Current projects in Dunstable
Our goal is for Dunstable to thrive and we are committed to creating a vibrant and attractive town centre for people to live, work, play, visit and shop.
We are currently working on the following major projects:
Dunstable High Street Project – street scene
In collaboration with Highways England, we are investing in Dunstable’s high street to coincide with the opening of the A5-M1 and Woodside link roads.
These two new roads will divert traffic away from Dunstable’s town centre and will allow us carry out improvements to the street scene in the high street.
We want Dunstable’s community to actively reclaim its high street and revive its ancient status and function as a market town, so in October 2016 we asked for ideas about how we can make improvements that will enhance the character of the high street and encourage people to spend time there. This feedback will be used to influence our designs for the street scene on Dunstable’s high street and will come back to you with a draft plan for the area in early 2017.
Market Town Regeneration Fund
We are currently working in partnership with Dunstable Town Council on Market Town Regeneration Fund initiatives worth around £1.6m, including a new splash park, lighting for key buildings, signs and town entrance features – to help revive Dunstable’s town centre. These plans were submitted by Dunstable Town Council and approved by us in June 2016. Details of the project are being confirmed and will be announced soon.
The project began in November 2015, when we invited bids from our 11 town councils for a slice of £4million in capital funding to help reinvigorate their market towns. The money has been made available from our own funds and provides the opportunity for the town councils to work in partnership with us.
Aimed principally at market towns facing pressures from significant population growth, this two-year initiative (from 2016 to 2018) is backed by the continuing work we are delivering in areas of regeneration, business support, employment and skills.
Town councils were invited to submit bids, in conjunction with local businesses and the wider community, which demonstrated a comprehensive approach to making better places; unlocking barriers to growth and creating economic uplift that improves the quality of local life.
High Street Improvement Scheme – shop fronts, gateways and vacant units
In addition to the Market Towns Regeneration Fund, we launched a High Street Improvement Scheme in August 2016 the aim of revitalising town centres through replacing or renovating high street shop fronts and tackling vacant retail units.
We are working in partnership with Dunstable Town Council to support high street businesses to bid for a share of a £1million grant to modernise their shop fronts, upper floors and forecourts, while preserving and enhancing the character of individual buildings, as well as expert advice on creating new branding for signage. A retail expert will be providing business advice to the businesses engaged in the scheme.
Dunstable Leisure Centre and Dunstable Library
We are investing £20.1million to redevelop the leisure centre in Dunstable. The new centre will be more than just a leisure centre and will also include:
- a new, modern, state-of-the-art leisure facility, gym and swimming pools
- a brand-new, bigger library
- a new crèche
- a new, bigger café
- flexible community space for other public and community services, such as such as the Citizens Advice and adult day care / disabled sports.
The current leisure centre and library are no longer fit for purpose or cost effective to run. Both require substantial improvements. By bringing services together under one roof, the new facility will reduce running costs, while providing more flexible services to customers, such as improved opening hours for public services.
Dunstable Town Centre regeneration sites
We own land in the town centre that has buildings and facilities that are either; vacant, too costly to run or of strategic importance. Our aim is to create development proposals for these sites as part of a bigger plan to enable a new prosperous future for Dunstable Town Centre where people want to live, work, play, visit and shop.
These are exciting projects, which will strengthen Dunstable town centre and stimulate lasting economic, social and environmental benefits.
We anticipate that these proposals will be ready to publish in early 2017.