Today, 30 September 2014, the Woodside Link Houghton Regis scheme has been granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Transport.
The Woodside Link is a new road intended to provide a more direct route for traffic between the primary road network (the M1 motorway and the A5) and the Woodside area of Dunstable / Houghton Regis, a major employment area in Bedfordshire. The Highways Agency is currently promoting a northern link road (the A5-M1 Link) between the A5 (north of its junction with the A505) and the M1, at a new junction (which will become Junction 11A) between the existing junctions 11 and 12. The Woodside Link scheme would run from this new junction into the Woodside area.
The decision announced today follows an examination process by the Planning Inspectorate, which was completed within the statutory timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011).
The application was submitted by Central Bedfordshire Council for consideration on 14 May 2013 and was accepted for examination on 11 June 2013.
Following the examination, where interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State for Transport on 4 July 2014.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Simon Ridley, said:
“The examination of the application was completed within the timescales prescribed in the Planning Act and a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Transport. Today’s decision supports that recommendation.”
“The Planning Inspectorate has the responsibility to examine Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) within timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008. This provides developers and investors with the confidence to build and improve the infrastructure this country needs to secure future economic growth. Since being given that responsibility the Planning Inspectorate has examined over 25 major projects within those timescales. This is the tenth transport NSIP to be given consent and the fourth road scheme.”
“A major priority for us over the course of the examination was to ensure that communities who might be affected by this proposal had the opportunity to put forward their views. As always, the Examining Authority gave careful consideration to these before reaching its conclusion.”
Documentation, including the decision, the recommendation made to the Secretary of State and the evidence considered by the Examining Authority in reaching its decision, is publicly available on the National Infrastructure Planning website.
Journalists wanting further information should contact the Planning Inspectorate Press Office, on: 0303 444 5004 or 0303 444 5005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
From April 2012, the relevant Secretary of State became the decision maker on all national infrastructure applications for development consent. At the end of the examination of an application, which will still be completed within a maximum of six months, the Planning Inspectorate will have three months to make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State who will then have a further three months to reach their decision.