Through out 2018 we have been discussing with our community and stakeholders, creating a Neighbourhood Plan for our area. We have chosen its aims and objectives which are for the Forum to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to improve the social, economic, environmental and general well-being of individuals living in a designated area and to further the interests of businesses operating in the same area who support the Neighbourhood Plan aims. It shall operate without distinction or discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability, sexual orientation or race, or of political, religious or other beliefs.

We also after lengthy discussions with the Local Authority have together drawn up a designated area that includes the boundary of of our Big Local area and has taken in some additional areas that it was felt would make sense to include i.e because there were future plans to develop those areas. We also decided on a name for the forum which would be The Arches Neighbourhood Planning Group and we successfully applied to Locality for funding to help create a forum.

Later in the year we advertised our intention to have two Neighbourhood Planning consultation events over a period of two days in late November. We put up banners, posted flyers, a social media campaign, website posts and dedicated an area in our community space to advertise the events.  

The Arches Neighbourhood Planning Group consultation events took place over a period of two days in November. One at The Brook Theater and one at our community space at The Arches.

We invited local residents, businesses and stakeholders to come along and take part in a range ofactivities we had created to record their thoughts and ideas on the past, present and future of our area around Neighbourhood Planning. A brief description of each activity and some of the findings can be found below;

What.. You’ve Said

For this activity we asked people to tell us if the things our community researchers had recorded in the past about our area are still correct today. To do this we laid out out some of the comments residents had previously made to us and asked if people still agreed or disagreed.

Through this activity we discovered that people’s views of the area had remained much the same, with most people agreeing that the comments made in the past are still relevant to our area today.










Community Treasures

We asked people to nominate buildings, built features and open spaces that are important to our community. Before the event we invited people to make nominations by tweeting @ArchesLocal a picture or description, using #wetreasure or emailing Nominations made before the event included The Arches, Luton Millennium Green and Magpie Community Centre Cafe.

We displayed these nominations at each event placing a flag on the map at their location and asked people if they agreed with each one by placing a dot by the corresponding photo. There were additional nominations made at the events these included the Nucleus Arts Centre, Fort Luton, Central Theater, Luton Junior School, Luton Library, St Marys Boxing Club and the Dock Yard.

Our Place Journal

For this activity we asked how our area used to be, what it’s like now and what you would like it to be like in 15 years time. We recorded people’s ideas by asking them to place a blue flag on the map for things they would like in 15 years time, and a green flag on the map for things that were there in the past.

People spoke about things in the past including the Driver Fountain at the arches, the stamp shop at the bottom of Slickets Hill and the cinema at the top of the High Street.

For the future we recorded ideas about creating a big green space on the site of Go Outdoors, a community space near the bus station and lido/beach at Luton Road Shoppers Car Park.

Whats stopping you…

We asked people about the things that were stopping them from being more active in the area, to help us address these barriers in the future. To do this we asked two questions: What would you like to do and what’s stopping you.

Some of popular things people said they would like to do were walking, cycling, running, free gym and fitness classes, etc.

Common things people said were stopping them were not having enough time, not knowing anyone, fear about going out and really big hills.

Big Tree Plant

For this activity we asked where people would like trees to be planted in our area by getting them place trees on the map in the places they think they would look nice or were needed. In the future we will use these suggestions where appropriate and will aim to plant more trees.

Some suggestions were a rows of trees along Luton and New Road, a forest school at Luton Junior school playing field and lots more trees at the top of the high street.

Postcard back from the Future

We asked people to write a message on a postcard to themselves 15 years in the future. Some of the messages that people wrote were:

‘Trees now stand where railings stood, green area’s flourishing, the area’s good. Shops are aplenty with lots to do, changed with passion for me and for you.’ (Ian)

‘There is a lot more planted trees and cleaners areas, drug/alcohol crimes have gone down. A lot more people are friendlier and happier.’ (Sophie)

‘I reckon in 2033, things in Luton will be cleaner and greener. People will be prouder and more optimistic about their area and crazy old Granddads will tell stories about Luton being run down.’ (Cameron)

Please find below some live drawings captured by a local artist David Frankum. We will look to share more of his drawings with plans to create visual minutes of the event and findings in the new year to share with you all.

The events were a real success with people sharing their thoughts and some people signing up to be part of the forum. There will be a more detailed report of the findings from the events, which we will share on its completion. We plan in the new year to hold some more Neighbourhood Planning events and hope early next year to form our forum and begin our Neighbourhood Planning journey.

Should you require anymore information or wish to get involved please leave a comment or get in contact with