Central Bedfordshire says power scheme will unlock potential for new homes and allow for increasing demand

Biggleswade railway station

Source: Shutterstock

Central Bedfordshire council is to spend £40m of cash it received from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) on a new “supergrid” which it claims is a UK first and will boost the supply of power across the region.

The council was one of five recipients of an HIF grant totalling £600m, announced yesterday by the chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid, designed to boost infrastructure projects and unlock the potential to build thousands of new homes.

Central Bedfordshire received £69.6m and said it would be spending more than half (57%) of the new funding on the 240kW grid, which would upgrade the power capacity for local communities and support planned housebuilding activity which aimed to deliver 3,000 new homes, east of Biggleswade.

The rest of the grant would fund a new secondary school, plus a new transport interchange at Biggleswade’s railway station (pictured).

Jason Longhurst, the council’s regeneration director, said there was currently only enough power supply for 400 more new homes, “let alone the 3,000 planned for the area, or for employment growth.

“Ours is part of a national picture but we have taken an extremely serious strategic approach that focuses on sustainable growth and will be delivering a model that is the first of its kind in the UK.”

The council said the new supergrid would initially boost power capacity by an additional 80MW, which it said would cater for residential and employment growth.

The balance of 160MW would be available for demand increases from new housing, employment, electric vehicles and technology in the future, Longhurst said.