Monthly column: Putting a spring back into Bedford’s step with £9m for GPs

Mayor Tom Wootton standing along Bedford's River Great Ouse with the town bridge in the background.
Mayor Tom Wootton

We all know that Bedford Borough is suffering from a serious lack of GPs, leisure facilities that have been left in a state of disrepair, a Town Centre that needs smart and effective regeneration and poor Council services, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

However, in the past decade, residents have heard nothing but excuses. A lot of finger-wagging but no solutions. Money squandered on vanity projects that have achieved very little.

Residents deserve better, and that’s what my bold new investment plan will deliver, positive change for Bedford Borough which will enhance and support the residents and attract both visitors and investment.

So, to answer the big question, what are we investing in?

For starters, the Conservative Executive agreed a funding package which will secure a GP Surgery in the Wixams, a new Health Hub in Kempston and Primary Care Services in Great Barford.

Much needed, overdue and on the way.

We will be investing significantly in our leisure centres, resurrecting them from a shocking state of disrepair and will also be developing a state-of-the-art leisure village.

This initiative will bring tremendous health and well-being benefits to residents across the Borough.

We also have an ambitious package of short, medium and long term development plans for the Town Centre. I truly believe decline is not inevitable and with our plan, we can inject new life into our Town and put Bedford back on the map as a destination people want to visit.

There has already been some success here as you will have seen new shops opening, and footfall is increasing.

Other investments include:

  • A large funding contribution with build the Prebend Street Relief Road to ease gridlocked traffic and reduce emissions from idling vehicles
  • We’ll invest to see the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Canal Link finally delivered
  • The Conservative Council will deliver a new Primary School in Sharnbrook
  • A funding package will ensure the Paula Radcliffe Way Highway Corridor remains a safe route through the Borough.

These investments are prudent and affordable and represent the bold, new and positive direction me and my colleagues want to take Bedford Borough in.

Much of the capital programme is funded from receipts from developers (such as the Community Infrastructure Levy) and combined with capital receipts, Government grants will reduce the need or borrowing.

However, external borrowing will remain the final resort, but it will be considered where investment is necessary and where repayments are affordable.

In short, if we will need to borrow money sensibly to build a much-needed GP surgery that will be considered.

This capital programme is a demonstration that Bedford Borough’s best days are ahead of us.

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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