Improving Leighton-Linslade town centre
We are committed to enhancing Leighton Buzzard’s distinct market town character and benefiting Leighton-Linslade’s social, economic and environmental sustainability.
We are working on the following major projects:
Land South of the High Street
This project offers a unique opportunity for a comprehensive, new, mixed-use town centre development on a prime town centre site, immediately south of Leighton Buzzard High Street. It will create a sustainable extension to the town centre’s primary shopping area and a destination in its own right.
The 2.56ha development site comprises previously developed land. The brief divides the site into three connected and complementary land use parcels, creating a well-connected retail circuit between High Street, Church Square and Duncombe Drive.
In 2014, Central Bedfordshire Council acquired three parcels of land south of Leighton Buzzard High Street. As a result, we now own the majority of land, which places us in a strong position to steward development and secure investors that will enhance Leighton Buzzard’s unique market town character and create lasting value for the town.
We have been informally promoting the development site to understand market demand for the development opportunities.
We are currently contacting retailers and other sectors as part of a market study for the Land South of Leighton Buzzard High Street project. This is an important piece of work as it will allow us to put forward a development proposal that is informed by realistic market intelligence and demand.
The development proposal will set out what development can go forward; this includes detail about units, urban design, transport links, types of businesses (based on the market study), how we will deliver it and a timetable.
We are currently working on a development proposal.
Market Towns Regeneration Fund
We are currently working in partnership with Leighton-Linslade Town Council on Market Towns Regeneration Fund initiatives worth £320,000 – including signage, lighting and market improvements – to help rejuvenate Leighton Buzzard town centre. These plans were submitted by Leighton-Linslade Council and approved by us in June 2016.
Details of the Market Town Regeneration Fund need to be approved by Leighton-Linslade’s Committee before proceeding with delivery.
The project began in November 2015, when we invited bids from our 11 town councils for a slice of £4million in capital funding to help reinvigorate their market towns. The money has been made available from our own funds and provides the opportunity for the town councils to work in partnership with us.
Aimed principally at market towns facing pressures from significant population growth, this two-year initiative (from 2016 to 2018) is backed by the continuing work we are delivering in areas of regeneration, business support, employment and skills.
Town councils were invited to submit bids, in conjunction with local businesses and the wider community, which demonstrated a comprehensive approach to making better places; unlocking barriers to growth and creating economic uplift that improves the quality of local life.
High Street Improvement Scheme
In addition to the Market Towns Regeneration Fund, we launched a High Street Improvement Scheme in August 2016 where town councils, including Leighton-Linslade, can bid for a share of £1million and then work with local businesses to improve aesthetics of their high streets, revitalise them through improvements to shop fronts and tackle vacant retail units. A retail expert will be providing business advice to the town council’s and businesses engaged in the scheme.
The scheme will be delivered in three rounds between July 2016 until March 2018.
High Street enhancement
High Street is the primary town centre shopping street at the heart of Leighton Buzzard. This project comprises a major improvement scheme to create a pedestrianised area and expanded space for the town market to further improve the town centre environment and public realm.
These improvements will be included in a new draft Development Proposal, made available for public feedback before being. We anticipate this will be in winter 2016/2017.
Parking is in high demand at Leighton Buzzard town centre. We currently are exploring ways for increasing and improving provision.