Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Dunstable High St set for make over

Central Bedfordshire Press Release

For Immediate Release

PR 8171
31 October 2017

Council set to reveal plans for improving Dunstable High Street

Central Bedfordshire Council is set to reveal its plans for improving Dunstable, with public drop-in events starting next week.
Last year the council asked the public for their ideas for how to improve Dunstable High Street. They asked what would encourage the public to spend more time in the High Street, and how they could make crossing it safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.
In response, the public said they wanted to prioritise pedestrians, as they are the ones spending money in the shops and businesses, through a boulevard-style high street with cafes on wider pavements; more greenery; and more public areas and places to sit. The public also told the council to remove railings so that pedestrians can get to different areas around town, and improve the traffic lights at the main crossroads (where the High Street, Church Street and West Street meet). As well as the High Street, there are proposed improvements to the Middle Row; the Market Square; and Queensway.
The ideas include four ‘gateway’ features at key locations to help to define the town centre, and to indicate to drivers that they are entering a pedestrian-friendly area. The gateway features could also include information about the history of Dunstable and have a map to show key places of interest. To reflect the town’s history, the council is suggesting these are named Friars Gate; Eleanor’s Gate; Priory Gate; and St Mary’s Gate.
Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Dunstable’s High Street and crossroads have played a key role in the town’s proud history, but over the years increased levels of traffic has led to heavy congestion and caused the town centre to lose some of its sparkle. We want to build upon Dunstable’s existing heritage to create a new and improved High Street. We want to make it people-orientated, with the feel of a market town which caters to the needs of both locals and visitors.
“Now that the Woodside Link and A5-M1 Link roads are open, the heavy lorries and motorway traffic are being taken away from the centre of Dunstable and the High Street is no longer the main through-route. Highways England is providing £1.5 million of funding for Dunstable in recognition of the impact the heavy traffic has had on the town when the High Street was the A5 and a major route to and from the M1 motorway. This will allow Central Bedfordshire Council to start making much needed enhancements to the High Street. We will continue to bid for more funding so we can undertake further improvements. We are delighted to be working with the Dunstable and District Local History Society and local designers to create the town gateway features, as well as public art in other locations in the town where the history of Dunstable can be reflected.
The public can see the council’s plans and make comments between 6 November and 8 December online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/yourhighstreet, or speak to council staff at the following dates and times:
Central Bedfordshire College, Kingsway, Dunstable LU5 4HG on Tuesday 14/11/17 from 2-4pm and Thursday 16/11/17 from 10-12pm.
Dunstable Library, Vernon Place, Dunstable, LU5 4EX on  Saturday 02/12/17 from 11am – 4pm, and Tuesday 05/12/17 from 4pm – 6pm.
Notes to Editors:
As part of the ongoing design and feasibility work aimed at improving Dunstable High Street following its transfer of ownership from Highways England in May 2017, Central Bedfordshire Council will be undertaking Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys.
A GPR survey is a non-intrusive and non-destructive method of surveying which identifies the position of underground features such as utility pipes.  This information is needed ahead of any future road works. The council aims to keep disruption to an absolute minimum, however footways will need to be clear and some traffic management will be required.
The GPR surveys have started this week and will run for a period of 3-4 weeks. Any lane closures should be restricted to off-peak hours and traffic will be monitored. If there are major incidents on M1 then any lane closures in the High Street will be removed, as it remains an official diversion route during motorway closures.

What Dunstable High St could look like

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