With signs the national economy is starting to turn the corner I want to make sure we seize new opportunities for jobs and training in Central Bedfordshire.
Our work with Center Parcs to maximise the number of local people getting jobs at the new Woburn Forest site and to make sure goods and services are sourced from local businesses is bearing fruit and this will continue.
I’m delighted that Center Parcs’ employees will include apprentices. The council itself is taking on 17 apprentices across many services and there are many other great examples locally of businesses offering apprenticeships - but we want to encourage more.
Looking at development, The Stratton Retail Park in Biggleswade is taking shape as Homebase now have permission for new premises on the site. Work will also start soon on the A1 south roundabout.
There are only six roundabouts on the 410-mile stretch between London and Edinburgh, yet four are in Bedfordshire. We will be pressing for the improvements shelved by the last Labour government to be reinstated.
We are also putting in £5m to support the first phase of the East West rail scheme from Bedford to Oxford to Reading. We’re lobbying Government and the rail operators to go with Ridgmont as the Central Bedfordshire stop and beyond that to press ahead with the eastern extension to Cambridge, linking up the East and West Coast main lines.
These major schemes, together with the recent multi-million pound contract with BT to provide superfast broadband, will enhance our area’s connectivity and make our area a great place to do business.