Several members of Leighton-Linslade Labour Party attended December’s meeting of Leighton Town Council’s Partnership Committee. It was packed with residents hoping to hear good news about more shops for the south side of the High Street.
They were largely disappointed when Jason Longhurst of Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) outlined progress. CBC had been in discussions with several retailers and were aware of the many surveys that consistently reiterated residents' demands for more shops, particularly mid-range clothing retailers. However there didn’t seem to be any enthusiasm among such retailers to come to the town.
More detailed proposals would be developed early next year with more consultation with the Town Council and residents.
Members of the public and councillors expressed concern about the possibility of out-of-town retail parks taking millions of pounds of trade out of the Town Centre and urged CBC to do all they could to resist such applications.
Local Labour member Mike Bishop said “We all understand that the nature of retailing is changing, with more people buying online, but if our Town Centre is to thrive and cope with the thousands of new homes that are coming then a development on this site must reflect the needs of the town.”