For the second year running, Bedford has featured in the Sunday Times’ top ten best places to live in the East of England.
The list takes into account schools and house prices, but also seeks to highlight places with great countryside, a vibrant community and cultural diversity.
“The Sunday Times is absolutely right that Bedford is a great place to live,” agreed Mayor Dave Hodgson.
“And of course, its glowing praise for the town and beyond only covers a fraction of what makes Bedford Borough a fantastic place to live.
“Bedford Borough offers a vibrant town with a growing cultural and events scene, great schools, beautiful parks, stunning countryside and much more besides. And I’m proud to work in the same cause as the many individuals and organisations working to make it an even better place to live.”
According to the article: “Bedford’s reputation as a place you aspire to leave, rather than live in, is changing fast.
“This compact town on the banks of the River Ouse [sic]…has a great family-friendly lifestyle and first-class transport links.”
The article focuses on the town’s surrounding countryside, Bedford Parkrun, the Kite Festival as well as OFSTED outstanding schools.
In a break with tradition, the Castle Road area and Harpur Trust schools barely received a mention, with the focus on outdoor activities and Bedford’s generosity.
(It had also not escaped our notice that the River Ouse is in Yorkshire and there is no Park Street in Bedford.)
Articles like this are often a great opportunity for local estate agents to show people from outside the area why moving to Bedford is a great idea.
“It’s great to see Bedford recognised for all that is has to offer” says Russell Beard, chairman of the Beard Group.
“For many years, I have seen the town attract people from outside the area; open days at the schools, the River Festival, even opposition supporters watching Bedford Blues and the comment is nearly always one of what a lovely place to live.
“They are, of course, correct and we are a definitely a hidden gem.
“This form of national acclaim must surely make the town both proud of what we have and who we are and if it serves as an awareness for others who may want to visit, conduct business or make it their home then that is nothing other than good to the community of Bedford.
“In terms of property prices, we have always played second fiddle to the perceived more affluent towns in the home counties.
“We can match any of them, especially with our commuting systems via both road and rail, so one can only see an underpinning of our property values as we increase our popularity and awareness rating across the region . ‘
“This recognition reinforces what ‘us locals’ have known for some time now,” said Nick Kier of Lane and Holmes.
“House price growth has been excellent in recent years and there has been much inward investment.
“Greater emphasis on the Cambridge Oxford Arc, sometimes referred to as the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, is focussing attention on Bedford and encouraging its future growth prospects.
“Excellent road and rail links together with first class schooling, in both the private and state sector, are all contributing to massive confidence in the area that is likely to underpin property prices for some time to come.”