Central Bedfordshire Council is holding Community Planning workshop events in Houghton Regis on 9 March and Studham on 22 March.
The events are a chance for residents, local businesses and councillors to have a say on their priorities for the local area. The first event, at Bedford Square, covers Dunstable and Houghton Regis, while the second event, at Studham Village Hall, covers Eaton Bray, Hyde, Kensworth, Stanbridge, Billington, Tilsworth, Totternhoe, Slip End, Caddington, Whipsnade and Studham.
The events (both 2:30-7:30pm) will aim to engage residents on how to plan for sustainable growth, local infrastructure (open spaces, education provision, transport links, health provision etc) and new homes.
A Community Plan report will be produced, which will first inform the Council’s emerging Local Plan, in terms of shaping sustainable growth up to 2035. But it will also have wider implications and will be used as a tool to have ongoing engagement, such as informing decisions about future planning applications and what conditions the Council might put in place around certain developments.
While the Council has temporarily paused its Local Plan process, pending the publication of a Government Housing White Paper, early this year, the Community Planning events continue as scheduled. Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Our vision is that, by producing a Community Plan for these areas, the information collected will extend beyond the Local Plan process and will be updated as some areas develop and grow and therefore their needs and issues change. The aim, therefore, is that the events are the first step in an ongoing dialogue with the community themselves.
“Some communities may also choose to take their Community Plan as the start of developing a Neighbourhood Plan. In these cases, the community themselves will very much start to take ownership of the plan and therefore more control over shaping where they live.”