlement of the neighbourhood area (and especially previously developed land) in line with the principles of sustainable development as set out in the NPPF and development plan.
The effect of the policy is to confine housing and other development proposals to the established built up area boundaries of Arlesey, unless they are appropriate to a countryside location. Over many years Arlesey has experienced small-scale piecemeal redevelopment within its built up area which has not brought about the accompanying infrastructure and services to support this.
The large-scale strategic development set out in the Arlesey Cross Masterplan, comprising in excess of 1,000 new homes, has extended beyond the current settlement boundary as set out in the current Core Strategy. It will make both a major contribution to meeting the housing needs of the Borough and bring new amenities and services to the town. The scale of the development, however, further increases the importance of maintaining Arlesey’s distinctive character and identity and retaining its separation from nearby Stotfold and Fairfield, an important element stated in the existing Core Strategy.
The Neighbourhood Plan consultation identified support for Arlesey’s settlement boundary to be clearly defined and maintained in order to prevent uncontrolled development leading to Arlesey merging with other settlements and resulting in the loss of the town’s rural identity. The settlement boundary has been amended to include the Arlesey Cross development area including the land for sports pitches which partly fall on land outside of the allocation boundary but sit within CBC’s ownership and aim to provide an enhanced landscape edge to the town.