Council reveals big spending plans for Dunstable in budget

Grove Theatre, Dunstable, set to have new access road
Grove Theatre, Dunstable, set to have new access road

Major new schemes for Dunstable and the surrounding area, including road links, sheltered housing, a waste treatment centre and an access road for the Grove Theatre, have been unveiled.

They are all included in Central Beds Council’s spending plans for 2015-16.

The council proposes to invest more than £315million in services for the public from April this year – and is now asking residents to have their say on the draft budget.

It was put together following public consultation and reflects the views of 2,500 people who responded.

The council is pledging not to increase its share of council tax for a fifth consecutive year while still protecting front-line services.

There are plans to spend £63million on social care, health and support services to allow people to live independently in their own homes for longer rather than relying on residential care, while the council is also proposing to spend £44million on children’s services, including education and protecting them from harm.

The council aims to spend £34million on community services such as roads and transport, refuse collections and leisure, plus £10million on public health, £7million on planning and business support services and £38million on other support services.

There are plans to spend £113million under the council’s capital programme, with major projects earmarked for funding including a new waste treatment facility at Thorn Turn, near Dunstable, replacing the current French’s Avenue site, and the redevelopment of Dunstable Leisure Centre and Library.

There is also a multi-million pound pledge for maintaining the current road network and investing in new schemes like the Woodside Link, which will provide a direct link between Dunstable’s industrial estates and the new Junction 11a on the M1, making the town a more attractive destination for businesses as well as taking away heavy goods vehicles from the centre.

And £350,000 has been set aside for a new access road for the Grove Theatre.

A total of £26million will go towards a new development in Houghton Regis town centre incorporating the former Co-op site and Red House Court. It will have shops, flexible community space and daytime provision for older people and is similar to the Priory View scheme for the over 55s in Dunstable, which is on track to be completed in September, but on a much larger scale.

The council’s executive will use the feedback from the public consultation, which ends on February 3, to finalise its budget proposals on February 10.

These will be considered by full council on February 26.