£25m Bedford Town Investment Plan seeks Council endorsement this week

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St Paul's Square, Bedford
St Paul's Square, Bedford

Regeneration of Midland Road and the ‘station quarter’ of Bedford, improvements to St Paul’s Square plus better cycling infrastructure are planned as part of the town’s bid for a £25m government grant.

The town is edging closer to successfully bidding for the multi-million pound regeneration grant, as the Town Deal Board seeks endorsement from the Council’s Executive this week.

In September 2019, Bedford was named as one of 101 towns that could bid for up to £25million from Central Government for a Town Deal.

Read: Bedford means business as Town Deal Board meets to bid for £25m government funding

To access this funding, the Town Deal Board, supported by Bedford Borough Council must put forward projects that fall into three key areas of urban regeneration, planning and land use; skills enterprise and infrastructure; and connectivity.

At its meeting on 16 September, Bedford Borough Council’s Executive will be asked to endorse the draft Town Investment Plan, in support of the Town Deal Board which is responsible for giving final approval of the Plan.

The Plan details a number of projects that will have a significant positive impact on the town.

· Regeneration of the station quarter

· Regeneration of Midland Road

· St. Paul’s Square public realm improvements

· Improvements to town centre junctions

· Improvements to cycling infrastructure

Cycle lane sign

In addition, the Council has submitted a bid for almost £1m, which will be used for:

· Enhancements to Silver Street Square

· Cycling enhancements across Bedford

· Upgrading the Mill Meadow bandstand

· Improving events infrastructure in the Town Centre

· Improving pedestrian mobility in the Town Centre

Projects have been informed by the outcome of the town centre consultation exercise carried out in 2019.

Councillor Henry Vann said, “This shared, ambitious vision for Bedford is in its exciting final stages. The Plan is inspired and informed by countless discussions with residents, local businesses, our outstanding independents, Love Bedford and under the leadership of the Town Deal Board.

“In these nationally challenging times we are already seeing further investment in Bedford and in the Town Centre, with the more immediately deliverable projects being accelerated to improve connectivity and start the process of linking our Town Centre together alongside our beautiful river Great Ouse.

“As we continue to work together to counter COVID-19, the Town Investment Plan gives us a reason to be excited about the future of Bedford.”

The Bedford Conservative Group’s town centre spokesperson said, “Being on the Government’s list to bid for town deal money is a huge opportunity for Bedford to secure funding for much needed improvements.

“I think residents will want to read this draft plan – while many of the proposals will come as no surprise, I’m sure there will be great interest in the strategic vision in the plan for Bedford’s role in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and the ambition for clean growth.

“Although there is no formal consultation I look forward to hearing from residents, businesses and local organisations with their views on the draft plan in addition to the voices of a number of organisations and businesses in the Borough who have been actively involved in preparing this plan.

“It will also be very interesting to see the feedback given by the Government on the draft plan before the final bid as if the funding is secured and a sound plan implemented it could have a massive impact on the future of the Borough.”

Once the draft Town Investment Plan has been approved by the Town Deal Board, the final version will be submitted to Central Government by 31 October 2020. Projects agreed by the Government must be delivered by March 2026.

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