Biggleswade Town Council has opened consultations on a Neighbourhood Plan for the area.
If approved by residents it will become Planning Guidance and will shape the way that various aspects of the town develop.
Neighbourhood plans are a way for local communities to influence planning policy within the area in which they live and work. They can be used to develop a shared vision for the neighbourhood including where new homes, shops and other facilities should be built and what they look like.
A statement from the council said: “Our vision for Biggleswade is that it should be a thriving, large market town with individual shops, services and leisure offer in the town centre, retail and business parks to the south of the town and plenty of green spaces to enjoy the open air.
“There are national plans for infrastructure which will have a massive impact on East Bedfordshire – the Oxford/Cambridge Expressway, East/West Rail and possible improvements to the A1. We already have the East Coast Main Line. This infrastructure will inevitably lead to further demand both for housing and for business premises in our part of the county.
“The Town Council recognises this and, whilst not welcoming the prospect unreservedly, wishes to work with all the relevant organisations to plan for future growth in the parish whilst preserving and enhancing the town’s character and role as a Market Town.
“The Neighbourhood Plan must work with, and not contradict, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan so we must take into account the housing numbers which are allocated in the Draft Plan which CBC has submitted to Government. We also realise that, although currently unallocated, the land for a further 4,500 houses has been designated by CBC as ‘Future Development Land’ and is likely to be allocated when the Local Plan is revised. Three thousand of those houses will be in neighbouring parishes, Sutton and Dunton, but they will have a massive impact on Biggleswade, particularly for access to the town centre, to the railway and the A1.”
The Town Council’s aim is to concentrate on those aspects of planning which are of most immediate concern and are brought up most often by local people.
Four themes have been identified. Residents’ views are important to help shape the way that the Neighbourhood Plan will develop.
They include the town centre, transport & parking, design guide, green spaces and leisure & recreation.
There will be Engagement Events on Wednesday 20 March, 4-8pm at the Old Court House, 4 Saffron Road, and Thursday 21 March, 4-8pm at the Orchard Community Centre, Sullivan Court, Erlensee Way.
>The deadline for responses is 26 March 2019.