Planners’ bid to slash red tape

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Voice your views on proposals for a special planning order to give a boost to businesses in areas including Dunstable’s Woodside Estate.

The idea is to bring in a “local development order” to relax some planning restrictions and smooth the way for businesses to expand and change.

Central Beds Council is proposing an order covering Woodside Estate, Nimbus Park, Foster Avenue, Arenson Way, the Apex Business Centre and Eastern Avenue.

It says safeguards would ensure people living nearby and other businesses are “properly protected”.

Public consultation starts on Thursday, January 30, and runs through to February 28.

Executive councillor Nigel Young said that under the LDO (local development order), businesses could carry out certain works without applying for planning permission.

He said: “The sort of things we are talking about are certain changes of use, new windows, shutters and doors, new mezzanine floors, sub-division of units, installation of solar panels and new fencing.

“It will also allow them to extend existing buildings up to 25 per cent of their current footprint or 1,200sqm (whichever is the greater) provided they stay within their current plot, and even allows new builds of up to 1,200sqm.

“The aim is to help businesses to save time and money, which puts them in a better position to respond quickly to opportunities and contribute towards the economic health of the area. It will also give the Woodside Estate a competitive advantage and make the whole area more attractive to investment.”

Mr Young highlighted built-in safeguards. “For example, no building can exceed 15m in height or the height of the current building, or 5m in height if it is within 10m of a residential property,” he said.

“There are also restrictions on noise, light pollution, and controls on parking.”

He urged people to join in the public consultation.

And he added: “We want to make Dunstable a great place to live and work and this LDO ties in nicely with our work on the busway and Woodside and A5-M1 link roads.”

> From January 30, you can have your say via

Exhibitions will be held at Unit 3, The Marketing Suite, Humphrys Road, Dunstable, 2pm-8pm on January 30, and from February 3 to February 27 at Dunstable Library. Paper documents will be available at the exhibitions and Central Beds Council’s offices in High Street North, Dunstable.