Monthly column: Massive improvement opportunities for Bedford Borough missed

Mayor Tom Wootton
Mayor Tom Wootton. Image: Bedford Borough Council

At Bedford Borough’s last Full Council meeting (Wednesday, 29 November) Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Councillors voted to “delete all” of the Council’s Updated Investment programme.

Read: Opposition parties accuse Conservatives of “misleading and divisive politics” over spending plans

Junking and describing plans that would have brought incredible benefits to the public of Bedford Borough as “reckless” and a “spending spree”.

An amendment received at the 11th hour from the Liberal Democrats and supported by Labour and Green Party Councillors has “deleted”:

  • Funding for overdue GP surgeries in Wixams, Wootton and Great Barford
  • Funding for the overdue Health hub in Kempston
  • Funding for the much-needed Muslim cemetery project
  • Funding for essential public safety works for our leisure facilities
  • Funding for the Town Centre in Bedford and Kempston

I am not sure if the Labour and Green Councillors fully understood what they have voted for. Both sides had very warm words about the funding for GPs and the Muslim Cemetery project, yet they voted against it.

So let me make it crystal clear what the Labour/Green Councillors have done by tying themselves to the political football being played by the Liberal Democrats. The revised Capital Programme which contained the funding for GPs, leisure, the Muslim cemetery, Town Centres and more was rejected by Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat Councillors.

So, if residents are wondering why, after 13 years of decline under the previous Mayor, the promised improvements to GP surgeries, Leisure facilities and Town Centres have not started well I am sure the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Councillors can offer excuses – but that’s all it will ever be an excuse for playing political games with the lives of the Bedford public.

It is disappointing that I need to remind my fellow Councillors of this but what Bedford Borough residents want to see are politicians working together collaboratively and constructively.

Not political egos and childish games taking precedence over the lives of the Bedford public you are meant to represent.

Of course, I will review our ambitious plan for Bedford and Kempston and present a revised programme come January. I believe in our vision for the future and do not believe residents should be made to continue waiting to see more GP surgeries and improved leisure facilities.

Bedford Borough’s best days are ahead of it, and I hope Councillors from all other parties be it Liberal Democrat, Labour, Green or Independent can work with us for the residents of Bedford Borough.

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

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