Monthly column: Best days ahead

Mayor Tom Wootton in his office
Mayor Tom Wootton

My first month as Mayor of Bedford Borough has been a whirlwind of activity. Our team has been working with real energy and enthusiasm tirelessly to bring our vision for the borough to life.

The election was a close call, with only a 145-vote difference. I can still feel the tension in the air as we anxiously awaited the results, which required a full and partial recount of the mayoral ballots.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who supported my campaign and voted for me. I promise to uphold the principles and beliefs that I was elected on, working over the next four years to prove why I am the right person for this role.

Having served as an elected representative for 21 years, I am immensely proud to continue serving the people of Bedford Borough. As a father, I understand the importance of creating opportunities for families, children, and young people. And as a lifelong resident of Bedford Borough, I have personally witnessed and experienced the challenges faced by our community.

That’s why I wasted no time in raising concerns when the government announced an update on the proposed East West Railway (EWR).

We will carefully review the details of the proposals to understand their implications for our residents. However, I am appalled by the decision made by East West Rail and the negative impact it will have on Bedford town and the northern villages.

I will continue to urge EWR to reconsider their choice and prioritise the lives of the people they are affecting. With public consultation on the horizon, I will ensure that the voices of our borough are heard and taken into account.

We have already made significant progress on several of the promises outlined in our manifesto. Discussions are underway to introduce free four-hour parking in the town centre, revitalising Bedford.

We have sought legal advice to temporarily pause the implementation of the Local Plan 2040, ensuring it truly benefits and protects our local residents.

Bedford’s best days are ahead and my commitment is to bring the “local” back into “Local Leader.” I will place the borough and its people at the heart of every decision made by the Bedford Borough Council.

Together, we will create a vibrant, thriving, and inclusive community that we can all be proud of. Let’s embark on this journey of progress and change together.

This is a monthly guest column provided by elected
Mayor Tom Wootton (Conservatives). It is published unedited and
does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.

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