Have your say: Council invites public to suggest ideas for Ford End Road development

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The land around Ford and Road and south of the river surrounding Bedford St Johns train station has been earmarked for future development and the council is keen to hear residents’ views.

As part of Bedford Borough Council’s Local Plan 2030, the land has been identified for housing, shops, community uses and green space.

The Local Plan sets out where and how growth will take place across Bedford Borough over the next decade to provide housing, schools, jobs, and infrastructure.

These areas have also previously been ‘masterplanned’ as part of the One Public Estate project which was formed to bring together public sector bodies to work in partnership to create jobs, support businesses, deliver housing, and encourage developments in the private sector.

The masterplans were agreed by Bedford Borough Council in September 2018, and can be found on the Council’s website.

The council is now preparing development briefs for the two sites which will build on the masterplanning which has already been undertaken, and they’re is looking for your views on the future of these areas.

Everyone is invited to take part in digital consultation workshops to discuss the plans to create sustainable, resilient and attractive neighbourhoods in these areas and to share ideas on what they would like to see in each area.

This could include views on what type of housing should be built, what sort of open spaces and facilities there should be, and how transport and parking will be integrated into the sites.

Ford End RoadMayor Dave Hodgson said, “This is a really exciting project, looking to the future. The development of these two areas will bring brownfield land back into use and create much-needed housing close to our town centre in a sustainable way.

“It is unfortunate that we are not able to hold workshops out in the ‘real world’ but with the coronavirus outbreak and the need to keep people safe by minimising contact this won’t be possible.

“We are working to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our digital consultation- but do not worry this won’t be your last chance to have your say.

“There will be more opportunities to give your views, including a formal consultation later this year.”

Cllr Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant
Cllr Martin-Moran-Bryant represents Great Barford ward

Planning consultant and Great Barford councillor, Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, said, “The Council needs to keep making progress on planning even during lockdown, and I totally agree that we need good development briefs to deliver these strategic brownfield sites to create sustainable development around transport hubs.

“It’s important that those who cannot access the Zoom meetings, either through lack of internet or because the meetings are during the working day, are given an opportunity to comment as soon as possible too.
“Personally  I’d like to see copies of the questionnaire and key points from the workshop be available by post, and a virtual exhibition, so people can watch a briefing again later, would be an easy way of reaching more people.
“As usual I’d ask people to pass this on to those who might be interested but don’t have or ‘do’ technology.”
Bedford Borough Conservative Group deputy leader, Roger Rigby, said, “We welcome the consultation, they are important sites that will play key roles in the regeneration of Bedford, however significant highways improvements will need to go hand in hand with development or the town must be even more gridlocked.”

The digital consultations will be held via ‘Zoom’- a web conferencing app.

The workshop about Ford End Road will be at 10am on Tuesday 5 May 2020, and the workshop about the area south of the river will be held on Wednesday 6 May also at 10.00 am. An online questionnaire will be made available following the workshops.

To register your interest to take part in a workshop please visit the relevant Eventbrite link here for the Ford End Road workshop and here for the  South of the River workshop

To receive a link to the online questionnaire, please email planningpolicy@bedford.gov.uk


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