Central Bedfordshire Draft Local Plan (July 2017)
4.1.1 Community planning is a new approach, unique to Central Bedfordshire Council, which goes above and beyond the legal consultation requirements of the Local Plan. Our engagement vision is to have a proactive, ongoing dialogue with the local community about local needs and opportunities. In the future we want to create communities with schools, jobs, health provision and good transport links. That means we need to plan for infrastructure and services to ensure that Central Bedfordshire continues to be a great place to live and work.
4.1.2 Additional growth which is going to be necessary in many parts of Central Bedfordshire brings with it pressures on infrastructure and services. Accordingly, building up a local picture of existing issues that people face is critical to understanding where new development can be accommodated and what measures need to be put in place to alleviate those pressures.
4.1.3 In order to capture this information at a local level (larger than parish, smaller than the whole of Central Bedfordshire) 15 community areas have been mapped, based on a number of factors
- Natural catchment or ward areas, connections and associations amongst communities e.g. for shopping, schools, work.
- Access to services and facilities e.g. shops, post office, leisure services.
- Town and rural hinterlands.
- Shared characteristics, similar issues and opportunities.
4.1.5 The first stage (November 2016 to March 2017) has involved holding an event in each of the 15 Community Areas. Following these events, 15 Community Plans have been prepared and published as part of the evidence base for the Local Plan.
4.1.6 The Community Plan collates all the information gathered at an event held in each of the areas. There will be a series of suggestions arising from each Community Plan which can be used to influence or shape planning policy in the Local Plan, be fed into decisions on planning applications, decisions on where money arising from development should be spent. The six key themes shown below in figure 4.1 and referenced in Section 6 are used to group the issues and opportunities
Some of the issues arising were not land use based or within the control of the planning but will be used by the Council to inform other service areas.
4.1.7 Community planning is seen as a continuing process and the methodology and Community Areas will be used in the future to inform later stages of the Local Plan as well as other Council initiatives.
4.1.8 Central Bedfordshire Council will seek to work in partnership with organisations including Town and Parish Councils, developers and other agencies to deliver on actions or priorities raised through community planning.
Figure 4.1: Six Key Themes