Local Plans set out where growth and development will take place- everything from houses and jobs to schools and infrastructure.
Bedford Borough Council already has a Local Plan in place up to 2030. With changes to national planning policy and proposals around the Oxford to Cambridge Arc - which Bedford Borough is at the heart of - they now need to look further ahead.
The 'Local Plan Review - Issues & Options' paper is now out for consultation.
This review and consultation will mainly focus on developing a strategy to guide housing and employment growth and identify the infrastructure needed to support it.
Government requires councils to plan for a certain level of housing growth in their local plans. As part of the next Local Plan, allocations may need to be made for between 5,000 and 15,000 additional new dwellings over a plan period up to 2040. The exact number will depend on forthcoming revisions to the Government's housing-need formula.
It will also look at policies around climate change, protecting the natural environment, quality of development, self and custom build homes, open space in new developments, and policies around the town centre.
The town centre was the subject of a separate consultation last year, which has led to the development of a draft Town Centre Plan. This will form part of the background to the Local Plan review and people will have another chance to have their say in this consultation.
This process will also open a 'call for sites' where people can put forward land to be allocated as a site for development in the next local plan. Sites need to be submitted by Friday 14 August.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said "This 'Issues & Options' consultation focuses on the basics- how long a time period should the next local plan cover, what do you want us to look at as part of the plan, and more. This consultation is a great opportunity to have your say at the beginning of the process. We are working to involve as many people as possible, in as many different ways as possible- given the current restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, and I would urge you to get involved in plans for the future of your borough."
The full consultation paper, a presentation, and a set of FAQs about the paper can be seen at www.bedford.gov.uk/localplanreview. There will be paper copies at the Customer Service Centre in Bedford, which can be read by appointment only; call 01234 267422 to book an appointment.
You can also request a paper copy of the consultation and/or response form by calling 01234 718070.
You can have your say online at www.bedford.gov.uk/localplanreview, or by completing a response form and sending it attached to an email to email@example.com, or by posting a paper copy of your response form to Planning Policy Team, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, MK42 9AP.