Key facts on the 2021 consultation

At the Central Bedfordshire Council meeting today (16 March 2022), the Development Management Committee voted to endorse the Development Brief for Marston Vale New Villages.

At the meeting, there were many questions relating to last year’s public consultation, so here are some of the key facts:

  • An online meeting was held with the Stakeholder Reference Group on 15 February 2021 to provide a preview of the consultation. (No face-to-face meetings were possible throughout the consultation period due to Covid restrictions)
  • The consultation strategy, including tactics and the geographic scope of the consultation, was refined and agreed by the Council, Members Advisory Group and the Stakeholder Reference Group. As requested, O&H delivered the agreed consultation activities in the specified areas.
  • The public consultation was held from 24 February 2021 to 31 March 2021 with all stakeholders held on O&H’s database, including those people who had participated in previous consultations.
  • This website provided information through text, images, interactive maps, Q&As and the ability to contact us directly by email.
  • The website included the draft Development Brief in full and was viewed by over 2,000 users in the course of the consultation.
  • The ‘Your Views’ pages of the website allowed respondents to give detailed responses online to the consultation questionnaire.
  • Social media (Twitter and Instagram) were used daily to direct people to the website and the Your Views pages, using hashtags to get the attention of wider groups.
  • The website and other communications channels provided direct links to the social media channels.
  • Six editions of the Marston Valley e-newsletter were distributed to contacts on the stakeholder database (including local councillors, Parish Clerks and local action groups) directing them to the website and consultation materials.
  • 16 schools in the area were contacted directly by email and phone, and given information to communicate with parents and local stakeholders.
  • The consultation was promoted in the local media, both via press releases and in print and online advertisements.
  • Multiple printed copies of the draft Development Brief, plus printed questionnaires which could be returned at no cost via Freepost, were supplied to all the Parish Councils listed in the approved consultation strategy (Brogborough, Hulcote and Salford, Husborne Crawley, Ridgmont, Cranfield, Lidlington, Marston Moretaine, Millbrook, Aspley Guise, Leighton Linslade).
  • Printed copies of the draft Development Brief, newsletter and questionnaire were hand delivered or posted to 16 individual households who requested them.
  • 7,800 copies of a 4-page newsletter were distributed to residents in the villages of Brogborough, Salford, Hulcote, Ridgmont, Cranfield, Lidlington, Marston Moretaine, Millbrook and Stewartby.
  • Distribution of the newsletter was arranged via a door-to-door distribution company, using the Royal Mail database as requested by the Stakeholder Reference Group. A second round of distribution was also completed on 12 March. The distribution company provided certificates stating successful completion of the distribution, and its jobs were back-checked by an independent third party.
  • Newsletters were placed in local shops in Lidlington, Cranfield and Marston Moretaine.
  • A Freephone consultation hotline number was available every day during the consultation period, between 9am and 6pm, including weekends.

You can read a full copy of the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) here.

The consultation in 2021 achieved a 148% increase in the number of responses compared to the face-to-face consultation programme on the Outline Planning Application in 2018. The responses to the Development Brief consultation were also very detailed, generating more than 600 items that required a lot of analysis and consideration. We are very grateful for the time and effort put in by so many people to respond.

Future consultations will continue to build upon the lessons learned from the last, and we will continue to keep you updated via this website and our e-newsletter (please sign up here).