Good news from January

Mayor Dave
Mayor Dave Hodgson

The last few weeks have seen a fair bit of good news for the Borough, I just want to take the opportunity to highlight three.

Last week the announcement that East West Rail would come through, and stop at, Bedford Midland Railway Station is incredibly good news and will bring more opportunities to travel for work and leisure, as well as supporting our economic growth and prosperity, attracting businesses and jobs.

Recent modelling in the Bedford Borough Council Rail Strategy showed that East West Rail is forecast to bring over £20million of additional economic activity to our Borough. This could be additional investment, businesses, and jobs.

East West Rail will also help us make the case for the return of East Midlands Railway intercity services to the north. The route announcement will allow us to push forward with the new railway station at the Wixams.

Last week, I also officially opened Bedford i-Worx along with our partners are the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP). The i-Worx is an advanced technology and engineering workshop cluster offering high quality business space to small and medium sized companies.

The jobs that i-Worx will create are highly skilled jobs, the type of which we need in Bedford Borough.

At the opening, SEMLEP launched their new Growth Curve Initiative which will help bring even more high-growth businesses to the area.  i-Worx is part of Bedford Commercial Park which once completed will create up to 1,600 jobs on the site.

I am determined to see Bedford Borough at the heart of the boom in jobs across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and will ensure we remain open to welcome these high skill industries by ensuring we have the infrastructure to support them.

Finally, we have now confirmed the latest Rough Sleeper numbers for Bedford Borough. The number has fallen to 30, down from a peak of 76 in 2017.

The Council and partners in the voluntary sector have worked very hard to bring the number of rough sleepers down, and continue to do so. Of course, one person sleeping rough is one too many and the task now is getting that figure down further and we have recently been award some additional funds to continue our work.

I would like to thank everyone involved in helping to reduce rough sleeping in the borough including everyone involved in the Bedford Homeless Partnership.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.

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