Plans for highly-desired visitors facilities at Tiddenfoot Waterside Park in Linslade are taking a step in the right direction as moves are made to commit funding to project.
Leighton-Linslade Town Council's partnership committee recently agreed that plans for a cafe and toilet facilities should be progressed after a feasibility study was commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council.
It showed toilets were highest on the wish list for users of the park, followed by the availability of tea, coffee and refreshments. Substantial numbers of those who provided a response supported breakfast or lunch provision at the park.
Following the April 2021 study, informal discussion has also taken place between Central Beds Council and the chairman of the Friends of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park and the principle of a visitor hub that would provide much-needed storage to support their activities is generally welcomed. This includes the need to provide a café option to generate revenue, making the offer more sustainable.
But the plans were then put on hold while Astral Park and Grovebury Quarry were also considered. Grovebury has since been discounted as it would be a private development and therefore not eligible for public funding.
Further reports show Tiddenfoot would be eligible for up to £1million of S106 funding.
The feasibility study indicates that there is a good catchment in the area, especially for a park café offer of good quality. The immediate proximity of schools is likely to provide opportunity for families local to the area. It is likely that an attractive café would become a popular social hub.
The unit is likely to be built by the current car park as sites nearer the water were discounted because of access and security issues and unexceptional views because of the power lines.
The Central Beds Council report, presented to the partnership committee last month, states: "The designs developed to date are concept drawings and as the proposal develops it is expected that the final design could change significantly. This will include further public consultation, including a planning application.
"Recent increase in construction costs will also likely necessitate an update of the feasibility study together with more detailed design work and a review of the business case to give confidence that such a development would be financially viable.
"Following this meeting and subject to further consultation with the Council’s Executive Member, it is intended to submit an ‘In Principle’ request to commit the S106 funding to the project. To progress the project further will then require completion of a commissioning form to the council’s Assets team to agree the project management resources."
David Ayes for Friends of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park said: "We have long wanted something to replace the eyesore that is the old black barn stables.
"From the original proposals presented to LLTC at an earlier meeting in 2021 we were always behind having a meeting room, cafe and toilets as described in option 2c.
"Following discussions between myself and CBC option 2d was formulated.
"This will be a tremendous asset to the park. Not only will there be a bigger car park to accommodate visitors, but we will have security cameras to deter the regular anti socials that frequent the area. Hopefully the graffiti and vandalism we have suffered over recent times will be eliminated."
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