Agenda and minutes

South Side working party - Monday, 9th January, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: The Council Chamber, The White House, Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard LU7 1HD

Contact: Mellony Jahn, Committee Officer - tel 01525 631920, email: 

No. Item



Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires a record be kept of the Members present and that this record form part of the minutes of the meeting. Members who cannot attend a meeting should tender apologies to the Town Clerk.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor A Dodwell.





(i)         Under the Localism Act 2011 (sections 26-37 and Schedule 4) and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare any interests which are not currently entered in the Member’s Register of Interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.

(ii)        Should any Member have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in an item on the agenda, the Member may not participate in consideration of that item unless a Dispensation has first been requested (in writing) and granted by the Council (see Dispensation Procedure).


Councillor Palmer declared a personal interest as a member of the Leighton Buzzard Society and the Leighton Buzzard Archaeological and Historical Society and Councillor Harvey also declared a personal interest as a member of the South Beds Friends of the Earth.



QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC (3 minutes per person; 15 minutes total)

To receive questions and statements from members of the public in respect of any item of business included in the agenda, as provided for in Standing Order No.s 3 (e)(f)(g) and 3(h).


There were no questions from members of the public.




(a)      To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the South Side working party meeting held on 24 October 2022 (attached) in accordance with Standing Order 12.

(b)     To receive information updates on matters arising from the previous meeting (if appropriate).



(a)   The Committee received the minutes of the South Side Working Party meeting held on 24 October 2022.


Minute reference 39/SSWP: Councillor Harvey suggested that the minutes be amended to reflect that it had not been universally agreed that the first masterplan option had been an “excellent start” (final paragraph) and that “serious concerns” had been raised that not all information had reached the consultant prior to the meeting. On discussion and voting, working party members agreed no changes were required to the minutes (1 in favour of amendments, 5 against).


RESOLVED that the minutes of the South Side Working Party meeting held on 24 October 2022 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.


(b)      Updates from the previous meeting:


Concerns were raised regarding a lack of information and engagement from Central Bedfordshire Council.  The Town Clerk had written to the Portfolio holder to encourage involvement however no active response had been received to date.




To receive information from the consultants appointed to undertake an indicative Masterplanning exercise on land south of the High Street.



Consultants from Steven George and Partners gave an update presentation on the Masterplanning exercise for land south of the High Street.  This included a similar number of residential dwellings to the first iteration (130) along with a mixed use community building near to a multi storey car park, with various orientation points, several access routes into the High Street and a reference to the former Rothschild Garden (this could for example be a pocket park). The plan also included several indicative commercial units but the consultants suggested these could be used for leisure/community purposes if retail/commercial uses were not viable in this location, due to lesser visibility and footfall than land to the north of the High Street.


A further option was presented which extended the proposals beyond the area of focus.  After discussions, the group agreed to continue to focus on land south of the High Street at the present time.


The indicative community building focussed on the uses identified by the Peppercorn Group but discussion took place on potential additional community- based uses for the site. The public consultation undertaken recently by Central Bedfordshire Council on the needs of community groups and organisations would be useful and it was hoped that this information would be shared by the principal authority.


Members agreed it was essential that Central Bedfordshire Council as the biggest landowner on this site be involved in discussions and it was also suggested that other landowners be approached.


The question of financial viability was raised. A logical next step in the project would be to progress further with analysis of potential costs and financial viability. In order to ascertain costs for this next stage, the group would circulate a list of desirable potential uses of the site along with indicative sizes, for the consultants to consider further. The consultants would also fine-tune the presented designs before provided a copy of the slides for circulation to the group.




(i)           To note the presentation from Stephen George regarding potential uses of land south of the High Street and to await a copy of the slides to be circulated.

(ii)          To update a list of potential uses and floor sizes to help inform costs from consultants for the next stage in the process (assessing financial viability).

(iii)        To write to Central Bedfordshire Council providing a copy of the presentation, requesting sharing of their recent evidence gathering surveys and requesting a meeting date as soon as possible to discuss land south of the High Street further.





            No Central Bedfordshire updates had been received or relayed to the Town Council.




To receive any other updates relating to land south of the High Street, if available.







Working Party Purpose as set out in Terms of Reference (agreed July 2022):


To continue to represent and share the views of the local community, businesses and interest groups in pressing the landowning interests to work collaboratively in the timely and early delivery of this important town centre site.

To press Central Bedfordshire Council as the majority landowner and policy maker to deliver solutions to address evidenced local needs and in doing so, unlock the development potential for this site and the wider town centre.




The Group were informed of a current public engagement exercise being undertaken on behalf of a hotel group, prior to the potential submission of a  planning application on the site behind the post office. Concerns were raised as to whether this would affect the plans for the development of land south of the High Street.