Bedford bus station deep clean ‘wasn’t deep and wasn’t clean’ says Councillor

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Bedford bus station
Bedford bus station

The Bedford Bus Station deep clean took place, but it wasn’t deep and it wasn’t clean, a senior councillor said, adding that this was “totally and utterly unsatisfactory”.

At Wednesday’s full council meeting on 16 March, councillor Roger Rigby
(Conservative, Bromham & Biddenham Ward) said the bus station is one of the key gateways to Bedford.

“So I was delighted when I heard about the bus station clean-up, because I’ve had so many of my residents not only communicating to me about the issues of the buses not running on time, but also the state of the bus station,” he said.

He added that within days of councillor Charles Royden (LibDems, Brickhill Ward) announcing the clean-up he was getting more emails back and pictures saying that it hasn’t happened.

“So could you just update us where we are with the bus station clean-up, please,” he asked.

Councillor Royden, who is the council’s portfolio holder for environment, highways and transport, replied: “Yes, I did announce that the deep clean was going to take place.

“The deep clean took place, but it wasn’t deep and it wasn’t clean.

“It was totally and utterly unsatisfactory.

“Officers asked for that deep clean to take place properly, and that did happen,” he said.

Councillor Royden went on to say that since the deep clean there has been another influx of pigeons.

“The anti-pigeon preventative measures which were put in place proved inadequate,” he said.

“I think it’s fair to say that the anti-pigeon netting was used more like a trampoline by the pigeons, who then got behind it.

“It has not been particularly successful, neither has the fact that some residents continue to go to the bus station and deposit whole loaves of bread.

“And that is a real problem for us, and we would ask residents to stop doing that because, whilst they might deem it to be a humane thing to feed pigeons, that this is causing distress and disease and dirt and we just need it to stop,” he said.

Councillor Rigby thanked the portfolio holder for his “enlightening” answer.

“I had another set of pictures in yesterday to show that the pigeons had returned,” he said.

“They’re back again, and the pigeon faeces is all over the floor.

“Pigeon poo is not healthy, so is there any danger? Because I heard a rumour, and I hope you’re going to tell me that we can forget it as I shouldn’t believe rumours.

“[But] is there any danger that environmental health would actually shut the bus station if we cannot get rid of the pigeons and the poo,” he asked.

Councillor Royden explained that he would ensure that the Environmental Health Department would contact councillor Rigby as he was unable to comment on the question.

He added that council officers are working hard to get on top of this and to  make sure the cleanliness of the bus station is increased.

Councillor Rigby was also concerned about anti-social behaviour at the bus station.

“How are we getting on with removing the alcohol drinkers who gather in the bus bays,” he asked

“They are causing problems for the people who use the buses, and I know some of them are quite distressed.

“I had a story of one gentleman who had actually been hit by one of them, and now he won’t go into the bus station. He picks the bus up at the next bus stop,” he said.

Councillor Royden said he had raised this issue at the last but one BID (Bedford Business Improvement District) meeting, which included police representatives.

“The police reported back that they are taking action and they have issued enforcement notices against those people who are doing that.

“They shared the fact that sometimes members of the public are not entirely sympathetic when they see police moving characters on.

“I reassured the police that they would have the total support of this council when they took their lawful actions in clearing away those people who are acting in anti-social behaviour and making our town a less desirable place to visit.

“And I thank them for the work and the efforts that they’ve taken,” he said.

A council spokesperson has denied the station will close, saying this is a false rumour.

“This rumour is false,” they said, “there are no plans to close the Bus Station due to pigeon mess and the bus station has recently been subject to a deep clean.

“Work is ongoing to improve pigeon deterrents, and signage has been installed asking people not to feed the pigeons, as this encourages them to flock to the area and cause a mess, and warning that fines may be issued to people who do so.”

By John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

Update: This article was updated on 6 April 2022 at 10:02. We added a response from the council regarding rumours the bus station was closing.

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