Fears growing in town over ‘explosion’ in population
LEIGHTON residents fear an explosion in the town’s population if the huge house building plans go ahead, threatening the future of the historic market town.
Concerns were raised at the Leighton Buzzard Society meeting on Thursday at The Gables, Linslade, where council leaders attended to discuss the impact of the new Central Beds Development Strategy.
There is currently a projected 4,000 houses planning to be built in the east of the town, which is likely to bring in an estimated 10,000 extra people.
The Society, which has around 200 members, works to promote a better built environment by discouraging extensive growth and campaigning for the protection of open spaces.
Chairman of the Society, John Hartley, gave a presentation explaining an overview of the housing plans, intending to brief members on the situation.
He was joined by Town Council leader Councillor Dave Bowater, who is also a member of Central Beds Council, who answered questions raised at the meeting.
John said: “People understand houses need to be built, but it is whether the town can absorb this amount of building, so they are deeply concerned about the degree of expansion.
“We are seeking solutions as we do not want to be negative, but if we are going to grow as a town we fear this could lead to problems for the town centre.
“The amount of congestion that the extra people and cars will create could make people go elsewhere rather than our town centre.”
“This means there could be fewer opportunities of employment rather than more because people moving into Leighton Buzzard may be commuting to Luton, Milton Keynes or London.”
The Society is in the process of drawing an opinion together to respond to the plans and John is encouraging everyone to get in touch individually, so that Central Beds take notice of the analysis.
Tony Birch, the Society’s planning expert, who was also present at the meeting, said: “People are concerned about the potential explosion in the population in the east of Leighton Buzzard and at first light it looks like it will have a great impact on our way of life.
“The meeting was a very useful exercise and of great value for the Society to show their support and to help with decision making.
”People will now be able to formulate their ideas on the Central Beds development strategy.”
The closing date for responses to the strategy is August 8.
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
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Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west