People living in Biggleswade are being given the chance to help shape the town's future, by taking part in its Biggleswade Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire.
Town Mayor, Councillor Madeline Russell said: "Producing a Neighbourhood Plan is the best way to influence the future of Biggleswade. It is a statutory document which would be taken into account by Central Bedfordshire Council when any planning application is submitted.
"National policies on economic development mean that East Bedfordshire is going to be subject to a lot of growth and the Plan is a way of trying to protect the best aspects of our town, our heritage and our green spaces.
"There will be further opportunities for people to have their say before the final document is produced but I would urge everyone to contribute at every stage so that the Neighbourhood Plan is the best that it can be and reflects what people value in our town."
A Neighbourhood Plan allows a community to play a more prominent role in its future, giving it the power to create a shared vision and policies that will shape the development and growth of the area.
The Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted, will sit alongside the Local Plan prepared by Central Bedfordshire Council. Its role is to expand, extend or amplify the policies in the Local Plan but not to oppose or contradict them. An adopted Neighbourhood Plan carries significant weight in determining future planning applications located in, or affecting, the parish.
Biggleswade Town Council first held a public engagement for the Biggleswade Neighbourhood Plan in March 2019. A questionnaire accompanied this public engagement, as well as the town council hosting two public open sessions at its offices and the Orchard Community Centre.
The council now undertaking a second public engagement, which is open now and will run until Monday, May 3. It will take place for an extended period as it coincides with Easter and the school holidays.
The questionnaire for the second public engagement has been produced following analysis of the first public engagement questionnaire responses, and the comments from the community have helped the council to produce a draft vision, aims and a series of themes for the Neighbourhood Plan.
The town council says it is keen to receive the public's feedback from the questionnaires, as the community's input will be used to formulate the policies in the Biggleswade Neighbourhood Plan.
The questionnaire can be completed online by visiting: www.biggleswadetowncouncil.gov.uk or by using the quick response (QR) code.
Alternatively, a paper copy of the questionnaire can be posted out to your address.
Please email Lisa King, Biggleswade Community Agent, at [email protected] or call 07534 484750 if you wish to receive a paper copy.
The completed questionnaire can then be returned using the freepost envelope provided.
If you wish to learn more of the work undertaken so far on the Biggleswade Neighbourhood Plan, visit the Biggleswade Town Council website. To find out more about the Neighbourhood Planning process, please visit the Locality website.
Should you require any further information about the Biggleswade Neighbourhood Plan or would like some assistance completing this questionnaire, please contact Jemma McLean, Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity at [email protected] or on 01234 834932.