Bedford’s leaders respond to Universal theme park plans


This week, the Bedford Independent broke the global exclusive that Universal Destinations & Experiences has purchased land in Bedford Borough with plans to open their first UK theme park in the area.

Read: Breaking news: Universal Studios confirm they are planning a theme park in Bedford Borough

While this is by no means a done deal, it has created a buzz in the Borough and – in a first for Bedford – almost universally positive comments on social media.

Following the announcement, a spokesperson for Universal said the land in Kempston Hardwick will undergo feasibility studies before the company makes a decision to proceed.

Bedford’s Mayor, MP and councillors told the Bedford Independent that inward investment into the Borough was welcome, but there was some caution in their comments.

“The suggestion of a major business investment is of course positive, nevertheless these are early days and much detailed work is required before any decisions are made,” said Mayor Tom Wootton (Conservative).

“We very much welcome and are excited by the interest from Universal and the immense potential for it to be transformative for the borough. We’re committed to ensuring that any plans align with the best interests of our residents.” 

Labour MP for Bedford and Kempston, Mohammad Yasin described the news as, “without doubt a very interesting proposition for our region.

“To have such a huge global brand like Universal Studios invest in Britain would be fantastic,” he said.

“It would be hugely exciting if Bedford were to be home to a new theme park. It would bring significant investment and growth into the area, bringing jobs and tourism with it.

“Obviously, I would be working to ensure local residents are given a voice as plans develop and that the plans take account of existing development in our region so that all residents can benefit.”

Cllr Henry Vann, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, told the Bedford Independent: “This is an outstanding vote of confidence in Bedford Borough and is built on a reputation built under Mayor Dave Hodgson over many years.

“We hope to see this investment in our local economy, supporting our place at the heart of the UK, and will work with residents constructively so that any concerns are listened to.”

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