It’s consultations galore at the moment. The city council is presently carrying out an ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on Bailrigg Garden Village, including several drop-in events during June. For details, go to:

The first drop-in session was on Wednesday 6 June in the Bowland Suite at the Lancaster House Hotel, so subtext dropped in to take a look. The room was busy, with over 20 people poring over the maps, diagrams and artists’ impressions.

At the moment, Bailrigg Garden Village is just a shaded area on a map, the ‘Bailrigg Garden Village Broad Area of Growth’. It’s bigger than you might imagine – north to south it goes from Collingham Park to the outskirts of Galgate, while from west to east it includes the canal, the railway line, the A6, campus, the M6, Forrest Hills and a large part of the Conder Valley. Council officers were keen to stress that much of the land in the shaded area will not be developed but instead ‘retained as existing’ or designated as ‘Village Greenspace’ – how much development, and where, is the main subject of the consultation. An initial meeting with local landowners – subtext was told there were between 60 and 80 with ‘land interests’ in the area – took place this week.

Three ‘spatial options’ have been worked out, and all of them situate the majority of Garden Village development in Burrow Heights, to the west of the railway line. The village centre is likely to be close to Burrow Road. None of the options envisage any residential development east of the M6, due to the risk of flooding in the River Conder catchment area, and there’s not much scope for significant university development there either. Despite the name, the existing Bailrigg village looks like surviving largely intact.

The three options are the ‘concentrated village’ (Burrow Heights, basically), the ‘dispersed village’ (Burrow Heights plus most of the land north of Burrow Heights and Bailrigg, not including the land either side of Burrow Beck which would be left as ‘greenspace’) and the ‘concentrated village with possible site extensions’ (covering the same area as the ‘dispersed village’, but only Burrow Heights would be developed in Garden Village style, the rest being earmarked for regular residential development). The first option scores highest for all the policy objectives, except (predictably) meeting our future housing needs.

How many dwellings are we talking about? The likely density is between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare. According to a table on housing supply shown to subtext, the planners currently forecast Garden Village construction to start in 2021/22, with 205 houses built between then and 2023/24, a further 700 built between 2024/25 and 2028/29, and a further 750 built between 2029/30 and 2033/34.

What about transport links, then? There will hopefully be funding to reconfigure Junction 33 of the M6, although no plans for this were on display at all, except for an ‘illustrative transport sketch’ showing a pair of red arrows pointing to where Hazelrigg Lane currently passes under the M6 at the southern end of campus. Despite many calls for ‘Bailrigg Halt’ railway station, this seems highly unlikely to happen. Instead, we get ‘Bus Rapid Transport’ (more buses, in other words, although probably more bus lanes as well) and a ‘Cycle Superhighway’ between Bailrigg and the city centre.

Our verdict? subtext was cautiously impressed, although if we lived in Burrow Heights we might be a little more sceptical! Readers are encouraged to attend a drop-in session (six more are planned), question the officers, and respond to the consultation. The deadline for responses is 11 July 2018.

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