Order could bring in jobs

Central Beds Council
Central Beds Council

Central Bedfordshire Council is asking for public feedback on proposals to introduce a Local Development Order (LDO) for Stratton Business Park in Biggleswade.

Over a period of five years, this could allow businesses to grow and increase employment opportunities by making specific changes to their buildings or developments, without the need for planning permission.

There will also be enhanced support for businesses in the agriculture and food (AgriFood) sector after the Council successfully bid, in March, to establish a Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) in the Ivel Valley area.

Types of proposed development under the proposed LDO include mezzanine floors, some extensions to existing buildings and changes of use.

However, these developments will come with standard restrictions and conditions, to protect local residents and others.

A full list of the types of allowable development can be found at: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/strattonldo

Other forms of development, not specifically covered by the LDO, are not prohibited but would still require planning permission to be sought in the normal way.

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is the latest step in our ongoing regeneration plans for Biggleswade, which will make it an increasingly attractive and prosperous place to live and work.

“Strategic infrastructure measures, such as Local Development Orders, are aimed at further boosting this resurgence as they give greater freedom and flexibility for businesses; reducing their costs, while meaning that they can respond to opportunities more quickly.

“In particular, the area is an emerging centre for the development of agriculture and food businesses, so the LDO will further help the expansion of the Food Enterprise Zone, attracting investment and boosting the rural economy. However, this by no means excludes any other type of industry.

“We are also very mindful of providing protection for residents and others nearby and this is why it is important that people have the opportunity to give us their views.”

The public consultation begins today (Thursday, August 13) and ends on Monday, September 14, and the consultation questionnaire is available at: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/strattonldo.

After the end date, responses will be taken into account, the LDO will then be considered by the Council Executive in October and, if approved, would come into effect shortly afterwards.

A public exhibition providing further information about the LDO will also be taking place on Tuesday, August 25, at the Weatherley Centre between 2-8pm.