Letter to LBO – 25 June 2019

Dear Editor

I am writing in response to Mr Parker’s letter in last week’s LBO. Whilst I will not attempt to address his concerns regarding the TV license, he raises several issues that are more local – parking, new housing and doctors’ surgeries.

Mr Parker states there is ‘nowhere to park in Leighton Buzzard’. I do appreciate the problems local residents who live in roads near the town centre and the station face. Over the years, several residents’ parking schemes have been introduced – although any such scheme has to be supported by the majority of residents affected. Whilst this may resolve the problem very locally, unfortunately it displaces the parking to areas without parking schemes.

Recognising this issue, CBC has just completed a town-wide parking study, and I understand the results will be available later in the year. I hope that this study will take a holistic look at the problem and bring forward possible solutions that will satisfy the whole community.

The issue of unsustainable development in the town is something that I have consistently expressed concern about over many years, and as I have said on many occasions, if it was as simple as saying ‘no’ to more large-scale developments most local Conservative Councillors would have done so.

However, every local authority has targets for new house building that are dictated by Central Government, and everyone has to take their share. I am firmly of the view that once the current developments are complete, we will have taken more than our fair share. Indeed, the local plan currently going through Public Examination does not include any major sites around Leighton Buzzard and Linslade.

Every new development includes money for infrastructure, which includes leisure, schools and health provision. However, for a new surgery to be provided, the NHS and the Clinical Commissioning Group have to facilitate this – it is all well and good getting a new clinic built, but if the NHS won’t open it as a surgery there is very little the local Council can do.

Earlier this year, we had a meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group, and I raised significant concerns about the Leighton Road / Grovebury Road surgery. I understand the surgery are aware of the problems their patients are having, and they are subject to a 12 month ‘recovery plan’.

CBC are working with the NHS and local surgeries to develop a Health Hub in the town, with possible sites already identified. The delay in moving this forward has been due to a lack of interest from local surgeries, although I am told these difficulties are being overcome and I hope that it won’t be too long before we see improved provision in the town.

Cllr Amanda Dodwell

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