Fewer houses and more landscaping as Leighton Buzzard company revises plans to redevelop its site

Pledge Office Chairs wants to relocate to increase production

By Steve Sims
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 3:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2022, 3:59 pm

Leighton Buzzard-based office furniture manufacturer, Pledge Office Chairs, has today started public consultation about its plans to redevelop its current Mill Road manufacturing site for housing and to relocate to a new purpose-built manufacturing facility near the town.

Local residents, councillors and other stakeholders are invited to share their views on the Mill Road company’s plans before the April 21 deadline.

Pledge says it has been looking to relocate its manufacturing operations to another site near Leighton Buzzard for a number of years. It says it needs to move to enable them to increase production, and manufacturing efficiencies, by having all aspects of planning, manufacturing, dispatch, and administration in one modern, custom-built facility. The company believes that a more intensive manufacturing facility would not be appropriate on its current site, which is in a residential location.

Pledge Office Chairs

The move will secure jobs for current staff and allow Pledge to create new jobs, potentially setting up a second shift. The company is looking to pay for the move by redeveloping its existing site for new homes.

Pledge consulted on an original planning application last year as reported here, and, following that feedback, has now developed new proposals. As a result, the number of homes has been reduced from the original 146 to 92, while the landscaping has been increased.

A traffic assessment for the new proposals, which will be submitted as part of a new application for outline planning permission, has shown that the maximum traffic activities would be an additional two-way flow of 22 vehicles in the morning peak flow hour, and 36 in the evening peak flow hour, i.e. less than one additional vehicle per minute at the busiest times. Overall, the revised plan will generate less traffic than the previous housing proposals, and the relocation would still remove the current 60-70 lorry movements per day.

The company first discussed its original proposal with Central Bedfordshire officers and councillors in 2019 and has since taken on board several suggested improvements and developed this revised proposal. It says the most significant changes are the reduced number of proposed homes and a significant increase in landscaping to extend green buffering around the outside of the site. The revised proposal now comprises 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 51 two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and 5 two-bedroom bungalows.

No site for the new manufacturing facility has been agreed yet, as the company wants to secure planning approval for the redevelopment of its existing site, as money made from the sale of the Mill Road site would pay for the relocation and new premises.

Members of the public can find out more about Pledge Office Chairs’ new proposals by visiting the company’s online consultation website at www.publicconsultation.online/projects/pledge-office-chairs and share their views on the proposals for inclusion in the consultation report by: completing a feedback form on the website, or sending an email to [email protected], or sending a letter to Pledge Office Chairs Public Consultation, Town Planning Services, The Exchange, Colworth Park, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, MK44 1LZ, or telephoning 0800 044 8103.