Boundary Commission Recommends Changes for Houghton Regis Effecting CBC Wards

  • The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has made its final report recommending changes for ward boundaries in Central Bedfordshire. Changes will take place in Houghton Regis. If approved by Parliament the new boundaries will be used in local elections in 2023.

The Boundary Commission are proposing that Central Bedfordshire should have 63 councillors; 4 more than at present. These  should represent nine single-councillor wards, 12 two-councillor wards and ten three-councillor wards across Central Bedfordshire.

In all, the proposals are that the boundaries of 19 wards should change while 12 will remain the same.

The proposed changes must now be approved by Parliament, so the legal document which brings into force their recommendations will now be laid before Parliament.

One of the aims of the review was to create wards where one council elected member represents as many voters as another council member, as equally as possible, ideally within 10% of being exactly equal.

During consultation the Commission was challenged on its figures for development around Houghton Regis.   The Commission considered the evidence carefully and was content that the original 2025 forecast is a reasonable estimate of the forecast number of electors likely to be present in the authority in 2026.

Central Bedfordshire Council currently has 59 councillors. After looking at the evidence provided by the Council the Commission concluded that increasing the number of councillors by four to 63 will ensure the Council can carry out its roles and responsibilities effectively.

The proposed boundaries affect the whole of Central Bedfordshire. You can read the full final report here. In this News Desk report we look at our local areas:

It had been suggested during consultation that Toddington ward be split into two single sized wards, but the Commission decided not to adopt that approach.

Wards in Leighton Buzzard are to be renamed to Leighton-Linslade North, Leighton-Linslade South and Leighton-Linslade West respectively, in order to better reflect the growing coalescence between the two towns.

New ward names are to be given to adjusted Dunstable and Houghton Regis areas. 

Despite some opposition to combining Parkside and Tithe Farm, the Commission decided it better to combine themThese, together with some boundary adjustment will become Houghton Regis East and be served by three councillors, rather than one each as at present. The Painters estate would be included in Houghton Regis East.

The Commission faced local opposition to original plans for the boundary between East and West wards in Houghton Regis. Consequently the Commission took the Houghton Brook as a new boundary, which it considers to be more identifiable to local electors.

The Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council also disputed an early choice to use the B5120 as the boundary between the two Houghton Regis wards. However, they subsequently have decided to retain this boundary, as they consider the B5120 a stronger and more recognisable feature to use as a ward boundary than Tithe Farm Road.

The commission also considered other proposals for dividing Houghton Regis, including splitting Houghton Regis West into two single councillor wards, but in the end were not persuaded.

In Dunstable Councillor Gurney's proposals found favour with the Commission.  It was persuaded by the evidence received that the creation of a two-councillor Dunstable East ward and a single-councillor Dunstable South ward, with the boundary running along the Luton–Dunstable Busway and to the rear of properties on Great North Road, would represent community identities more effectively, while still maintaining good electoral equality.

An early proposal by the Commission to move part of Dunstable parish around Northfields Academy area into Houghton Regis West was opposed. Subsequently, the Commission has relented and instead moved this area back into the newly named Dunstable North ward.

Commissions Recommendations for Town & Parish Councils

Dunstable parish.
Final recommendations:
Dunstable Town Council should comprise 18 councillors, as at present,
representing five wards:
Parish ward  / Number of parish councillors
Central 2
East 5
North 4
South 2
West 5

Houghton Regis parish.
Final recommendations:
Houghton Regis Town Council should comprise 14 councillors, as at present, representing three wards:
Parish ward / Number of parish councillors
Houghton Hall 5
Parkside 4
Tithe Farm 5