The Future of Houghton Regis: Neighbourhood Plan Update 19/7/21

David Gibbons, Chair of the Houghton Regis Town Council Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has posted an update. Public consultation will take place soon.

A plan that has been put together by a local committee who drew its data and feedback from various sources, including one-to-one interviews with Houghton Regis people, is almost ready to be consulted on in public. Ultimately a referendum will be held and if popular the plan will be adopted and become the go-to guide for future development within Houghton Regis Parish.

The plan was held up by the pandemic.

David Gibbons, chair of the Steering Group for Houghton Regis Town Council Neighbourhood Plan explained today, “After a long delay caused by the pandemic, the Houghton Regis Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have a draft of the Houghton Regis Neighbourhood Plan that is ready to go out to its public consultation. This is a major milestone and a required step in the process of getting the plan adopted. The consultation is scheduled to start on Monday, 9th August and will last for just over 6 weeks, closing on Friday, 24th September.

“Over the last year, the government has changed what are known as “use classes”. These use classes determine what can be built where and what existing buildings can be used for. Since a neighbourhood plan is all about land usage, these featured throughout the plan and had to be reviewed and changed. The Steering Group were also able to use the extra time to add some detail to the open spaces in town that will help further justify their protection.

“Neighbourhood planning provides the opportunity for communities to set out a positive vision for how they want their community to develop over the next 10, 15, 20 years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people. They can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see. 

“Residents and others who work or have interests in Houghton Regis will be invited to read the plan and to complete an online survey about the proposed policies. An information leaflet, complete with a link to the survey, will be delivered starting on the 9th [August] to every household in Houghton Regis (our thanks to the Houghton Helpers for facilitating this). 

“There will also be two formal drop-in sessions and one informal session where people can ask questions, get further information, and get help in completing the survey. 

The formal drop-ins will be held in a gazebo outside in Bedford Square on Wednesday, 18th August from 1 to 4 pm and on Saturday, 11th September from 10 am to 2 pm. The steering group will also have a presence at Houghton Rocks on Saturday, 4th September.

Read the Plan Now

“For those who would like to start sooner reading the plan, it is available from the town council website at There will also be a link to the survey and on the town council website once it goes live. Please do keep visiting the website to check for any other updates or information. 

This document is very important for the town. It will give us a much louder voice in what happens here. A neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the local plan prepared by the local planning authority. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the local plan and the neighbourhood plan, and any other material considerations. Since the government has created the opportunity for local communities to produce neighbourhood plans it seemed foolish not to avail ourselves of this opportunity. The steering group and various working groups have put in a lot of hours to create a plan that they feel reflects as many of the concerns and values of our neighbours as possible. We hope that you will take the time to look it over and to give us your feedback.

“Once this consultation ends there will be another one that will involve Central Bedfordshire Council and various other non-local groups. After that it goes to an independent examiner and finally, after any required changes have been made, it will come back here for you to vote on via a referendum.”

To comment on this notification, please go to the Neighbourhood Plan Facebook Page where you can join the group and then comment.


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