Policy ARL13: Provision of Community Facilities

The Policy

Where the need is identified, new development must provide appropriate new facilities and infrastructure, onsite and fund or directly deliver offsite facilities as required by Policy 19 of the draft Central Bedfordshire Council Core Strategy. Development should be phased in tandem with the timely provision of infrastructure to help support sustainable growth.

The Background

The Arlesey Cross Masterplan, as part of the new centre proposed, includes provision for a ‘community building’. The nature of the building is not described and applicants are strongly encouraged to engage with community groups to determine what this will be in practice.

Communities with a Neighbourhood Plan will receive 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) raised in the area. This is a new charge that Local Authorities can levy on new developments in their area. The charges are set by the local council and are based upon the size and type of development. The money raised from development in Arlesey might, for example, be spent on updating the village hall, improving the Resource Centre, improving the recreational ground or leisure facilities, or any other local community improvement. CBC are, at the date of publication, consulting on the proposed CIL Charging Schedule. The Town Council will, however, use the CIL contribution generated by new homes in Arlesey to improve the village facilities. In the absence of CIL, the Town Council will seek developer contributions for nominated projects by agreement with CBC and developers.

The Neighbourhood Plan engagement process revealed concern about the extent to which the Gothic Mede Lower School might cope with the projected rise in population. The Arlesey Cross Masterplan engagement process also revealed this and as a result the Masterplan includes the following statement:

“A new ‘first’ school site will be provided in a central location on Area B (eastern land) as the existing Gothic Mede Lower School does not have the capacity to serve the proposed development as well as the existing housing in Arlesey. It has not been decided yet whether this new site would be a separate school to Gothic Mede, or allow for its expansion so that it is run on two sites (there is not enough room for it to expand on the existing site). The Board of Gothic Mede would be invited to bid for the right to manage the new school under the tender process. The new school site is on the main north-south pedestrian and cycle greenway providing a 500m walk to the existing school site. The school site is also co-located with sports pitches to benefit from potential dual use community uses.”

There is a strong view locally that the new school should be constructed on its own site rather than being an extension to an existing site.

Non-policy action

Applicants are strongly encouraged to comprehensively engage with the community in order to decide where the school can be best located and how they can be laid out to ensure ease of access by non-car modes of transport.