Roundabout for new housing development in Leighton Buzzard would be ‘madness’

Illustrative master plan, north Chamberlain's Barn
Illustrative master plan, north Chamberlain's Barn

Installing a roundabout on Shenley Hill Road to allow access to a new housing development has come under fire from Leighton Buzzard councillors, with one labelling it as “madness”.

Arnold White Estates already has permission for up to 950 properties at Chamberlain’s Barn and has now earmarked another piece of land for development which also lies within the former quarry.

North Chamberlain's Barn

North Chamberlain's Barn

Two applications have gone in to Central Beds Council for the North Chamberlain’s Barn site. The first for 253 homes, and the other for a link road which would connect to Shenley Hill Road and be an extension to the route of the Chamberlain’s Barn spine road, originating in Heath Road, which was given permission in 2015.

The chances of the outline permission for housing being granted have been boosted in recent weeks with the inclusion of the site in CBC’s Pre-Submission Local Plan which would confirm its exclusion from the Green Belt, on adoption of the Plan.

But the application site differs from the Pre-Submission Local Plan site as it follows “a more logical western boundary” running alongside Cotefield Drive, and hence up to 253 homes are proposed compared to CBC’s Plan suggestion of 175.

Cllr Clive Palmer, chairman of the town council’s planning and transport committee which met on Wednesday to discuss the applications, said the council would be telling CBC it objected to the road.

He said: “There has got to be a road through the development to allow access. But there is no reason why that road should link with Shenley Hill Road.

“It is a narrow road, it has peculiarities on it, a very steep right at the top, and access to the tip.”

But the committee didn’t oppose the housing.

He said: “The houses are within the development envelope so we felt we could not object to the housing, but we are making the point to CBC that there needs to be attention given to providing sufficient infrastructure from all these developments in the town. It’s a 16 hectare site and the density is not great, but it would contribute with the large proportion of affordable housing.”

Town and CBC councillor Ray Berry, speaking solely as a resident, said he had serious reservations about the proposed roundabout.

He said: “That junction is not suitable for taking traffic. To build the houses along Shenley Hill Road and put that roundabout in as well is madness.

“I have no objection to building the houses in a reasonable volume. I don’t like the application as it stands. If they were building the number quoted in the Local Plan, no problem.”