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For background on the housing numbers from the Barker Review

click here

Feelings run high on housing

On Wednesday 25th October almost 80 people crammed into the Friends Meeting house in Leighton Buzzard to a meeting held by South Bedfordshire friends of the Earth. People felt very strongly that they wanted to stop the housing and that it could be stopped and that they were really sad to see the way the town was changing. People were very interested to discover that they really had a chance to influence the plans for this town.


  There are three things we can do over the housing numbers and saving the character of Leighton Buzzard:











Letter writing suggestions

 & who to contact





The huge figures of 43,000 homes have been set by national government, not by the local council. It is our MPís job to fight for us and for Leighton Buzzard and so we should write to him.  We want the Tories to make public commitments that they would reverse the housing numbers.


If people are prepared to give up their time to help then South Beds FoE can liaise with all the anti-housing groups across the East of England and the SE and have big demonstrations against the  treasury who are promoting this. This would put serious pressure on the government to stop the big housing plans and get the issue into the national press.




At a local level, plans known as Local Development Frameworks are being drawn up. These plans are very powerful. Developments cannot be built if they go against, or do not strictly follow the plans. If the new plans include what people want for the town then we can stop developments being built without infrastructure, for example Billington Park and The Sandhills estate.


These plans will either restore Leighton Buzzard or destroy it. It is up to local people to tell the district council what is most important to them about Leighton Buzzard, be it the market, the local shops, the green spaces, or the feeling of community. The most important paper in the Local Development Framework is called the Core Strategy. And this will come out in the spring when they are made public for consultations. This plan will cover green space, transport & traffic congestion, the town centre, leisure, employment etc.


Before this paper comes out South Beds Friends of the Earth are urging people to think what is most important to them about Leighton Buzzard and what would help make it better. Then people should write to Sarah Kennedy at South Bedfordshire District Council, email and tell her what is most important and what they think would improve the town. Writing in before any plans are drawn up has far more influence than waiting until the district council has come up with its own ideas.




As well as the planning process, while the officers do the work and have the expertise, it is the elected district councillors who make the decisions. They have the power to make their plans turn into reality. South Beds FoE is urging people to contact their district councillors and let them know what they care about and what they want to improve in their town.



"We are strongly opposed to the 43,000 houses in South Bedfordshire, as these numbers are beyond our environmental limits. However, we need more money for Leighton Buzzard. Some limited development could support much better bus services so that elderly people are no longer isolated in their homes in the evenings. It could bring in a cinema and a bowling alley for young people, and more shops in the town centre.


If you want to stop the huge numbers of new houses, write to your MP, and talk to us about organising national demonstrations so that there is pressure on the government. We are working on a legal challenge to the housing numbers.

If you want to save Leighton Buzzard and really improve it, then get involved with the local plans drawn up by the district council.

The officers are really friendly and keen to listen to local residents.


Also it is important to let your district councillor know what you really want to save in Leighton Buzzard. If you want to know more about how to use the planning system to improve Leighton Buzzard and how to campaign against the scale of the building then join Friends of the Earth."

South Beds FoE Coordinator Victoria Harvey


Friends of the Earth