'Stop complaining and let's get on with Leighton Buzzard / Eggington boundary consultation'

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Town council told to make its case for Clipstone Park becoming part of Leighton Buzzard

Councillors unhappy with an approach to resolving a parish boundary dispute in Bedfordshire should speak to residents and deliver leaflets to make their case, a meeting heard.

A decision to review the parish governance for the Clipstone Park estate (on the fringe of Leighton Buzzard but in the parish of Eggington) was taken by Central Bedfordshire Council's general purposes committee on Thursday after a request from Leighton-Linslade Town Council.

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The terms of reference were agreed by the committee, which noted the consultation document.


Independent Woburn and Aspley Central Bedfordshire councillor John Baker advised "all the people who've complained, ten I think," to deliver a leaflet and "campaign for what they want" on the new estate.

"From what I've heard, some people are upset we've told residents they'll pay two-and-a-half times more if they (opt to) join Leighton-Linslade Town Council," he explained.

"It's not for this council to make the case. It's for the town council and those who want this to happen to make the case.

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"If you all spent your time speaking to residents and not here complaining and whingeing about the document being bland ... that's what legal officers are required to do, bland documents.

"By going out to campaign, you'll probably get the result you want. Everyone can use Facebook and, if they can't, they can read a leaflet.

"Leighton-Linslade Town Council I'm sure has got a marketing department, layers of administration in this area. You've got a Facebook page.

"So put something on Facebook. Print a leaflet. Go and deliver it. Make the case.

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"Eggington Parish Council might not care because it's not represented here. So it looks like you've got an open goal.

"My suggestion would be stop complaining. Let's get on with the consultation."

CBC's head of governance Jonathon Partridge told the committee the governance review for the parish of Eggington "could start any time between now and March" to end before the next town and parish elections.

"We plan to hold open public consultation events to enable people to have their say," he said.

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"The council is under a duty to consult and it's the responsibility of this committee to decide whether there are any changes to the parish area, recommended to the Boundary Commission for England, at the end of the process."

Conservative Stotfold and Langford councillor Steve Dixon described it as "a factual consultation, without pitch or any bias", saying: "We can steer the shape of this, the content of it, but we're unable to determine what's in it.

"Some of our consultations do appear dry, but they're there to fulfil a function. This is a two-stage process.

"People will want to know about finance. It's the first question they'll ask. We can't hide from that.

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"There will be open events with the opportunity for the town council to put your case. Eggington I'm sure will be invited likewise.

"But let's not get ourselves in this difficult position again. This is all triggered by planning," added councillor Dixon, who's the executive member for sustainability and transformation.

"I'm quite comfortable now we're at that tipping point where consultation should take place."

Independent Potton councillor Adam Zerny said: "In the publicity Leighton-Linslade puts out, it needs to stress there are more benefits than purely getting a cheaper burial.

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"That's the only major advantage I've heard today other than they can get lots of services from Leighton-Linslade, which they could get anyway even if they chose not to become part of it.

"They need to argue a strong case for their council tax precept."