The danger of attracting drug issues and anti-social behaviour into Dunstable town centre has been highlighted, under plans to provide more affordable housing.
“I would hate to see that,” warned councillor John Chatterley.
A new council-owned housing company in Central Bedfordshire aims to increase the amount of affordable homes available locally.
Eight sites, including three in Dunstable, were revealed at a meeting of the council’s corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee.
“In Dunstable, we agree that we need more affordable homes,” said councillor Chatterley, who’s the committee’s vice-chairman.
“But I think the number of affordable homes concentrated in the centre of the town, there are too many.
“I think this is only based on other areas in Dunstable where we’ve got a concentrated area of affordable homes and we’ve had lots of problems with drug issues and anti-social behaviour.
“And I would hate to see that where we’re bringing that into the centre of the town.
“All these areas, Court House, Burnham Place and Court Drive are all bang smack in the centre of Dunstable.
“I think to have affordable apartments, providing the clientele is not controlled, we could have a problem in the centre of Dunstable,” he warned.”
Director of community services Marcel Coiffait replied: “Dunstable has the highest level of need for affordable housing anywhere in Central Bedfordshire currently.
“We have the sites we have. If we don’t use them for affordable housing, where is that going to be built?” he asked.
The population of Central Bedfordshire has risen by 15,000 in the last four years, and the local authority is expecting it to rise further, according to councillor Eugene Ghent. “There is a shortfall in the demand and supply of new affordable homes,” he said.