Town reacts as large scale housing developments are approved

The current view from Helen O'Connell's home will be transformed into a housing estate
The current view from Helen O'Connell's home will be transformed into a housing estate

The approval of plans for up to 1,220 homes in east Leighton has provoked an angry reaction from residents fearful for the town’s future.

Last Monday’s meeting of Central Beds Council’s planning committee at Astral Park attracted more than 50 attendees, many of whom voiced their displeasure after two applications for large scale housing developments were approved.

Leighton-based developer Arnold White Estates Ltd will now commence work to build 950 homes on Chamberlains Barn Quarry and another 270 on The Stearn, as well as a link road from Heath Road to Vandyke Road.

One resident to voice concerns over the plan is Helen O’Connell, whose Blenheim Road home currently looks out over deer who graze in the land beyond her back fence.

Once construction is completed the picturesque landscape will be transformed into a housing estate.

Mrs O’Connell, 37, told LBO that the development was not flagged up before her family moved into the home last May.

She said: “Our solicitor did all of the relevant local authority searches but the planning application did not show up.

“We’ve taken legal advice as Central Beds should have declared it.

“It is lovely where we are at the moment but this will completely change the outlook, it will go up to our back fence.”

Howard Clark, 43, of Windermere Gardens added his doubts over Central Beds’ vision for Leighton.

He said: “I don’t think anyone is against new homes but there is a point at which it becomes unsustainable as a market town.

“There has to be a vision which will create an economical balance.

“I have real concerns about the future of the town.”

In a letter to the LBO, town and Central Beds councillor Amanda Dodwell appealed directly to the developer.

She said: “I understand they have expressed shock and dismay at the resistance shown by the town’s residents and councillors to this latest proposal.

“Seriously? Do they really expect us to welcome this with open arms?

“If they have any regard for the people of Leighton Linslade they should reflect on the damage they are causing.”