Central Bedfordshire Council will spend £40m of a £70m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant on a ‘groundbreaking’ 240MW supergrid electricity network.
The network will help upgrade the power capacity for the local community and support the planned housing growth of 3,000 new homes to the east of Biggleswade, which has been selected as a new ‘garden village’ by the government.
As other energy sources become too expensive, or too low in capacity, developers will also have the opportunity to buy from Central Bedfordshire Council, who in turn will reinvest back into local services and infrastructure.
The council believes the model can be used and developed nationally, not only recovering initial public sector investment but subsequently providing an income stream.
The fund will also be used to build a new secondary school, a transport interchange at the train station and a replacement bridleway bridge to the north of the town.
Central Bedfordshire has developed its supergrid model with UK Power Networks and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
They say it’s necessary due to the existing outdated power infrastructure and will unlock significant growth and meet consumers’ changing demands.
Jason Longhurst, director of regeneration and business for Central Bedfordshire Council said, ‘Central Bedfordshire is a high housing demand area with 20,000 new homes planned over the next 20 years in addition to the 23,000 homes that are already allocated or have planning permission.
‘Before we can deliver the housing, we must ensure we have the right schools, health services and transport links, all of which rely on a robust, future-proofed power supply.
‘We have commercial developers who tell us that, so good is their location close to the A1/M1 they could sell employment land five times over, if only they had greater power capacity.
‘And the government is talking about making it mandatory for all new homes to have one electric vehicle charging point, in the not too distant future. Hence we are thinking strategically, sustainably and holistically.’
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