A new sustainable transport system for Leighton Buzzard moved a step closer after a £1m cash injection was agreed by Communities and Local Government.
The money completes a £7m public-private package to help deliver Bedfordshire County Council's (BCC) proposals to reduce car dependency in part of the town by 20 per cent. The scheme, in the Billington Road area of Leighton Buzzard, aims to increase public transport use as well as promote walking and cycling alternatives.
The project, taken forward with South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, aims to see 1300 new homes in the Billington Road area provided with up-to-date service information. A real-time screen in kitchens will help residents make the most of public transport and plan their journey before they even leave the house. The scheme will also provide funding for improvements to the town centre's facilities.
Key features Edit
- a bus service up to every 15 minutes to the town centre and railway station from early morning into the evenings
- secure cycle parking for every home, matched by increased cycle parking in the town centre, and the railway station
- "civilisation" of the main link road from the new estate to the town centre, making it a safer and more pleasant place to walk and cycle
- completion of a safe Route to Schools programme
- accessibility improvements to pedestrian, cycle and junction layouts on main approach routes
- Consultation with local residents on ways to continue to improve the Residential Transport Plan.
"This exemplar scheme will show that a low carbon transport system not only improves quality of life for all in Leighton Buzzard, but also revitalises the town centre. The aim is that it will be easier to jump on a bus or walk and cycle into the town centre than to get in a car and drive to an out of town retail park. This scheme is totally in keeping with the Government's new bill on climate change as it will dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. This has been the result of a wonderful collaboration between Beds CC, DCLG, Arnold White Estates, Arriva and South Bedfordshire FoE with the support of The Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000)". Victoria Harvey of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth.
Reduced dependence on cars and health Edit
Research by BCC suggests that the new system could see the number of public transport trips increase from 260 trips per day to 1,100, with car journeys estimated to fall from 8,400 a day to 6,700. The council also expects to see health benefits, as walking and cycling improvements to and from the town centre form an essential part of the scheme.
The project supplements other Growth Area funded initiatives which have recently provided new pedestrian and cycle routes in the town. It is likely to be extended to other areas allocated for development in the future.
A planning application for the Billington Road housing development was made in 2006 and this is still under consideration following a public inquiry earlier this year. A decision is due shortly. South Bedfordshire is part of the Milton Keynes - South Midlands Growth Area.
Related topics Edit
- Milton Keynes & South Midlands, Communities and Local Government.