Extraordinary meeting of town council over Leighton Buzzard Land South to take place tonight

The Land South site (council owned land in orange).The Land South site (council owned land in orange).
The Land South site (council owned land in orange).
Proposals are ‘totally against the interests of Leighton Buzzard’ says councillor

A “crisis” surrounding how land south of the High Street in Leighton Buzzard is redeveloped is set to be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the town council, this evening (Thursday, February 15).

Local councillors have voiced a preference for all the plots of land set aside for regeneration to be considered together.

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But Central Bedfordshire Council has indicated a section of Duncombe Drive car park might be sold off for residential development, with the risk the proceeds might not be reinvested in the town.

A motion from Liberal Democrat CBC and town councillor Russ Goodchild is due to be considered by Leighton-Linslade Town Council tonight.

It acknowledges “CBC’s stated strategic aim to pursue the redevelopment of town centres and confirms LLTC’s view that the derelict land south of the High Street presents a once only strategic opportunity for redevelopment of that area”.

The proposal highlights the importance of “collaborative working on an equal footing with CBC on this project around strategic objectives and presents its aim for a comprehensive possibly phased south side redevelopment, which occupies the whole of the available site for a mix of public services, commercial, cultural, leisure and housing uses”.

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It also “notes that the most recent town council proposals and outline plans for a comprehensive redevelopment of land south formed no part of CBC’s presentation to LLTC on January 17th 2024.”

Labour town councillor Pat Carberry said on social media: “As someone absolutely committed to supporting our community, I find the current proposals around the sale of land south of the High Street totally against the interests of Leighton Buzzard.

“The area was bought using the money paid by the people of our town with a view to develop for its benefit. LLTC plans, seeking some residential development, would allow profits to finance investment in public facilities, which are desperately needed.

“If the current proposals by CBC go through, all benefit for our town will be lost. The land will be sold off for housing and the financial gain absorbed into all of Central Bedfordshire.

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“This would leave our town once again funding everyone else, with no benefit from the properties. As well as this loss of investment, it would undermine our current struggling High Street because these plans involve a reduction of parking at Duncombe Drive by up to 70 per cent.

“Our High Street is struggling and first rate facilities, such as the Leighton Buzzard splash park in Parson’s Close Recreation Ground rely on this parking.

“The loss of the available spaces would be the death knell for the High Street and prevent reasonable access to our parks,” he added. “The people of Leighton-Linslade have been mugged off for long enough.

“A meeting was called to discuss this crisis, although we can’t make binding decisions to change the outcomes.”

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Liberal Democrat Leighton Linslade South councillor Shaun Roberts responded on Facebook, explaining: “We’re talking to all groups on CBC about this. I hope we’ll have cross party support against these (CBC) proposals.”

> The meeting will take place at 7.30pm at Astral Park Sports & Community Centre, Johnson Drive, Leighton Buzzard LU7 4AY