Consultation to start on development strategy

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Local residents are being asked to comment on a new Development Strategy for Central Bedfordshire that will shape the way towns, villages and communities develop over the next 20 years.

The draft Development Strategy, setting out how the council will deliver 28,700 new homes, 27,000 new jobs and the supporting infrastructure to meet demand across Central Bedfordshire to 2031, received unanimous support from full council on Thursday.

Councillor Nigel Young, executive member for sustainable communities, strategic planning and economic development explained why the area must move with the times in order to assure a successful future.

He said: “Our priority as a council is to build great communities.

“We are not changing for changes sake but to make certain that we have homes for residents at all stages of their lives whether they are young people trying to get on the housing ladder, growing families or our elderly population.

“We need to make that we have a sound infrastructure in place that will ensure good access to jobs, services and facilities such as schools, healthcare and leisure and excellent transport links.”

He added: ”We appreciate that there are concerns about our local environment but the council is committed to ensuring that we will meet this demand in a way that respects and protects the natural environment and local heritage.

“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.”

A public consultation starting in January will give local residents and businesses the opportunity to comment on the document before it is submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2013.

It will then be passed to an independent Planning Inspector for consideration and it is hoped that the Development Strategy will be adopted in February 2014.

The Development Strategy has had input from residents, investors, developers and businesses.

Earlier this year around 3,250 comments were made by approximately 330 individuals or groups.

The Development Strategy consultation will start on Monday, January 7 for six weeks, ending on Monday, February 18.

At this point people will be able to give their feedback online. Copies of relevant documents will also be available at council customer service centres and libraries.

For more information about the Development Strategy visit