College plans to upgrade Bedford skyline with new-look tower

How the Bedford College tower block will look if planning is approved.
How the Bedford College tower block will look if planning is approved.

Plans are underway at Bedford College to give their tower block a £9 million upgrade and create “a shining citadel of learning” that shows “the very best education is right here in the heart of town.”

The six-storey building on Cauldwell Street was originally opened on 19 June 1959 and the blue and orange-squared colours date back to when it was known as Mander College.

Now, college bosses want it to be remodelled with new cladding, upgraded access, and energy sustainability suitable for the 21st century.

“This building dates back to the earliest days of the joint Bedford College of Further and Higher Education,” said CEO of Bedford College Group Ian Pryce CBE.

“We have gone full circle now and The Bedford College Group is an establishment where people of all ages can sign up to further qualifications or obtain a full degree.”

It’s believed at least one in ten Bedfordians has completed a course at Mander or Bedford College over the years and people in the town are being asked for their views on the plans.

A public consultation day on 7 December from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm will give people a chance to see what the upgrades will look like.

“It has been my very great privilege to have been CEO of this college,” added Ian.

“I have always said I have the ‘Best job in Bedford’ and to see the tower block turned into a shining citadel of learning will be a message to the community that the very best education is right here in the heart of town.”

A detailed planning application is to be made before the end of the year and, if approved, work will start in the summer of 2022 and finish during 2023.

The new-look tower block will form part of the college’s efforts to net carbon zero by 2030.

Other work toward this goal includes improvements to the Stansfeld Building on St Mary’s Street, using advanced engineering and modern construction to complement the old College House, said to be the oldest brick building in Bedford.

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