James Jamieson’s monthly column: A vision for the future that respects our past

Councillor James Jamieson
Councillor James Jamieson

The leader of Central Bedfordshire Council writes every month for the Times & Citizen and Biggleswade Chronicle

The weekend’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were an opportunity for us all to reflect on and recognise the sacrifices made by the armed forces.

The council’s ongoing support for our local armed forces at RAF Henlow and Chicksands is marked in covenant which makes sure we respond collectively to the particular needs of military personnel and their families and make them feel part of our community.

One of the best ways we can honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is to do what we can to preserve the green and pleasant land that they have fought for.

The Development Strategy, now in its final draft stages, has this as one of its founding principles. We want to foster the creation of new homes and jobs in a way that respects and protects the natural environment and local heritage of which we are all proud.

The draft strategy, going before Council at the end of the month, seeks to deliver 28,700 new homes and 27,000 new jobs to meet demand across Central Bedfordshire to 2031. A number of new developments are proposed locally including employment land and a country park north east of Flitwick as well as extensions of Stratton business park in Biggleswade and the Wixams.

At the heart of our considerations is how we promote quality developments that are in keeping with their surroundings and how we build strong, vibrant healthy and inclusive communities. We need to create homes for people at all stages of their life – providing a variety of housing types and sizes to support young people trying to get on the housing ladder, growing families and an ageing population.

We need to make sure homes have good access to jobs services and facilities such as schools, healthcare and leisure and to create the transport and technological infrastructure to support new homes and businesses. While developers will fund much of this, the council is also committing money to schemes such as the Ivel Medical Centre and the A1 South Roundabout in Biggleswade to get the ball rolling.

This is a really exciting time for Central Bedfordshire, with key projects and proposals emerging that will bring major economic benefits and regeneration to the whole area. The Development Strategy ties these projects together and will help us to make the most of these exciting opportunities.

The Development Strategy will be considered by full Council on November 29 and will then go out for full public consultation in January. You can keep updated through our website www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/strategic-planning