Plan unveiled to improve Dunstable High Street

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A glimpse of what Dunstable High Street could look like has been revealed as Central Bedfordshire Council prepares to hold a number of public consultations next week.

Last year the council asked the public for their ideas for how to improve Dunstable High Street. They asked what would encourage the public to spend more time in the High Street, and how they could make crossing it safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

In response, the public said they wanted:

>A boulevard-style high street with cafes on wider pavements more greenery.

>More public areas and places to sit.

>Remove railings so that pedestrians can get to different areas around town.

>Improve the traffic lights at the main crossroads.

As well as the High Street, there are proposed improvements to the Middle Row, the Market Square and Queensway.

Cllr Nigel Young, executive member for regeneration, said: “We want to build upon Dunstable’s existing heritage to create a new and improved High Street. We want to make it people-orientated, with the feel of a market town which caters to the needs of both locals and visitors.

“Now that the Woodside Link and A5-M1 Link roads are open, the heavy lorries and motorway traffic are being taken away from the centre of Dunstable and the High Street is no longer the main through-route.”

The ideas include four ‘gateway’ features at key locations to help define the town centre. With help from Dunstable and District Local History Society, the gateway features could also include information about the history of Dunstable and have a map to show key places of interest. To reflect the town’s history, the council is suggesting these are named Friars Gate, Eleanor’s Gate, Priory Gate and St Mary’s Gate.

Cllr Young added: “Highways England is providing £1.5 million of funding for Dunstable in recognition of the impact the heavy traffic has had on the town when the High Street was the A5 and a major route to and from the M1 motorway.

“We are delighted to be working with the Dunstable and District Local History Society and local designers to create the town gateway features, as well as public art in other locations in the town where the history of Dunstable can be reflected.”

The public can see and comment on the council’s plans from November 6 until December 8 online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/yourhighstreet, or at the following dates and times:

>Central Bedfordshire College, Kingsway, Dunstable on Tuesday, November 14 from 2-4pm and Thursday, November 16 from 10-12pm.

>Dunstable Library on Saturday, December 2 from 11am to 4pm, and Tuesday, December 5, from 4pm to 6pm.