Plans to build a cinema and leisure complex at the side of the River Great Ouse are set to be approved by planning chiefs on Monday.
Coplan Estates, has submitted plans for the Riverside North Development, which encompasses a cinema, a hotel and retail facilities.
On Monday Bedford Borough Council’s planning chiefs will decide whether to approve the scheme, which has already been supported by Dave Hodgson, the Mayor of Bedford.
Other supporters of the development, on land owned by the council, include the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) which have both submitted letters to the council.
In a letter on behalf of the chamber of commerce chairman Rod Calvert said: “We particularly like the connectivity to St Paul’s Square, and feel that this town centre gateway goes a long way to addressing the oft heard comments from business people and their visitors, ‘Bedford has a lovely river environment, why doesn’t the town do more to capitalise on this jewel?’
“The higher class restaurants proposed and open frontage to the river, retail, public space, hotel, cinema etc, and relatively secure parking into the evening will encourage footfall and incremental spending to the benefit of the whole town centre.”
Planning chiefs should consider their decision to approve the Riverside North development very carefully, Bedford’s MP claimed this week.
Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, has written to Bedford Borough Council’s chief executive Philip Simpkins about the scheme.
He claims that residents’ concerns, such as the representation of the plans in documentation, and the consultation process should be taken into account.
He said: “I, like many local residents, am very pleased that the council is looking to redevelop the Riverside North site. However it is important that the subsequent development meets the high expectations of residents.”
And Colin McQueston, of Coplan Estates which has submitted the application, said: “I can assure you that we, as a developer have consulted extensively on this scheme in terms of our two exhibitions and meeting with members of local organisations.
“I have never turned down an invitation to speak to someone about this scheme. In terms of the council the statutory consultation has been extended twice.”
He added: “A debate has arisen as to the accuracy of the artist impressions which are illustrative drawings. It was not possible to be 100 per cent accurate on dimensions. The debate needs to be had on scale plans, and not illustrative drawings.”
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Weather for Bedford
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North